Their North Germanic language, Old Norse, became the mother-tongue of present-day Scandinavian languages. By 801, a strong central authority appears to have been established in Jutland, and the Danes were beginning to look beyond their own territory for land, trade and plunder.
In Norway, mountainous terrain and fjords formed strong natural boundaries. Communities there remained independent of each other, unlike the situation in Denmark which is lowland. By 800, some 30 small kingdoms existed in Norway.
A Viking group defends themselves in a battle display during the Viking Festival in Largs, Ayrshire.
Viking era towns of Scandinavia.
The castle is located in what was once the very volatile border area between England and Scotland. Not only did the English and Scots fight, but the area was frequently attacked by Vikings. The castle was built in 1550, around the time that Lindisfarne Priory went out of use, and stones from the priory were used as building material. It is very small by the usual standards, and was more of a fort. The castle sits on the highest point of the island, a whin stone hill called Beblowe.
Lindisfarnes's position in the North Sea made it vulnerable to attack from Scots and Norsemen, and by Tudor times it was clear there was a need for a stronger fortification. This resulted in the creation of the fort on Beblowe Crag which between 1570 and 1572 formed the basis of the present castle.
After Henry VIII had dissolved the priory, his troops used the remains as a naval store. Later, Elizabeth I had work carried out on the fort, strengthening it and providing gun platforms for the new developments in artillery technology. When James I came to power, he combined the Scottish and English thrones, and the need for the castle declined. At this time the castle was still garrisoned from Berwick and protected the small Lindisfarne Harbour.
In the eighteenth century the castle was occupied briefly by Jacobite rebels, but was quickly recaptured by soldiers from Berwick who imprisoned the rebels; they dug their way out and hid for nine days close to nearby Bamburgh Castle before making good their escape.
In later years the castle was used as a coastguard look-out and became something of a tourist attraction. Charles Rennie Mackintosh made a sketch of the old fort in 1901.
In 1901, it became the property of Edward Hudson, a publishing magnate and the owner of Country Life magazine. He had it refurbished in the Arts and Crafts style by Sir Edwin Lutyens. It is said that Hudson and the architect came across the building while touring Northumberland and climbed over the wall to explore inside.'
SCOTLAND BEFORE AND AFTER BRAVEHEART
With the means of travel (longships and open water), their desire for goods led Scandinavian traders to explore and develop extensive trading partnerships in new territories. It has been suggested that the Scandinavians suffered from unequal trade practices imposed by Christian advocates and that this eventually led to the breakdown in trade relations and raiding. British merchants who declared openly that they were Christian and would not trade with heathens and infidels (Muslims and the Norse) would get preferred status for availability and pricing of goods through a Christian network of traders. A two-tiered system of pricing existed with both declared and undeclared merchants trading secretly with banned parties. Viking raiding expeditions were separate from and coexisted with regular trading expeditions. A people with the tradition of raiding their neighbours when their honour had been impugned might easily fall to raiding foreign peoples who impugned their honour.
St Columba's Church Bell Tower
From the informational sign:
When in 807 AD the Columban monks abandoned Iona in western Scotland in the face of Vikign attacks, the abbot of Iona transferred the headquarters of the Columban monastic network to Kells, where they founded the "city". The celebrated Book of Kells, an illuminated copy of the gospels, was made about the time that the Iona community came to Ireland. In 1007 the Book of Kells was stolen from the church at Kells, but was found two months later -- covered by a sod and lacking its richly decorated cover.
The original church of Kells does not survive. Outside the churchyard is St Columba's House, a small stone-roofed church. The Round Tower was mentioned in 1076 when Murchadh, who had been king of Tara, was murdered inside it; the doorway has a head carved on one of the jambs.
Historians also suggest that the Scandinavian population was too large for the peninsula and there was not enough good farmland for everyone. This led to a hunt for more land. Particularly for the settlement and conquest period that followed the early raids, internal strife in Scandinavia resulted in the progressive centralization of power into fewer hands. Formerly empowered local lords who did not want to be oppressed by greedy kings emigrated overseas. Iceland became Europe's first modern republic, with an annual assembly of elected officials called the Althing, though only goði (wealthy landowners) had the right to vote there