Viking burials found in England

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Viking burials found in England
Burial map.jpg

Viking Age burials

Contents

Found in Britain

This list of burials is currently a work in progress. More information will be added over time but it is hoped that even the meager information supplied here will be of some use. Any list of Viking burials is going to be open to discussion. Many of these burials were discovered in the 19th century, long before modern archaeological practices came into use.

The map is derived from Richards [RICHARDS 2004]:p.191 Graham-Campbell [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 1994]:p.134, 153 and from a map displayed from a Jorvik exhibition in York 2012.

Viking burials found in Scotland
Viking burials found in the Isle of Man

Status

The reliability of pagan graves varies. The 'Status' rating gives an indication of the current thinking relating to the finds reliability.

Accepted (A)
There is a good contemporary archaeological record of the find. Including a diagram of the grave and finds, etc.
Possible (P)
The contemporary archaeological record of the find is not as good but the grave goods would tend to indicate a pagan grave. The grave may be located in a mound or Church yard.
Discredited (D)
The argument in favour of this being a Viking grave has now been discredited although it has previously been published as such in the past. These are most probably just stray finds.

Index by County

Berkshire


Cambridgeshire


Cumberland


Cumbria


Derbyshire


Dorset


Hampshire


Essex


Lancashire


Lincolnshire


Norfolk


Northumberland


Nottinghamshire


Oxfordshire


Yorkshire


List by Find Date

Torksey, Lincolnshire

Find date- Mass burial. Excavated in 2011
Bodies-
Dated to- 872-873AD
Grave goods-
Publications-

Part of a group of winter camp sites of the Great Heathen Army:

Torksey 872-873AD
Repton and Heath Wood, Ingleby 873-874AD

Weymouth, Dorset

Find date- Mass burial. Excavated in 2009
Bodies- up to 54 decapitated males
Dated to- 970-1025AD
Grave goods- None
Publications-

Cumwhitton, Cumbria

Status- Accepted
Find date- Excavated in 2004
Bodies- 6 men and women
Dated to- ?AD
Grave goods-
  • swords
  • spears
  • jewellery
  • firemaking materials
  • riding equipment
Publications-

Adwick-le-Street, South Yorkshire

Find date- Excavated in 2001
Bodies- Viking Woman.
Dated to- C9th
Grave goods-
  • Copper-alloy Bowl
  • Pair of non-identical oval brooches. Both Petersen type P37.
  • Hangerock. Textile remains preserved on the rears of the oval brooches and on the knife have been identified as z-spun tabby weave made from plant fibre (linen). In addition a number of thin linen strips (4mm wide) were found around the pins of the brooches. It appears that there was a pair of loops at the base of the brooch and a single loop at the top.
  • Iron key; iron knife
Publications-
  • Speed, Greg and Penelope Walton Rogers (2004) 'A Burial of a Viking Woman at Adwick-le-Street, South Yorkshire'. Medieval Archaeology.

Heath Wood, Ingleby, Derbyshire

Status- Accepted
Find date- Excavated 3 times, 1855; 1941-1949; 1998-2000AD
Bodies- Male warrior cremation burials; other cremation burials and mounds.
Dated to- 873-878AD
Grave goods-
  • Swords
  • buckles
Publications- [OWEN and DALLAND 1999]:p.167 [RICHARDS 2004]:pp. 23-116

Part of a group of winter camp sites of the Great Heathen Army:

Torksey 872-873AD
Repton and Heath Wood, Ingleby 873-874AD

Sedgeford, Norfolk

Status- Possible
Find date- 1997
Bodies- Woman and a horse found in Christian graveyard
Dated to- ?
Grave goods- None
Publications- [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.112

Carlisle Cathedral, Cumbria

Find date- 1988
Bodies-
Dated to-
Grave goods-
  • Buckles
  • Strap ends
  • small whetstone
Publications- [RICHARDS 2004]:p.202

Repton, Derbyshire

Find date- Excavated between 1974-1988AD
Bodies- Male warrior burial; Female burial; another single male burial and 2 double burials.
Dated to- 873-874AD
Grave goods-
  • Thors hammer
  • sword and scabbard
  • buckles
  • iron knives (one a folding knife
Publications- [BIDDLE and KJBLBYE-BIDDLE 1992] [BIDDLE and KJBLBYE-BIDDLE 2001]:p.55-92 [OWEN and DALLAND 1999]:p.167

Part of a group of winter camp sites of the Great Heathen Army:

