Introduction by Professor Stephen Harding
Video introduction from Professor Stephen Harding.*
View this video in Real Media Format
“Welcome to the Vikings in Wirral. I'm Professor Stephen Harding and although I now work at the University of Nottingham I was born and brought up in Wirral. I am also a keen supporter of Tranmere Rovers and I became very interested in Vikings when as a youngster I discovered that Tranmere was the only football team in the English League with a Norwegian Viking name. This is a recent clip of Tranmere playing at Wembley stadium in the Worthington Cup Final...
...but eleven hundred years ago the Viking settlers when they arrived in Wirral would not have seen a football team but rather instead something like this - crane birds at a sandbank, this is what Tranmere means, Tran is a cranebird and mere is a sandbank. In fact further investigation showed that there was something very special about Wirral, with many many more place names with Viking origin.
In fact at one time it was really a Viking mini-state with its own language, the old Viking language called Old Norse which is rather like modern Icelandic, its own leaders, the first of these was a man called Ingimund, a clear boundary or border to the south, passing through a place called Raby, its own seaport at Meols, and its own parliament called the Thing at Thingwall.
Today that Viking influence still echoes in the Wirral landscape and its people. Recent DNA analysis of men from old Wirral families has shown that nearly a half have their strongest matches with modern Scandinavians.
And Viking legends remain such as the story of the hammer of the Norse god Thor becoming what is now the large sandstone outcrop at Thurstaston common.
So lets go back in time and let Ingimund and his friends help take us through this wonderful story about our Viking past - and present.
*Crane Bird footage © Copyright William Hull: www.mangoverde.com .
*Tranmere Rovers footage © Copyright BSkyB.