left English waters and King Aethelred
decided to launch a series of raids on Strathclyde and the Isle of Man.
The Danes returned and made a series of devastating raids along the south coast of England from Kent to Cornwall.
The Danes were continuing their harassment of the south coast and a large force was camped on the Isle of Wight. King Aethelred was forced to make a Danegeld payment of around £24,000 before they would leave.
1002 (5th April)
Aethelred needed an ally to help fight off the Viking attacks. He made an alliance with Richard Duke of Normandy and sealed the treaty by marrying Richard’s 18 year old daughter, Emma
1002 (13th November)
St Brice’s Day Massacre
Aethelred was worried that there would be further surprise attacks by the Danish Vikings. In order to remove the threat of an attack from within England Aethelred ordered the massacre of all Danes living in England. The massacre was carried out on St Brice’s Day and it is believed that a significant number of Danes were killed. Many of those killed had sought sanctuary in St Frideswide’s church but died when the doors were locked and it was burned to the ground. Sweyn Forkbeard’s
sister, who lived in England, was killed during the attack.
Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark, invaded England seeking revenge for the St Brice’s Day Massacre. He gained control of land from Exeter to Hampshire.
A son, Edward
, was born to Aethelred and Emma at Islip, Oxfordshire. He would be known to history as Edward the Confessor.
The town of Norwich was destroyed by the forces of Sweyn Forkbeard.
The Danish force led by Sweyn Forkbeard left England. The country was on the brink of bankruptcy due to the Danegeld payments that had been made. The harvest was also poor and the people were starving.
1005 (16th November)
Aelfric of Abingdon, Archbishop of Canterbury
, died. He bequeathed a number of ships to the people of Kent and his best ship, which could hold sixty men, to King Aethelred.
Aelheah was appointed the new Archbishop of Canterbury.
Sweyn Forkbeard returned and was making raids in Kent and Sussex. Aethelred called out his men from Wessex and Mercia but they were no match for the huge Viking force.
Aethelred did not have the forces to withstand the continual raids by Sweyn Forkbeard and was forced to make a further Danegeld payment of £36,000 to keep him away.
Aethelred realised that he could not continue to make ever increasing payments of Danegeld and decided that the money would be better spent on new ships to defend the coast.
The Danish Vikings returned, this time led by Thorkell the Tall, and made a series of devastating attacks and raids on England. King Aethelred was unable to use his new fleet of ships because one of his new Captains, Wulfnoth, had made off with 20 boats on a piracy mission. Another Captain, Brihtric, had taken the remaining ships in pursuit of Wulfnoth but a storm had come and many ships were run aground.
First published 2016; updated and republished Apr 20 2022 @ 4:07 pm – Updated – [last-modified]