VIKINGS

in the Christian Heritage of Ryedale

THE Anglo Saxon world suffered greatly with the coming of the Vikings, who destroyed, pillaged and enslaved. However many of these savage invaders became Christians themselves and some of the ancient stones that we see today, such as Stonegrave Cross, come from the Viking period, while still having a strong Saxon flavour. The ancient sundial at Kirkdale Minster tells us that the church was rebuilt in about 1060 by the Saxon Orm, under the rule of the Earl Tostig, brother of King Harold. Tostig and his wife Judith were both Christians and made a pilgrimage to Rome in 1061. After Tostig's death, Judith married the Duke of Bavaria where together they founded monasteries and churches, some of which were dedicated to the Saxon saint Oswald. This was a continuation of the missionary work which many of the Northumbrian monks had taken to Europe, even as far as Tuscany. The church at Oswaldkirk dates from Saxon times, and the Victorian windows there include features imported to England from the Oswald tradition in Bavaria started by Judith.

Stonegrave Cross

Page prepared by Ryedale Christian Council Autumn 2000. Updated 2016

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