When the first Viking raiders arrived in the late 780s, what was to become England was still divided into several kingdoms. Some of these had just completed their emergence out of paganism.

On the other hand, the light of English Christian learning had already begun to shine far into Europe. P.H. Blair writes, '... that a seed sown in this chill northern soil flourished so greatly that some of those who were nurtured upon its fruits became

for a short while, before the age of the Vikings, the spiritual, intellectual and artistic leaders of much of northern and western Europe.'Click for footnote

C.L. White makes a similar statement: 'At the beginning of this period of devastation, England stood high among the nations of Europe in religion, education, and literary culture;'
but goes on: 'at its close, the clergy, without books or teachers, were quite unfitted to be the guides of the people, and the people themselves had lost their Christian ideals and become rude like the barbarians who were now finding homes for themselves through all the northern and eastern parts of the land.'Click for footnote

While raiding all over the island, the effect of the Vikings on Anglo-Saxon culture had been devastating. Every aspect of it was influenced and the awakening culture was pushed back severely in direction of the primitive Germanic war-bands that had found a new home in Britain some 340 years earlier.

For further information please take the Viking Tour or choose below the section you are interested in.

The Early Raids Danish Armies King Alfred and the Vikings I
King Alfred and the Vikings II English Re-Conquest King Æthelred
  A Danish king on the
throne of England