Anglo Saxons attack a Viking army outside of Welshpool
Today, Buttington, or Tal y Bont, is a small village on the outskirts of Welshpool in mid Wales on the border with Shropshire. The tranquil fields and beautiful surrounding countryside give no hint that a once deadly battle took place here, between the Anglo Saxons, led by three Ealdormen , namely Ethelred, Aethelhelm and Aethelnoth and a force of Vikings, part of a much larger army led by the legendary Viking warrior, Hastain.
We’ve referred to Anlaf’s great enemy in Ireland in previous assessments, namely Muirchertach Mac Neill. As we know, Anlaf had defeated the Vikings of Limerick just weeks before he left for England in order to challenge Aethelstan, but going back to 925 AD the Dublin Vikings had suffered a major defeat at the hands on Muirchertach at the battle of Carlingford. This battle was not only a significant defeat for the Dublin Norse but resonated throughout Ireland because Muirchertach slaughtered several hundred Vikings who had surrendered to him. Anlaf’s father Gofraid, had led the Dublin Norse into battle. He, somehow, had managed to escape.
Owain Ap Dyfnwal was a Northern British King who fought alongside Anlaf Guthfrithson and Constantine of Alba at the battle of Brunanburh in 937 AD.
He was king of Strathclyde, a kingdom of indigenous Britons, who’s Kingdom was formed during the post Roman period when the ethnic groups of the British Isles fought to create independent countries during a period of political instability and foreign invasion.
Ivarr hinn Beinlausi or Hyngwar (in old English), Ivar the boneless, was said to be the first born son of Ragnar Lodbrok and his third wife, Aslaug.
There were two type of duels that were fought in the Viking period amongst Scandinavians. The practice was made unlawful sometime in the 11th century, but the two types were called einvigi and holmgang respectively.
The gods worshipped by the pagan peoples of Scandinavia consisted of a full pantheon of supernatural deities. I will refer to these gods as those of the Vikings, rather than referring to them as belonging to the Norse, Danes or Rus.
Amongst many of the sagas, including that of the Norse Kings, a class of warriors are exalted and feared above all others. These were the Berserkers (Bersirkir in old Norse). Sometimes they were also referred to as ‘wolfskins’ (Ulfhednar).
Wirral Archaeology are grateful to Bernard Cornwell for his shout out in the notes for his latest book “War Lord” You can buy the book from your local book shop or from the usual online places.
Despite popular myth, the Vikings were not invincible. From the time of Alfred the Great’s victory at Ashdownin 871 the Anglo- Saxons had realised that unity and the implementation of the ‘Burgh’ or Burghal Hidage system would enable them to counter and usually defeat Viking armies.
In 1938 workmen who were building the Railway Inn at Meols found what they described as “a Viking boat” in one of their excavations. They were told to ignore it and get on with the work of building the pub. No other investigations were carried out. A year later World War II started so there were other more urgent priorities to deal with.