Invasion: Vikings and Normans

In programme 3 Melvyn Bragg tells the stories of two sets of Vikings who left a permanent mark on the North of England - the Scandinavians who came from the East and the Norsemen who had alchemised into Normans, and came from the South. The Vikings shaped the English language and it is suggested that the key to their linguistic imprint on the North is likely to have been down to Viking women, as well as men, settling in this region, passing the language onto their children. Evidence of Viking presence persists today: scree, fell, gable, gill, tarns, rake, horse, house, husband, wife and egg. All Norse words. Melvyn visits the Gosforth Cross, which blends Anglo Saxon Christianity with Pagan Norse mythology. The cross is unique. There's no other like it anywhere in the world. The North then became victim to their distant cousins the Normans, who swept northwards with savage force, laying waste to much of it - the infamous harrying of the north. The increasing power of London and the south began to take real shape and the north looked to the Scottish Kings, in some cases preferring Scots rule to that of the distant southern monarchs.

Professor Judith Jesch, University of Nottingham
Dr Matthew Townend, University of York
Professor Nick Higham, University of Manchester
Professor Keith Stringer, Lancaster University
Bill Lloyd

Producer: Faith Lawrence.

Release date:

Available now

28 minutes

Last on

Wed 31 Aug 2016 21:30

Melvyn Bragg and Dr Matthew Townend

Melvyn Bragg and Dr Matthew Townend

Gosforth Cross at St Mary’s Church, Gosforth, Cumbria

Melvyn Bragg and Professor Judith Jesch

Melvyn Bragg and Professor Judith Jesch

Yorkshire Museum, York

A guide to northern English accents

A tour of the north of England in accents

Take a tour of the North and hear tips for learning the major accents.

Northern words quiz


What do these regional dialect words mean?

Quiz: Where's Melvyn?


How many of these northern landmarks do you know?

Quiz: How well do you know the North?


How much do you know about the region and its history?

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