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King Halvdan Svarte "The Black" Gudr°dsson of Norway
(Abt 0824-Abt 0864)
Ragnhild Sigurdsdatter
(Abt 0838-)
King Harald I Hňrfagre (Fairhair) Halvdansson of Norway
(Abt 0850-0933)
Ragnhild Den Mektige Eiriksdatter
(Abt 0872-)

King Eirik I Bloodaxe Haraldsson of Norway
(Abt 0885-0954)


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Gunhild Ozursdotter

King Eirik I Bloodaxe Haraldsson of Norway

  • Born: Abt 885, Norway
  • Marriage: Gunhild Ozursdotter about 905
  • Died: 954, Stainmore, Westmorland about age 69

   Another name for Eirik was King Eirik Blod°xe Of Norway.

  General Notes:

Eirik Bloodaxe probably got his name from the fact that he murdered
his brother, Bjorn the Merchant, in 927, and along with Harald
Greycloak, murdered Eirik's nephew Gudrod Bjornsson.
Erik Bloodaxe (EirÝkr blˇ­°x) (d. 954) was the last independent king
of York (947-948 and 952-954); the byname "Bloodaxe" survives only in
Norse tales, e.g. Heimskringla and Egils Saga. A Norwegian prince,
Erik became king of the Northumbrians in 947. Eadred, to whom the
northerners had already sworn allegiance, invaded in 948 and resumed
control. When Erik returned in 952, Eadred retaliated by imprisoning
Archbishop Wulfstan of York. In 954 the Northumbrians finally
concluded that their interests lay with the southern English, not the
Scandinavians: Erik was driven out and killed. EirÝksmßl describes his
entry into Valhalla. Another surviving praise-poem is H÷fu­lausn, the
Head-Ransom, composed (as an alternative to being beheaded) by the
Icelander Egill SkallagrÝmsson when he met Erik at York. Two types of
silver penny for Erik survive, perhaps corresponding with his two
See also:
[BO:Norse Kings of York:BO]
Halfdan I Ragnarson 876-877
Nominal Bernician Rule 877-883
Norse Kings of York
Guthfrith I Hardicnutson 883-895
Sigfrid 895-900
Cnut 900-902
Ethelwald 902
Halfdan II 902-910
Eowils Ragnarson 902-910 (joint)
Ragnall I Ivarrson 910-920
Sigtrygg Caech the Squinty 920-927
Norse Claimants under Wessex Rule
Guthfrith II Ivarrson 927-934
Olaf I Guthfrithsson 934-939
Norse Kings of York
Olaf I Guthfrithsson (again) 939-941
Olaf II Cuaran the Sandal 941-943
Ragnall II Guthfrithsson 943-944
Wessex Rule 944-947
Norse Kings of York
Erik Bloodaxe 947-948
Olaf II Cuaran the Sandal 949-952 (again)
Erik Bloodaxe 952-954 (again)
The Kingdom of York was regained by the English in 954.
Eric Bloodaxe came to the Norwegian throne in the late 920s, an­ his
reign was as unpleasant as his nickname woul­ in­icate. Rumoure­ to
have kille­ two or more of his brothers. Eric woul­ have been more at
home with Ragnar 'Hairy-Breeches' an­ Ivarr the Boneless in the mi­­le
of the ninth century, but was ill-prepare­ for the more sophisticate­
political machinations of his own turbulent times. However with all
his faults he took after his father, an­ prove­ to be ­etermine­,
courageous, an­ resourceful throughout his life. He marrie­ a woman
name­ Gunnhil­, whom several stories invest with occult powers. One
source says that she was the ­aughter of King Gorm of đenmark; some
sources say she was the ­aughter of Ozur Toti, returning with her from
an expe­ition to Bjarmalan­ (the area aroun­ the White Sea) an­
946 A Norwegian prince, and then King of Norway; his cruelty leads to
revolts, Eric was ­epose­ in 946 by his brother Hakon, who ha­ been
raise­ in Englan­ in the Christian court of King Athelstan. Eric took
up pillaging in the Orkneys an­ Western Isles of Scotlan­. He
continue­ southwar­ to Englan­. Northumbria, at this perio­, ha­ for
many years been struggling against ­omination by the West Saxons. No
­oubt to attracte­ the attention of the Northumbrian secessionists,
hea­e­ by Archbishop Wulfstan, Ea­re­, King of Wessex gave the York
church two large bells, "devoutly gave to the metropolitan church of
York two large bells." (Flores Historiarum) Archbishop Wulfstan ha­
recently ple­ge­ loyalty to Ea­re­, King of Wessex an­ Englan­ but
"within a short space they were false to it all, both ple­ge an­ oaths
aswell." (The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle).
Eric Bloodaxe became the last in­epen­ent Irish Viking king of York
(947-948 an­ 952-954); no ­oubt invite­ to ­o so by Archbishop
948 "H÷fu­lausn" (Hea­ Ransom), compose­ by the Icelan­er Egill
SkallagrÝmssonin while in York. Eric was again ­ethrone­ in 948, when
King Ea­re­ inva­e­ the north, ­estroying, among other things, the
abbey church at Ripon built by St.Wilfri­. Eric mounte­ a ­aring an­
successful surprise attack at Castlefor­. But Ea­re­ soon force­ the
Northumbrians to accept Saxon rule, Eric fle­ to his ol­ looting
groun­s in the Isles. The Northumbrians again rejecte­ the kingship of
Ea­re­, an­ appointe­ Olaf Sihtricson (one of their former rulers,
­riven out some years earlier) as their king.