Torksey 872-873AD
Repton and Heath Wood, Ingleby 873-874AD

Middle Harling, Norfolk

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1986
Bodies- Man
Dated to- late 9th / early 10th [MARGESEN 1997]. Graham suggests that it may possibly date later based on the copper alloy buckle [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]
Grave goods-
  • 4 knives. One (possibly two?) with a pivoting blade.
  • Whetstone
  • Spur. found by the right foot.
  • Brass buckle with iron plate, rectangular. found at the waist and from a belt.
  • Iron buckle, D shaped. found by the left knee.
  • Ear scoop. copper alloy. found in the filling 11cm above the grave.
Publications- [MARGESEN 1997]:p.16-17 [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.111

Waltham Abbey, Essex

Status- Discredited
Find date- 1985-1991
Bodies- Man
Dated to- late 10th / early 11th
Grave goods-
  • decorated copper alloy plate. Now identified as a stirrup mount.
Publications- [HALL 2004:p.204] [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.115

Wensley Churchyard, Yorks

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1967
Bodies- Male, found in a churchyard
Dated to- ?
Grave goods- (British Museum)
  • Sword Petersen type L
  • Spearhead
  • Sickle blade, iron
  • Knife
Publications- [ROESDAHL 1981]:p.77 cat.E26

Sonning, Berkshire

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1966
Bodies- 2 Male skeletons
Dated to- ?
Grave goods-
  • Sword
  • Knife
  • Bronze ringed pin, with a missing ring.
  • 6 arrow heads
  • unidentified iron strip?
Discussion- The grave goods for the two skeletons are listed together and it is now not possible to determine what items were originally associated with what skeleton.
Publications- [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.115

Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire

Status- Possible
Find date- ?
Bodies- ?
Dated to- ?
Grave goods-
  • Seax 'late Anglo-Saxon'
  • Knife, possibly saxon.
Discussion- Considered very possible.
Publications- [GRAHAM-CAMBELL 2001:p.112] [RICHARDS 2004]:p.205

Gooderstone, Norfolk

Status- Discredited
Find date- 1957
Bodies- ? found by ploughing
Dated to- ?
Grave goods-
  • Sword fragment
Discussion- Graham-Campbell states that this find should be removed from all location maps of Viking graves as has already been done by Richards [RICHARDS 2004].
Publications- [WILSON 1976]:p.394 [GRAHAM-CAMBELL 2001:p.112]

Thetford, Norfolk

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1953
Bodies- 2 burials
Dated to- ?
Grave goods- First Grave
Grave goods- Second Grave
Publications- [GRAHAM-CAMBELL 2001:p.112]

Rampside, Lancashire

Status- Possible
Find date- 1909?
Bodies- None, found in a churchyard
Dated to- ?
Grave goods- (Municipal Museum, Barrow-in-Furness)
Sword Petersen type M
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.18 [RICHARDS 2004]:p.202 [EDWARDS 1998]:p.21-22

Workington, Cumberland

Status- Possible
Find date- 1902-1903
Bodies- None
Dated to- ?
Grave goods-
Sword Petersen type W or X possibly still in its scabbard.
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.21 [EDWARDS 1998]:p.21
  • Edwards, B. J. N. 'The West Seaton Viking Sword' (Not available to the authors)

Witherslack, Cumberland

Status- Possible
Find date- 1901
Bodies- None
Dated to- ?
Grave goods-
Sword
Publications- [EDWARDS 1998]:p.22

Walthamstow, Essex

Status- Discredited
Find date- 1900AD - possible Viking ship
Bodies- a skeleton (skull) was said to have been found under a 40' overturned ship
Dated to- ?
Grave goods-
Sword, now in Rome.
Discussion- Also known as Enfield. The boat is probably dated to the C16th or C17th. Also the sword and skull were not originally associated with the boat or even possibly with each other. Another sword was also found at Enfield. [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.113
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.12 [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.113

West Ham nr. Basingstoke, Hampshire

Status- Discredited
Find date- 1899AD
Bodies- a skeleton was found under the possible ship
Dated to- Dated to Viking Age (C9th ?) by Bjorn and Shetelig but previously dated to the Anglo-Saxon period.
Grave goods-
Knife, Spear, lance heads
bronze bowl, iron bowl with handle
draughtsmen (stained green by contact with bronze)
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.11 [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.118

Ormside, Appleby-in-Westmoreland, Cumbria

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1898, 1973?
Bodies- a skeleton
Dated to- ?
Grave goods 1898 - (Tullie House Museum)
  • Sword Petersen type M
  • Shield Boss
  • Frag. iron rod
  • small iron knife (now lost)
Grave goods 1973? -
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.18 [RICHARDS 2004]:p.202 [EDWARDS 1998]:p.17-18

