During the 700’s the Viking started to invade Britain and the Cumbrian Lake District was the place that many Anglo-Saxon and Viking people chose to settle. The Lakeland landscape was familiar to the Vikings who had come from Western Norway by way of Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man.  They travelled from the South Western edge of the Lake District up into the central areas.

Dry stone walls and the sectioning off of land to form small farms were ideas brought to the area by the Vikings. Many places in the area have distinct clues to their Viking origin in their names. Small streams are called ‘becks’ in the dialect spoken here and the Viking word was ‘bekr’.  

Waterfalls, such as Aira Force, get the name ‘Force’ from the Viking word ‘foss’ and the word ‘thorpe’ meaning small hamlet, or village, and ‘thwaite’ meaning ‘a clearing’. These are still seen in place names throughout the area. ‘Fjall’ became ‘fell’ and refers to a hill and small lakes are called ‘tarns’ from the Viking word ‘tjorn’.

The Vikings were still very much an influence on the Lake District until well into the medieval period and a Viking or Norse and English mix of language was spoken there for about four hundred years.

There are still traces of that language in the dialect spoken by the inhabitants of the area.




                                 GOSFORTH VIKING CROSS 

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