If you live in Thingwall on Merseyside, no doubt you know your local history and know that the name of your town is a Viking name, because over a thousand years ago, in 902 AD the Vikings arrived from Ireland. They had been expelled and needed a new base and having come to an arrangement with the then Queen of what might loosely be called England, they settled on the banks of the mighty river, as was usual; being a seafaring race they usually built their settlements near the sea od on rivers leading into the sea.

The leader of that particular band of Vikings was Ingimund, and Queen Aethelflæd gave him and his followers and their families permission to stay; they lived peacefully for about five years and then there were ructions… but eventually everything settled down… and the remains of the settling down can be found in the names of the places in the area, and in the DNA of many of the old families who have lived there over the generations. I was reading an article about it: “... the Vikings are still here – a recent genetic survey has shown that up to 50% of the DNA of men from old Wirral and West Lancashire families – men with surnames that were present in these areas prior to 1600 – is Scandinavian in origin.”

Places which have Viking names include:

  • THURSTASTON: “Thorsteinn’s farmstead”, from the Old Norse man’s name Thorsteinn and Old Norse tún.
  • MEOLS: “Sandbank”, from Old Norse melr.
  • THINGWALL: “Assembly field”, from thing andvollr.
  • WEST KIRBY: “The west village of the church”, from vestrikirkja and býr.
  • AIGBURTH: “Oaks hill”, from Eikiberg.
  • TOXTETH: “Toki’s landing place”, from Toki-stöð.
  • STORETON: “The great farmstead”, from stor andtún.
  • RABY:”Settlement at a boundary”, from Rá-býr.

If you want to know more there is a really interesting article on the BBC site, which also describes research done into the settlement, research done by buildng a replica Viking longship and re-enacting the voyage, from Norway initially, and then from Ireland:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-merseyside-28330296

7 thoughts on “The clue is in the name…

  1. I drive through Thingwall every day most people don’t know how much history is under our feet, where I live In Overchurch on the Wirral a Viking rune stone was found and it was a passable religious sight and that was carried on with Saxson and Norman churches

    http://neilirving73.wordpress.com/2012/03/11/the-grave-stones-at-overchurch-upton-some-of/

    And the Vikings where back on the Mersey yesterday

    http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/huge-viking-ship-arrive-mersey-7437728

    Like

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