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Viking Congress 1961 – York, England

Date:

12th – 26th August.

Themes:

Patron:

Her Highness The Princess Royal (addressed the Congress Dinner).

Organising Committee:

National Representatives:

Denmark:

Iceland:

Ireland:

Norway:

Sweden:

UnitedKingdom:

Honorary members:

Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of York (Alderman Mrs. Ivy G. Wightman, J.P., B.A.).

Delegates of the Congress:

Denmark Hans Bekker-Nielsen,Ordbogsredaktør (Assistant Editor), Copenhagen; Professor Christian Matras,University of Copenhagen; Museumsinspektør Olaf Olsen, National Museum, Copenhagen; Museumsinspektør C. L. Vebæk, National Museum, Copenhagen; Professor Chr. Westergard-Nielsen, dr. University of Aarhus.

Faeroes Sverri Dahl, Antikvar, Føroya Forminnissavn, Torshavn.

Iceland Kristján Eldjárn, National Museum, Reykjavik; Professor J. Steffensen, University of Iceland, Reykjavik.

Norway Egil Bakka, Historisk Museum, Bergen; Førstekonservator Per Fett, mag. art., Historisk Museum, Bergen; Dr. E. F. Halvorsen, Reader in Norse Studies, University of Oslo; Professor Per Thorson, University of Bergen.

Sweden Professor Valter Jansson, University of Uppsala; Emeritus Professor Sune Lindqvist, University of Uppsala; Professor Dag Strömback,  University of Uppsala.

Britain The Rev. Canon G. W. O. Addleshaw, Treasurer Residentiary of York Minster; W. S. Angus, Secretary to the University of Aberdeen; Alan L. Binns,Department of English, University of Hull; G. de Boer,Department of Geography, University of Hull; F. W. Brooks, Reader in Medieval History, University of Hull; S. H. Cruden, Inspector of Ancient Monuments, Edinburgh; A. G. Davis, British Council, Glasgow; P. G. Foote, Reader in Old Icelandic, University College, London; J. G. Hurst, Inspector of Ancient Monuments, London; G. R. J. JonesDepartment of Geography, University of Leeds; Hugh Marwick, Kirkwall, Orkney; Professor A. C. O’Dell, Department of Geography, University of Aberdeen; Professor H. Orton, Department of English Language, University of Leeds; A. F. Norman, Department of Classics, University of Hull; C. W. Phillips, Archaeological Officer, Ordnance Survey, Chessington; H. A. Phillips, Area Officer, British Council, Leeds; Stewart F. Sanderson, The Folk Life Survey, University of Leeds; P. H. Scott, The Foreign Office, London; W. Douglas Simpson, Librarian, King’s College, University of Aberdeen; Alan Small, Department of Geography, University of Aberdeen; John Stewart,Aberdeen; A. B. Taylor, Registrar General for Scotland, Edinburgh; H. M. Taylor, University of Cambridge; Principal Sir Thomas Taylor, University of Aberdeen; Dr. Harry Thorpe, Reader in Historical Geography, University of Birmingham; G. F. Willmot, Keeper, The Yorkshire Museum; D. M. Wilson, British Museum, London.

Associate delegates:

Miss Anderson; Mrs. Bateman; Mr. M. Cockerill; Mr. Diamond; Miss C. Fell; Mrs. Fisher; Mr. Gallymore; Mr. Green; Mrs. Green; Mrs. C. W. Hawkinson; Miss I. Holbeck;   Mr. N. A. Huddleston; Miss E. Johnson; Mr. Lack; Miss Main; Miss Nielson; Miss Redfern; Miss Walker; Miss Webster; Mr. I. Williams; Miss F. E. Wright.

Excursions:

A Full day excursion to Skipwith, Selby, Monk Fryston, Ledsham, Kirby Hill, Ripon and Kirk Hammerton.

A full day excursion visiting Strensall, Sheriff Hutton, Hovingham, Nunnington, Kirkdale, Lastingham, Cawthorne, Pickering, Malton, North Grimston, Rudston, Sledmere, Fridaythorpe and Stamford Bridge.

An afternoon excursion by river steamer to Bishopthorpe. Permission had been received to land at the private pier in the grounds of Bishopthorpe Palace allowing members to see the exterior of the palace and its grounds.

Excursion to Helmsley Castle and Rievaulx Abbey.

A diesel train journey to Hull, to the Hull Museum and the University of Hull.

Train journey to Leeds and a visit to the Brotherton Library, where the Benty Grange Viking Helmet was displayed by courtesy of the University of Sheffield.

Visit to Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with a visit to the Museum of Antiquities of the University of Durham and the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne to examine a scale model of the Roman Wall and a reconstruction of a Mithraic Temple. A brief excursion was made to parts of the Wall and the site of the Mithraic Temple.

