The heathen barbarians

A priest from York, by the name of Alcuin, wrote to the king in Northumbria after the first Viking attack on the monastery on Lindisfarne in AD 793. He was concerned for his town, his church and his country. He wrote: "What means this rain of blood during Lent in St Peter's church in the town of York, which fell threateningly from the roof to the north, although the sky was cloudless? Should we expect that bloody revenge shall come from the north?"

  • Discuss the reasons for men of the church over all of Europe describing the Vikings as cruel and bloodthirsty.
  • Was it just because they were the Vikings' victims?
  • Imagine that you lived in Viking times and were a monk in the monastery at Glendalough. Write a page in the monastery annals about the day that the Vikings came. Consider which points it is important for you to include for posterity.