Menu

The Cuerdale Hoard, Vikings rule in Preston

Posted on - 28th August, 2022 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Preston News, South Ribble News
The Cuerdale hoard detail Pic: Charles Tilford
The Cuerdale Hoard detail Pic: Charles Tilford

After the Romans pulled out of Britain in the 5th century, Lancashire remained isolated and sparsely populated. The Anglo Saxons occupied the South of England, while place names testify that Britons (Celts) still lived in the area around Preston.

River names such as Ribble, Darwen, Hodder and Wyre are British (Celtic, Welsh) in origin, as are settlements such as Inskip, Tulketh and Preese. 

The bend on the River Ribble where the Cuerdale Hoard was found Pic: Google Maps
The bend on the River Ribble where the Cuerdale Hoard was found Pic: Google Maps

Gradually Anglo Saxons in-filled unpopulated areas. Names such as¬†Penwortham,¬†and indeed Preston, are Anglo Saxon in origin. Preston is thought to have been founded in the 7th¬†century by Anglo Saxons, possibly due to a grant of lands to St Wilfred’s Abbey at Rippon in 670 – hence¬†Priest’s-town¬†or Preston.

Finally we come to the Norsemen or Vikings. After Viking raids further north, it is thought that Viking settlement in the Fylde was largely peaceful. Norse place names abound in the low lying coastal areas of Lancashire. Indeed some hybrid Norse-Saxon place names such as Goosnargh exist. 

The Vikings had also settled in Ireland, particularly Dublin.

The Danelaw

The Danelaw, England in 878 Pic: Wikimedia
The Danelaw, England in 878 Pic: Wikimedia

The Vikings who came from Denmark, Norway and Sweden began raiding Britain in 793. The Vikings also travelled as far as America. They were expert warriors, boat builders and craftspeople. They travelled the coast of Britain and often used rivers such as the Ribble to travel inland.

The first recorded raid was on the monastery at Lindisfarne. Monasteries were targeted for their gold and silver artefacts. Eventually the Vikings settled in the North and East of England, an area that became known as the Danelaw. Lancashire was part of the Danelaw. Preston was also at an important road junction.

The Cuerdale Hoard

The Cuerdale Hoard found near Preston in 1840 Pic: Charles Tilford
The Cuerdale Hoard found near Preston in 1840 Pic: Charles Tilford

One day, in 1840, workers were repairing storm damage on the banks of the Ribble, when a wooden stake hit something hard. A lead lined box containing over 8,500 silver objects had been found. Money bags containing coins, the last from 902, amazed the workers.

Contrary to the popular image, the Vikings were not all about looting and pillaging. They were farmers and artists who created fine jewellery, including neck chains, amulets and rings.

The bulk of the hoard was however of silver coins and ingots.

Some thoughts on how the hoard got to Preston

Viking Dublin in the 10th century Pic: Dublin Museum
Viking Dublin in the 10th century Pic: Dublin Museum

One of the major Viking centres of the North was at Dublin, founded in 841. However, in 902 the Norse were forced out, and decamped to Lancashire. Lancashire was already a Viking territory and the logical place to regroup.

The hoard could have been intended to pay forces gathered in the Ribble Valley, who were preparing to re-take Dublin. Why it was never used is unknown. The Vikings did recapture Dublin in 917. Notably, much of the treasure was of Irish origin with many Irish brooches along with coins dated to 902.

Dublin in relation to Lancashire Pic: Wikimedia
Dublin in relation to Lancashire Pic: Wikimedia

If you want to explore the banks of the Ribble, where the hoard was found, there is a leaflet available on the South Ribble Borough Council website.

The Cuerdale Hoard is kept at the British Museum in London: Objects from the Hoard are on display in the ‚ÄėEngland 400-1600‚Äô gallery on the second floor.

Additionally, some items are shown at occasional regional exhibitions.



Read more: See the latest Preston news and headlines

Share
Preston in pictures Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024Preston's Caribbean Carnival 2024 View more
Advertisement
Subscribe to the newsletter

Sign up below to receive Blog Preston's email newsletter. It wings its way into inboxes every Sunday and Wednesday rounding up our top stories and more.

Advertisement
News by location

Find news by location, select an area of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

The Preston Guide

Discover local businesses and services near you.

Advertisement
Categories

Find news by category, select an category of your choice to be kept up to date with the latest goings on.

Blog Preston email updates

Receive our digest of the biggest and best stories every Sunday to your email inbox

We respect your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time from our emails