Farndon, Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire

Status- Possible
Find date- 1892
Bodies- disturbed grave from a grave yard?
Dated to- C10th?
Grave goods-
  • Sword of Petersen type X
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.71, fig.43 [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p106

Leigh-on-sea, Essex

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1890
Bodies- skeleton and horse
Dated to- ?
Grave goods-
  • Sword
Publications- [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p114

Inskip, Lancashire

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1889AD
Bodies-
Dated to-
Grave goods-
Sword
Publications- [EDWARDS 1998]:p.20-21

River Cherwell at Magdalen Bridge, Oxfordshire

Status- Discredited
Find date- 1884AD
Bodies- Men and horse skeletons found by dredging
Dated to- C9th by Stirrup style
Grave goods- (Ashmolean Museum 1886, 443-47)
Spearhead, shield boss
Shears
Horseshoe, spur
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.15 [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.116

Saffron Walden, Essex

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1876AD
Bodies- Female
Dated to- c.900AD
Grave goods-
Necklace of 2 silver pendants, 2 carnelian, 2 glass and 2 crystal beads.
Knife (now lost)
Publications- [MARGESEN 1997]:p.16 [ROESDAHL 1981]:p.77 cat.E27 [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.114

Camphill, Bedale, Yorkshire

Find date- 1875AD
Bodies- Male Warrior
Dated to- ?
Grave goods- (British Museum)
Sword of Petersen type L
Spearhead
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.15 [RICHARDS 2004]:P.194
Discussion- A pair of oval brooches have also been found at Bedale [ROESDAHL 1981]:p.77 cat.E28.

Santon Downham, Norfolk

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1867
Bodies- based on the grave goods this might be a double interment, male and female.
Dated to- C10th
Grave goods- (British Museum)
Sword Petersen type L
Pair of tortoise brooches of type Rygh 652-654. Petersen type P51a. [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.12, fig.1
Discussion- Richards has proposed that it may not be a double burial and that the brooches may have instead been an offering like the pair from Claughton Hall. [RICHARDS 2004]:p.205
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.12 [ROESDAHL and WILSON 1992]:cat.365 [MARGESEN 1997]:p.16 [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.110 [RICHARDS 2004]:p.205
British Museum

Cambois, Bedlington, Northumberland

Find date- 1859
Bodies- 1 woman (45 to 60) and 2 men (one in his 20s and the other 40s)
Dated to-
Grave goods-
enameled disc brooch
bone comb
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.22 [RICHARDS 2004]:p.194

Nottingham, Nottinghamshire

Status- Possible
Find date- 1851
Bodies- Possibly burial of 2 Male warriors. 2 skulls and other human remains
Dated to- Graham-Campbell quotes Hall's proposed post 918AD date based on the 2 swords.
Grave goods- (British Museum Tr. 158)
Discussion- Evison has confirmed the sword as a later type Y and not a type L as it appears in the picture [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.106. Graham-Campbell notes that there is no evidence that the two swords were actually found with the spear [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.106 and suggests that this explains the possible discrepancy of the sword's later C10th / C11th topological dating to the spears earlier C9th traditional dating. I would suggest that the cut off date for the Petersen type C-D spearhead is too early and that Ottonian manuscripts dating to the early C11th still show this type of spear in use. This would help support a C10th century date for the two graves.
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.15 [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p105-106

Hook Norton, Oxfordshire

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1848
Bodies- 2 skeletons, one from a mound and the other with a coin hoard.
Dated to- C9th
Grave goods-
coin hoard c.875AD or a bit later.
Publications- [RICHARDS 2004]:p.194 [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.115

Reading, Berkshire

Status- Accepted
Find date- June 1831.
Bodies- Male warrior burial with a horse skeleton
Dated to- ?
Grave goods-
Sword with ivory hilt.
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.11 [EAST 1986] [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001]:p.115

Claughton Hall, Lancashire

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1822
Bodies- Male skeleton
Dated to- ?
Grave goods- (Claughton Hall)
  • Pair of gilt copper-alloy Oval Brooches (R. 652). These were found wrapped back to back and encased the 2 beads and a molar tooth.
  • Silver nielloed brooch (originally a Carolingian mount)
  • 2 Glass beads
Grave goods- (Lost)
  • Sword Petersen type X
  • Axe, spear, hammer
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.18 [EDWARDS 1998]:P.14-17 [OWEN and DALLAND 1999]:p.166 [RICHARDS 2004]:p.193
Comments- The items were said to have been found in a wooden chest