Sponsors:

St. John’s College, Yorkshire Museum, the Lord Mayor of York, Brithish Council, University of Hull, University of Leeds.

Notes:

Congress Diary:

Saturday, 12th August.

The members settled in at St. John’s College, York, during the afternoon and after dinner made their way to the Yorkshire Museum where all meetings were held. Principal Sir Thomas Taylor welcomed the members on behalf of the University of Aberdeen and Mr. G. F. Willmot led a conducted tour round the museum.

Sunday, 13th August.

After a free morning in which many members either attended church or took the opportunity of exploring York, Mr. G. F. Willmot conducted the Congress walking round York, paying particular attention to the Roman and Medieval features. Two lectures in the evening completed the day’s programme: Kristján Eldjárn on ‘Two Medieval Farmhouses in Iceland’ and Olaf H. Olsen on the ‘Skuldelev Ships’.

Monday, 14th August.

Two lectures, Mr. Stewart Cruden on ‘Early Christian and Viking Settlements on Birsay, Orkney’ and Dr. W. Douglas Simpson on ‘Kirkwall Cathedral’ filled the morning. The Railway Museum and the Castle Folk Museum in York are both well known and brief visits were arranged to each of these in the afternoon. Times were staggered to allow members to see both and arrangements made to permit members to return on later days to follow up their special interests.

At 8 p.m., the Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of York and her councillors honoured members with a civic reception in the Mansion House. The Lord Mayor’s address of welcome is printed below. The charm of the Lord Mayor and her councillors delighted the Congress, which was received again at the Mansion House, later in the week, to examine the city plate.

Tuesday, 15th August.

This was the first full day of lectures. The morning was devoted to Viking aspects of Anglo-Saxon metalwork, Dr. Egil Bakka and Dr. D. M. Wilson reading stimulating papers. Mr. F. W. Brooks addressed the Congress in the afternoon on the Medieval Abbey of Meaux. A short shopping time intervened before Dr. Harold M. Taylor gave the first of two lectures on Anglo-Saxon churches which formed an admirable introduction to the following day’s excursion.

Wednesday, 16th August.

An all day excursion led by Dr. H. M. Taylor visited Skipwith, Selby, Monk Fryston, Ledsham, Kirby Hill, Ripon and Kirk Hammerton.

Thursday, 17th August.

This was more or less a British day with Mr. G. R. J. Jones presenting a paper on ‘Early Territorial Organization in Northern England and its bearing on the Scandinavian Settlement’ and Dr. Harry Thorpe examining ‘The Green Village as a distinctive form of settlement on the North European Plain’. Mr G. W. Phillips addressed the Congress on Ordnance Survey Period Maps accompanying his talk with a small display.

The Congress Dinner in the evening, held in the Merchant Taylors’ Hall, one of the medieval guild halls of York, was a memorable occasion. Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal was guest of honour and the City of York was represented by the Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor, The Lady Mayoress, The Sheriff and his lady and other dignitaries. Members of the Congress were presented to Her Royal Highness before dinner. Principal Sir Thomas Taylor proposed the toast to Her Royal Highness, who suitably replied. Her speech is printed below. After dinner Her Royal Highness mingled with the members of the Congress.

Friday, 18th August.

Dr. A. F. Norman led a full day excursion visiting Strensall, Sheriff Hutton, Hovingham, Nunnington, Kirkdale, Lastingham, Cawthorne, Pickering, Malton, North Grimston, Rudston, Sledmere, Fridaythorpe and Stamford Bridge.

Saturday, 19th August.

In the forenoon Dr. Vebæk put the results of his excavations in Greenland before the Congress bringing up to date the paper which he read at the third meeting in Reykjavik.

An excursion by river steamer to Bishopthorpe was planned for the afternoon purely as a pleasure trip. Permission had been received to land at the private pier in the grounds of Bishopthorpe Palace allowing members to see the exterior of the palace and its grounds as the archbishop was to be abroad. To the complete surprise of the Organising committee His Grace, the Archbishop of York, Primate of England, met the members on the pier and personally conducted them into his palace. Dr. Simpson expressed the gratitude of the Congress for this wonderful gesture.

In the evening Dr. S. Dahl reviewed archaeological investigations in the Faeroes and Mr. W. S. Angus spoke of Christianity as a political force in Northumbria in the Danish and Norse period.

Sunday, 20th August.

At 11 a.m. Rev. Eric H. Denyer conducted the conference service in St. Olaf’s Church. In the afternoon Dr. W. Douglas Simpson led an excursion to Helmsley Castle and Rievaulx Abbey.

At 5.30 p.m. the British Council entertained the Congress to a reception in the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall, another of the fascinating medieval guild halls. Members of the guild showed the visitors some of the more important features of the hall. Later in the evening members returned to the lecture theatre to hear Mr. J. G. Hurst on ‘The Medieval Peasant House’.

Tuesday, 22nd August.