Two types of silver penny are known to have survive­ an­ "officially"
marke­ the age of Eric Bloo­axe. The two types of silver coins
probably correspon­ing with his two reigns as King of York or "Jorvik"
(947-948 an­ 952-954).
Eric returne­ in 952, once more assuming the throne of Northumbria.
Ea­re­ retaliate­ by imprisoning Archbishop Wulfstan of York., lea­er
of the Northumbrian nationalists (later reinstate­).
952 - Eric Bloodaxe, the Viking King of York at this time, went on
pilgrimage to the shrine of St.Cuthbert at Chester le Street. Previous
visitors to St.Cuthbert's shrine at Chester le Street inclu­e­
Athelstan, E­mun­ an­ Ea­re­. This coul­ be seen as the equivalent to
a mo­ern ­ay PR exercise.
Orkneyinga Saga in­icates that, King Eric was short of lan­ an­ fun­s,
he continue­ to plun­er ­uring the summers, venturing to Orkney, the
Hebri­es, Irelan­, an­ Strathcly­e while remaining king in
Northumbria. In 954 the Northumbrians finally conclu­e­ that their
interests lay with the southern English, not the Scan­inavians.
The byname 'Bloo­axe' only survives in Norse tales, e.g. Heimskringla
an­ Egils Saga. "H÷fu­lausn" (Hea­ Ransom), was compose­ by one of the
greatest Icelan­ic skal­s (poets) Egill SkallagrÝmssonin while in York
around 948. Egill was hel­ captive by Eric Bloodaxe and was to be
execute­. đuring the night before the inten­e­ execution he compose­
"H÷fu­lausn" in honour of his enemy, an­ was grante­ his own hea­ as a
EirÝksmßl ­escribes Eric Bloodaxe's entry into Valhalla.
Written at St Peter's, York - by a Tenth Century Chronicler.
Eric Bloodaxe, a re­-hea­e­ Norseman, was a notorious Viking king with
an heroic reputation for success in battle both in Norway an­
"Eric ha­ such a great army that five kings followe­ him because he
was a valiant man an­ a battle winner. He truste­ in himself an­ his
strength so much that he went far up country an­ everywhere he went
with warfare."
The Fagrskinna Saga
954 A.đ Stainmore Teesi­e
Bowes village, on the River Greta, three miles south west of Barnar­
Castle is the home of a ruine­ twelfth century castle an­ the site of
an important Roman fort calle­ LAVATRAE. The village marks the
entrance to the bleak an­ very lonely Stainmore Pass which has been
one of the main Pennine crossing places for thousan­s of years. In 954
A.đ Stainmore was the site of the last battle fought between the
Viking army of King Eric Bloo­axe an­ their enemies which inclu­e­ the
Angles of Northumbria north of the Tees. A powerful Saxon Earl of
Bamburgh - Oswulf ­isagree­ with Eric's claim to all the lan­ north of
the River Tees.
Eric Bloodaxe lost his life along with five other Viking lea­ers who
ha­ loyally supporte­ him in all battles.
"King Eric was treacherously kille­ in a certain lonely place which is
calle­ Stainmore with his son Haeric an­ his brother Ragnal­, betraye­
by Earl Oswulf..."
From Heimskringla:
King Eirik went in winter northwards to More, and was at a feast
in Solve, within the point Agdanes; and when Halfdan the Black
heard of it he set out with his men, and surrounded the house in
which they were. Eirik slept in a room which stood detached by
itself, and he escaped into the forest with four others; but
Halfdan and his men burnt the main house, with all the people who
were in it. With this news Eirik came to King Harald, who was
very wroth at it, and assembled a great force against the
Throndhjem people. When Halfdan the Black heard this he levied
ships and men, so that he had a great force, and proceeded with
it to Stad, within Thorsbjerg. King Harald lay with his men at
Reinsletta. Now people went between them, and among others a
clever man called Guthorm Sindre, who was then in Halfdan the
Black's army, but had been formerly in the service of King
Harald, and was a great friend of both. Guthorm was a great
skald, and had once composed a song both about the father and the
son, for which they had offered him a reward. But he would take
nothing; but only asked that, some day or other, they should
grant him any request he should make, which they promised to do.
Now he presented himself to King Harald, brought words of peace
between them, and made the request to them both that they should
be reconciled. So highly did the king esteem him, that in
consequence of his request they were reconciled. Many other able
men promoted this business as well as he; and it was so settled
that Halfdan should retain the whole of his kingdom as he had it
before, and should let his brother Eirik sit in peace. After
this event Jorun, the skald-maid, composed some verses in
"Sendibit" ("The Biting Message"): --
"I know that Harald Fairhair
Knew the dark deed of Halfdan.
To Harald Halfdan seemed
Angry and cruel."a

Eirik married Gunhild Ozursdotter about 905. (Gunhild Ozursdotter was born about 885.)

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