Everybody knows of York’s Viking heritage, but how many folk are aware of our influence in the Liverpool environs?
Britain has long been a nation of immigrants and we are all descendants of these, whatever culture or colour. Eventually we have mixed, despite the obstacle of politics, religion and their divisive nature.
This little sign from the wonderful Museum of Liverpool explains better than I, the nature of that settlement. Maybe there is a little more to add regarding British place names of Norse origin. As you can see, any town, village or hamlet with ‘by’ on the end is usually related to Viking settlement; but there are others too…
- THURSTASTON: “Thorsteinn’s farmstead”, from the Old Norse man’s name Thorsteinn and Old Norse tún.
- MEOLS: “Sandbank”, from Old Norse melr.
- THINGWALL: “Assembly field”, from thing and vollr.
- WEST KIRBY: “The west village of the church”, from vestri, kirkja and býr.
- AIGBURTH: “Oaks hill”, from Eikiberg.
- TOXTETH: “Toki’s landing place”, from Toki-stöð.
- STORETON: “The great farmstead”, from storand tún.
- RABY:”Settlement at a boundary”, from Rá-býr.
- APPLETHWAITE: Any name with ‘THWAITE” meaning ‘clearing in a forest’, attached.
Throughout the east of Britain, Ireland and North West England and Scotland, Viking tribes settled to farm the land after making the Saxon Kings of the time offers they couldn’t refuse!!! I won’t elaborate, as Auntie Google is far more adept than I!
The spirit of the Vikings never ends, it is passed on through us, flowing in our veins and moving our hearts, whether Vanatru, Ásatrú, (modern Heathen paths) Christian or none. Our Gods are personal and as the old Vikings reputedly said:”You have your Gods, we have ours.” There was never a Spanish Inquisition in Scandinavia to punish the new Christian Religion, just mild tolerance. I wish that could be said about Christians, then and now. It seems that all the Desert Religions demand our compliance in one form or another.
Liverpool’s connection with Scandinavia is everywhere. The famous haunted pub ‘Baltic Fleet’, remains despite the obliteration of the old docklands and there is a Scandinavian Church that almost fell victim to the modern developers. The Local community fought to keep it open and this website explains a little more about it:
The world is forever in flux and the old ways are supposedly gone now, buried beneath layers of culture, literature, and endless opinions almost as many as there are folk; however it surely cannot be a bad thing to keep that which is vibrant, honest and pure, by stripping away the hypocrisy and fear?
Personally, I feel the call of Odin, Thor, Freya and Njörðr (pronounced Nyer-the). They are real to me; maybe because I live in the elemental realms when I am sailing. They seem to pass through me causing a curious sense of fusion, when in difficulties or moments of extreme solitude. I believe they granted me my past life experiences when I first arrived in the Baltic, giving me the courage to continue when on the verge of surrender after the awful Helgoland disaster:
The Old Gods are fearsome though and will not suffer fools. One has to earn their respect… they are very old and not ‘gooey’ and ‘touchy-feely’! However, the strength they impart is very real, provided you are prepared to ‘sacrifice’ something in return. Back yonder, that would have been people and animals; but now, it is attitudes of mind, negative traits and cowardice.
Of course there are many (most?) who would find this absurd; but maybe some self enquiry into their own beliefs might be seen as similar, after all what is more absurd than living one’s life in fear and imagining that there is some kind of security to be worked for? To spend this beautiful, vibrant and exciting life as a slave?