Sir David Wilson has provided a strongly argued chronology of the Norse settlement
in the Island.
- Early Raids: First recorded raid in Irish Sea on Rathlin Island in 795;
a 798 raid on Inis Patraic
has been linked with Manx St Patrick's Island but was most likely St Patrick's
Isle near Skerries - Irish Annals in period 790-840 generally refer to raids.
- Establishment of fortified settlements (longphorts) on Irish eastern
coast (Dublin) possibly in 830's but certainly by 841; no Norse settlement
in Wales or North-west England until later part of 9th or early
10th century. Chester was occupied by Danish Scandinavians from
England in 893 but soon expelled, a few years later there was a settlement
of Scandinavian refugees from Ireland under leadership of Ingimund - witness
placenames in North Wales, Anglesey, Wirral and Lancashire coast. The archaeological
evidence is for pagan land-takers.
- Main settlement on Mann possibly in first third of tenth century - Wilson
has changed his views somewhat from earlier dating to 850's and now tends
toward late 9th consistent with North-western England though no
Manx documentary evidence exists to back this. Burials in Northern Isles and
Scottish graves are earlier than this however.
- The siteing of the Manx Norse pagan graves in pre-existing Christian graveyards
as well as the rebuilding on existing sites would appear to indicate a continuity
of settlement between the Viking incomers and their Manx predecessors. There
was a continuity of economy and the two populations
subsisted together and inter-married. After possibly just a single generation
of pagan burial rites, they became Christianised probably by first quarter
of 10th century.
- Many of the Runic crosses (architype Gautr's cross in Kirk Michael) show
by choice of formulaic inscription, epigraphy of inscription along edge of
stone and the interlace pattern (Borre type) a direct influence from Norway
- the ornamental links are with stones found in North-west England though
it is very possible that these were influenced from Manx examples rather than
vice-versa. The direct Scandinavian influence appears much stronger on Island
than in NW England - the influence appears not to have been mediated through
- There are rare examples of the Jelling style (so named from ornamental decoration
found in the 958/9 Royal burial at Jelling, Jutland) - prime item consists
of a sinuous animal, one example is at Malew. However a development out of
this style - Mannen style - is found at Braddan and can be dated to 940-980.
- By the end of the 10th century there was no more sculptural evidence of
Norse influence - one stone at Kirk Michael has traces of the late 10th century
Ringerike style. By the 11th century the raising of stone memorials to the
dead appears to have ceased both on the Island as well as in Nothern England
and the Western Isles.
- Sometime around the middle or third quarter of the 10th century
the Island turned towards Dublin and the North with the economic base of the
Island leaning closer to Dublin as the 11th century progressed.
- Some signs of a proto Kingdom of Man and the Isles also began to appear
from the middle or third quarter of the 10th century. The first
named King of Man was Magnus Heraldson possibly displaced from Limerick in
967 and 'entrenched' on Man until 982-9, involved in the politics of Gynedd
in 970's. Earl Sigurd was
very active from the 980's and Mann was eventually incorporated into the Earldom
of Orkney - the century 970-1070 produced at least fifteen coin hoards which
are normally laid down during periods of stress and political insecurity.
The early hoards included much hack silver which would indicate trade with
the unmonied North but by 11th century they were purely coin hoards indicating
that Mann had come to terms with a monetary economy. It is possible that during
the 1030's coins were actually struck on Mann. No further coin hoards dating
after 1070 have been found which may indicate a closer central control (or
a collapse of the economy).
- By the end of the 11th century Mann was a Kingdom in its own right, though
under the crown of Norway - St Patrick's
Isle was fortified, probably as a Royal residence, by late 11th or early
David Wilson The Chronology of the Viking Age in the Isle of Man (Presidential
Address 1994-1995) Proc IoMNH&ASoc X #4 pp359/372 1997
comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The
F.Coakley , 2004