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In the autumn of 872 they returned to Northumbria to put down a rebellion against the puppet king King Ecgberht. Æthelred and Alfred won a victory at the bitter and bloody pitched Battle of Ashdown, at a spot known to the Saxons as Nachededorne or the naked thorn, where Æthelred spent so long praying before the battle began that Afred grew impatient and commenced fighting before him. The Viking Army then divided in two, with one half under Guthrum marching south to continue the struggle with Wessex, while the other half commanded by Halfdan advanced north against the Picts and Britons of Strathclyde. King of Ireland Hvitserk Ragnarsson, 805 - 877 Hvitserk Ragnarsson 805 877.

After having avenged his father together with his brothers, he went to Gardarike ( Garðaríki ).

[19] Halfdan did not remain in Ireland: in 876 he and his forces returned to Northumbria, and settled an area largely coextensive with the old Kingdom of Deira, with the northern part of Northumbria remaining under Anglian rule. [13] The East Anglian army was defeated and its commander, King Edmund, was slain. The Saxon victory however, was to prove short lived and brought no permanent advantage and the conflict continued, but two weeks later the Viking invaders descended again, skirmishing continued and an inconclusive battle was fought at Basing.

I am a writer with a BA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University, and a lover of Norse history and mythology. The Anglo-Saxons were unable to recapture the city, but a truce was agreed whereby the Danes would withdraw to York. On learning of this this Halfdan sailed north along the coast of Ireland but was forced to give battle at Strangford Loch in County Down, where he was defeated and killed. Copyright © 2004 - 2018 www.englishmonarchs.co.uk All rights reserved ®. Edmund was captured and brutally executed at the village of Hoxne. [29] The Vikings of Northumbria remained kingless until 883, when Guthfrith was made king there. Ragnar Lothbrok, Erik Bloodaxe and Harald Hardrada are a trio of legendary Viking warriors. [8] The following year the army moved northwards and invaded Northumbria, which was at that time in the middle of a civil war between Ælla and Osberht, opposing claimants for the Northumbrian throne. Nearby, in Ingleby, further evidence of the Great Army's presence has been found by archaeologists. They seized Thetford with the intention of remaining there over the winter, but they were met by an East Anglian army. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); The Vikings then defeated King Alfred at Wilton. Ragnar himself stands on the farthest reaches of our past, in the dim grey that bridges myth and history.

Two references to a particularly eminent Viking raider in 840 AD appear in the generally reliable Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: ‘Ragnall’ and ‘Reginherus’. The following year the Great Heathen Army travelled along the old Roman road to Northumbria, at that time the kingdom of Northjumbria was in a state of civil war, and in late in 866 the Viking army captured York. The Vikings then withdrew to York where they remained for over a year before returning to East Anglia in 869. The Norse saga's relate he was executed according to the gruesome Viking blood eagle rite, which consisted of opening the ribcage from behind, extracting the lungs, forming a wing-like shape. [19] However, the West Saxons could not be defeated, and Halfdan accepted a truce from Alfred, newly crowned king of Wessex. [7], In the autumn of 865 the Great Heathen Army landed in East Anglia, where they remained over the winter and secured horses. The Vikings then installed a puppet-king, Ecgberht, on the Northumbrian throne, who served as a tax collector for them, before moving south to invade Mercia, were they took Nottingham. However it was his father Sweyn (Svein) who was the first Viking king of England…. Halfdan Ragnarsson (Old Norse: Hálfdan; Old English: Halfdene or Healfdene; Old Irish: Albann; died 877) was a Viking leader and a commander of the Great Heathen Army which invaded the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England, starting in 865. The raven banner of the Vikings and the dragon of Wessex were hoisted again at Meredune, which is believed to have been either Marden, near Devizes or Martin in Hampshire. Perhaps a bit of both. However, while Ragnar’s relationship with King Aella is likely fabricated, his relationship with his sons may not have been. It was here that Ragnar was overwhelmed by the forces of King Aella and was thrown into a pit of snakes where he foretold the arrival of the Great Heathen Army of 865 with his famous quote, “How the little piglets would grunt if they knew how the old boar suffers.”. [16], Following the conquest of East Anglia Ivar apparently left the Great Heathen Army – his name disappears from English records after 870. [9] Late in 866 the army conquered the rich Northumbrian settlement of York. [30], Halfdan and his brothers are considered historical figures, although opinion regarding his supposed father is divided. By Josh Butler. The St Brice’s Day Massacre earned King Aethelred the nickname Aethelred the Unready (or ill advised), and took place on 13th November 1002. [10] The Mercian king, Burghred, responded by allying with the West Saxon King Æthelred, and with a combined force they laid siege to the town. It would seem therefore that his death at the hands of Aella in a pit of snakes has its roots in myth rather than history, for it seems probable that Ragnar perished sometime between 852 and 856 during his travels along the Irish Sea. The Vikings managed to rally and slew all who had entered York, and routed those who remained outside. When asked about how he wished to die, he decided to be burned alive at a stake of human remains. So the legend goes, Ragnar – the son of King Sigurd Hring – had three wives, the third of whom was Aslaug, who bore him such sons as Ivar the Boneless, Bjorn Ironside and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, and all three would grow greater in stature and fame than he. The Viking sagas relate that his sons Ivar the Boneless and Ubbe swore to avenge him. Halfdan was the first Viking King of Northumbria and a pretender to the throne of Kingdom of Dublin. Following years of raids, this would mark the beginning of a nearly two-hundred-year period of Norse occupation in the east and north of England. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); King Ella’s messengers stand before Ragnar Lodbrok’s sons. What isn’t in doubt is the lasting impact his supposed sons left on Britain. It would seem therefore that his death at the hands of Aella in a pit of snakes has its roots in myth rather than history, for it seems probable that Ragnar perished sometime between 852 and 856 during his travels along the Irish Sea. Halfdan is sometimes referred to as King of Jórvík from 876.