After a diesel train journey to Hull, Mr. J. Bartlett introduced members to the Hull Museum and the University of Hull entertained the Congress to lunch. In a short lecture session Mr. Parrott discussed the Heritage of the City and County of Kingston upon Hull and Mr. George de Boer provided the geographical background to Eastern Yorkshire. Unfortunately lack of time did not allow Mr. de Boer the opportunity to expand his material but a full version of Mr. de Boer’s paper is published in this volume.

Wednesday, 23rd August.

As one member remarked―this was the second ‘heavy day’ when the programme consisted of five lectures―Mr. Hurst and Mr. Cruden in the morning dealing with ‘Late Saxon Pottery’ and ‘The Early Christian Monuments in Pictland’ respectively. After lunch Mr. Binns talked about the Jellinge style crosses at Middleton and Dr. W. Douglas Simpson examined Norse Castle Building in Scotland. In the evening Professor O’Dell lectured on St. Ninian’s Isle.

Thursday, 24th August.

Travelling by train the Congress members were guests of the University of Leeds. After coffee in the Central Court of the Parkinson Building, Mr. G. R. J. Jones lectured on the geographical background to the West Riding and Professor Orton made a survey of English dialects. The University entertained the Congress to lunch in the refectory, University House, and after a visit to the Brotherton Library, where the Benty Grange Viking Helmet was displayed by courtesy of the University of Sheffield, tea was served in the Parkinson Building.

On returning to York, Canon G. W. O. Addleshaw gave the final lecture to the Congress on ‘The Importance of Iceland in the early history of the Parochial system’. The Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of York attended this session.

Friday, 25th August.

The last full day of the Fourth Viking Congress saw the members visit Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Dr. D. J. Smith led the party which visited the Museum of Antiquities of the University of Durham and the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle-upon-Tyne to examine a scale model of the Roman Wall and a reconstruction of a Mithraic Temple. Later Dr. Smith led the Congress on an all too brief excursion to parts of the Wall and the site of the Mithraic Temple.

Saturday, 26th August.

After breakfast the Congress dispersed.

Congress Proceedings:

The Fourth Viking Congress York, August 1961. Ed. by Alan Small, M.A.

Contents:

1INTRODUCTION 1
2MEMBERS OF THE CONGRESS2
TWO MEDIEVAL FARM SITES IN ICELAND AND SOME REMARKSON TEPHROCHRONOLOGY, by Kristján Eldjarn 10
4THE SKULDELEV SHIPS, by Olaf Olsen20
5EXCAVATIONS AT BIRSAY, ORKNEY, by Stewart Cruden22
SOME DECORATED ANGLO-SAXON AND IRISH METAL-WORKFOUND IN NORWEGIAN VIKING GRAVES, by Egil Bakka 32
7CHARACTERISTICS AND DATING OF ANGLO-SAXON CHURCHES,by Harold M. Taylor  41
8ANGLO-SAXON CHURCHES IN YORKSHIRE by Harold M. Taylor56
9EARLY TERRITORIAL ORGANIZATION IN NORTHERN ENGLANDAND ITS BEARING ON THE SCANDINAVIAN SETTLEMENTby Glanville R. J. Jones  67
10THE GREEN VILLAGE IN ITS EUROPEAN SETTING by Harry Thorpe85
11AN ELEVENTH CENTURY FARMHOUSE IN THE NORSE COLONIESIN GREENLAND by G. L. Vebæk 112
12 EYSTEINN HARALDSSON IN THE WEST, CIRCA 1151―ORAL   TRADITIONS AND WRITTEN RECORD by A. B.Taylor 119
13A SURVEY OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS IN THEFAEROES by Sverri Dahl 135
14CHRISTIANITY AS A POLITICAL FORCE IN NORTH-UMBRIA INTHE DANISH AND NORSE PERIODS by W. S. Angus 142
15THE DEVELOPMENT OF HELMSLEY CASTLE by W. Douglas Simpson166
16TRELLEBORG PROBLEMS\A SUMMARY by Olaf Olsen176
17THE YORK VIKING KINGDOM; RELATIONS BETWEEN OLD ENGLISHAND OLD NORSE CULTURE by Alan Binns 179
18THE MEDIEVAL PEASANT HOUSE by J. G. Hurst190
19EASTERN YORKSHIRE: THE GEOGRAPHICAL BACKGROUND TOEARLY SETTLEMENT by G. de Boer 197
20THE CITY AND COUNTY OF KINGSTON UPON HULL by R. F. Parrott211
21LATE SAXON POTTERY by J. G. Hurst216
22THE ECCLESIASTICAL CHARACTER OF THE ST. NINIAN’S ISLETREASURE by David McRoberts 224
23SHETLAND FARM NAMES by John Stewart247
24NOTES ON THE EXCURSION Led by Dr. A. F. Norman267
INDEX269