Viking coin of Cnut

Contributed by The Harris Museum and Art Gallery Preston

The Cuerdale Hoard is the largest and most important Viking coin hoard found in Britain. It was discovered on15th May 1840 by workmen repairing the banks of the Ribble at Cuerdale, near Preston. The hoard consisted of 8,400 items including coins and silver made over a wide geographical area. There were 5,000 Viking and 1000 Saxon coins made in England. The hoard also included 1,000 Frankish coins made in Europe. Amongst the hoard were also a small number of Islamic coins called dirhams and a single Byzantium coin minted in 615-630AD, making it the oldest coin in the hoard. These are in the British Museum in London. 88 coins from the hoard are held by the Harris Museum & Art Gallery in Preston which is the nearest museum to the find site. The hoard demonstrates the importance of the Ribble Valley to the Vikings and the wider world. The Ribble was once the main route between Viking York and the Irish Sea. The Vikings were rulers in Ireland until 902. The hoard contains silver from the Viking kingdom in Ireland and freshly minted coins from York. One theory is that it might have been a war chest containing the payment for an army which planned to reoccupy Dublin.

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