On the death of Olaf the White, king of Dublin, in 871, Halfdan's brother Ivar the Boneless left for Ireland where he made himself King of Dublin. The Great Heathen Army was again victorious and King Edmund of East Anglia was killed. It resulted in widespread violence, upheaval and invasion…. However, he is generally considered to be identical to Ímar, a Norse King of Dublin who died in 873. [3] He returned to Ireland in 877 to try to recapture the city, but he was met with an army of "Fair Heathens" – a contentious term usually considered to mean the Viking population who had been in Ireland the longest, as opposed to the newly arrived "Dark Heathens", of whom Halfdan was one.
Halfdan Ragnarsson was the son of the legendary Viking leader, Ragnar Lodbrok and Aslaug Sigurdsdottir and the brother of 'Ivarr inn beinlausi' or Ivar the Boneless. It is also possible he was for a time co-ruler of Denmark with his brother Sigurd Snake-in-the-eye, because Frankish sources mention certain Sigfred and Halfdan as rulers in 873. There is a popular belief that the Viking became the King of Dublin upon his arrival in Ireland. Halfdan campaigned to recover Dublin in 877. Halfdan is seen raiding a small Frankish farm in " Death All 'Round " with Harald and several other warriors. Towards the end of their careers, each man sailed his longships upriver to Jorvik, or York. Yet, how much of our history really owes its existence to this legendary Viking king who had such a profound and lasting effect on this country we call England? In the furious conflict that ensued, the Danes emerged the victors and Æthelred met his death, whether in battle, or as a result of wounds suffered in battle is unclear. [26], Halfdan's rule of Dublin was not secure, and he was deposed while away in York. The invasion was led by the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok, to seek revenge against King Ælla of Northumbria who, in 865, had killed their father by having him thrown alive into a pit of vipers. The Anglo-Saxons finally made peace and paid the Vikings to leave. When the brothers discovered the hiding family living on the farm, they raped and slaughtered them, then burnt it to the ground. In the furious conflict that ensued, the Danes emerged the victors and Æthelred met his death, whether in battle, or as a result of wounds suffered in battle is unclear. Copyright © Historic UK Ltd. Company Registered in England No. The Anglo- Saxons could not maintain an army in the field for an indefinite time, and the stand off resulted in King Burgred buying off the Danes who agreed to leave, in the autumn of 868. The Anglo-Saxon chronicler Æthelweard records his death as 870. It is said this infamous Viking warlord raided the coasts of France and England and was duly given land and a monastery by Charles the Bald, before betraying the covenant and sailing up the Seine to besiege Paris. They spent the winter at Torksey, in the Kingdom of Lindsey, which is now part of Lincolnshire, before advancing to Repton the following year where a further pitched battle was fought around 873. He then settled an area which largely covered the area of Deira. It is commonly accepted that St George is the Patron Saint of England. [28] Those of Halfdan's men who survived the battle returned to Northumbria via Scotland, fighting a battle along the way in which Constantine I, King of the Picts was killed. Of his sons, significantly more evidence exists as to their authenticity – Ivar the Boneless, Halfdan Ragnarsson and Bjorn Ironside are all genuine figures in history.

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