Hesket-in-Forest, Cumbria

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1822
Bodies- Cremation covered in a cairn
Dated to- ?
Grave goods- (Tullie House Museum)
  • Sword Petersen type O
  • Spear Head Petersen type I
  • Spear Head Petersen type F
  • Shield Boss (broken in two)
  • Axe Head Petersen type E,
  • Iron Bit plated in bronze
  • Two Buckles (one with a buckle plate)
  • Sickle, Wet stone
  • Bone Comb and Bone Case
  • Pair of Spurs (now lost)
Discussion- The weapons were deliberately damaged.
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.19 [EDWARDS 1998]:P.10-13 [OWEN and DALLAND 1999]:p.166 [RICHARDS 2004]:P.192

Eaglesfield, Cumbria

Status- Possible
Find date- 1814
Bodies- Male skeleton
Dated to- ?
Grave goods-
Sword
Axe (originally described as a halbard)
possible ring headed pin
Publications- [RICHARDS 2004]:p.194 [EDWARDS 1998]:p.19

Heysham, Lancashire

Find date- 1800
Bodies- Male warrior burial? 1800; Female burial?
Dated to- ?
Grave goods St. Peter's 1800 -
  • Spearhead
  • hogback stone
Grave goods St Patrick -
  • bone comb
Discussion
May be part of a number of graves
Publications- [RICHARDS 2004]:p.202
  • Potter, T.W. and R.D. Andrews (1994) 'Excavation and Survey at St Patrick's Chapel and St Peter's Church, Heysham, Lancashire, 1977-8'. The Antiquaries Journal Volume 74 pp.55-134 (Available Online)

Aspatria, Cumbria

Status- Accepted
Find date- 1792, 1997
Bodies- Male warrior burial
Dated to- ?
Grave goods- 1792
  • sword with a silver encrusted hilt
  • spearhead with a decorated silver socket
  • axe
  • pieces of a shield
  • gold buckle and Carolingian strap end
  • iron horse bit and spur
Publications- [EDWARDS 1998]:p.8-10 [RICHARDS 2004]:p.192
Discussion - The area was re-investigated in 1997.

Northallerton, Yorkshire

Find date- ?
Bodies- Female skeleton?
Dated to- ?
Grave goods- (National Museum of Scotland)
Single oval brooch R.652
Publications- [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940]:p.15

References

    [BIDDLE and KJBLBYE-BIDDLE 1992] ^ Biddle, Martin, and Birthe Kjolbye-Biddle. “Repton and the Vikings.” Antiquity 66, 1992: 38-51.
    [BIDDLE and KJBLBYE-BIDDLE 2001] ^ Biddle, Martin, and Birthe Kjolbye-Biddle. 'Repton and the great heathen army, 873-4' in 'Vikings and the Danelaw. Select Papers from the Proceedings of the Thirteenth Viking Congress. Edited by James Graham-Cambell, Richard Hall, Judith Jesch and David N. Parsons. 2001.
    [BJORN and SHETELIG 1940] ^ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Bjorn, Anathon, and Haakon Shetelig. Viking Antiquities in Great Britain and Ireland Part 4, ‘Viking Antiquities in England’. Edited by Haakon Shetelig. 1940. (LIB)
    [EDWARDS 1998] ^ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Edwards, B.J.N. Vikings in North West England. The Artifacts. 1998.
    [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 1994] ^ Graham-Campbell, James, Colleen Batey, Helen Clarke, R.I. Page, Neil S. Price. Cultural Atlas of the Viking World, 1994. (LIB)
    [GRAHAM-CAMPBELL 2001] ^ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Graham-Campbell, James, Richard Hall, Judith Jesch and David N. Parsons. Vikings and the Danelaw. Select Papers from the Proceedings of the Thirteenth Viking Congress. 2001.
    [MARGESEN 1997] ^ 1 2 3 4 Margesen, Sue. The Vikings in Norfolk. 1997.
    [OWEN and DALLAND 1999] ^ 1 2 3 4 Owen, Olwyn, and Magnar DALLAND. SCAR A Viking Boat Burial on Sanday, Orkney. Tuckwell Press, 1999.
    [RICHARDS 2004] ^ 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 Richards, Julian D. Vikings in England. 2004.
    [ROESDAHL 1981] ^ 1 2 3 Roesdahl, Else, James Graham-Campbell, Patricia Connor and Kenneth Pearson. The Vikings in England, and their Danish homeland. 1981.
    [ROESDAHL and WILSON 1992] ^ Roesdahl, Else, and David M. Wilson. From Viking to Crusader, The Scandinavians and Europe 800-1200. Nordic Council of Ministers, 1992.
    [WILSON 1976] ^ Wilson, David M. ‘The Animal Resources’ in David Wilson ‘The Archaeology of Anglo-Saxon England’. 1976.
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