Norfolk is a historic county located in the east of England. The county’s flat terrain has earned it the nickname “The Fens.”
Norfolk | 0 to 800 AD
Roman Norfolk | 1st – 4th centuries AD
During the Roman period, Norfolk, like much of Britain, was under Roman control. The Romans established a network of roads and settlements in the area, including the town of Venta Icenorum, which is present-day Caistor St Edmund. This town served as the administrative center of the Iceni tribe.
Anglo-Saxon Settlement | 5th – 8th centuries AD
Following the collapse of Roman rule in Britain, Norfolk experienced the migration and settlement of various Germanic tribes, including the Angles and Saxons. The Angles, in particular, played a significant role in the establishment of the Kingdom of East Anglia, which included Norfolk and neighboring areas. The region became known as “North Folk” (Norfolk) and “South Folk” (Suffolk), referring to the northern and southern parts of the kingdom.
The spread of Christianity during this period is notable. Norfolk saw the introduction of Christianity, with the establishment of early Christian communities and churches. The cathedral city of Norwich would later become a significant center of Chrisianity in the region.
Viking Incursions | 8th – 9th centuries AD
Beginning in the late eighth century and continuing into the ninth century, Norfolk faced Viking raids and incursions. Viking forces targeted monastic communities, towns, and settlements along the coast. The monastery of Cnobheresburg (possibly at Burgh Castle) was one of the cities attacked.
Trace and Commerce
Norfolk’s position along the North Sea coast facilitated trade and maritime activity during this period. The region’s ports and coastal towns were involved in trade with continental Europe, particularly the Frisian coast.
The Viking presence in the region eventually led to the establishment of the Danelaw, a region in England where Viking laws and customs held sway. Norfolk was partially included in the Danelaw.
Viking and Anglo-Saxon Interaction
The interaction between the Anglo-Saxon and Viking cultures in Norfolk is reflected in the region’s place names, which often have both Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse elements.
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470