The Five Burghs or more usually The Five Boroughs or The Five Boroughs of the Danelaw were the five main towns of Danish Mercia (what is now the East Midlands). Derby (pronounced "dar-bee" /dˈɑːbɪ/ is a city in the East Midlands of England. Leicester (ˈlɛstə is the largest city and Unitary authority area in the East Midlands of England, and is the traditional Lincoln (ˈlɪŋkən is a Cathedral city and County town of Lincolnshire, England. Nottingham ( is a city in the Ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire, England. Stamford is located 100 miles north of London just off the A1 which was the old Great North Road leading to York and Edinburgh. The Danelaw, as recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (also known as the Danelagh; Old English: Dena lagu; Danish: A Viking is one of the Norse ( Scandinavian Explorers Warriors Merchants, and pirates who raided and colonized wide areas Mercia (ˈmɝsiə was one of the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy. The East Midlands is one of the Regions of England and consists of most of the eastern half of the traditional region of the Midlands. These were Derby, Leicester, Lincoln, Nottingham and Stamford. Derby (pronounced "dar-bee" /dˈɑːbɪ/ is a city in the East Midlands of England. Leicester (ˈlɛstə is the largest city and Unitary authority area in the East Midlands of England, and is the traditional Lincoln (ˈlɪŋkən is a Cathedral city and County town of Lincolnshire, England. Nottingham ( is a city in the Ceremonial county of Nottinghamshire, England. Stamford is located 100 miles north of London just off the A1 which was the old Great North Road leading to York and Edinburgh. The first four would later become county towns. A county town is the 'capital' of a County in the United Kingdom or Republic of Ireland.
After harrying much of England, the Viking army under Ivarr the Boneless wintered at Repton in 874, where King Burgred of Mercia was unable to dislodge them and was then expelled. Ivar Ragnarsson (died possibly 873 nicknamed the Boneless ( inn beinlausi) was a Danish Viking chieftain (and by reputation also a Berserker Repton is a large Village in Derbyshire, England between Derby and Burton upon Trent, situated at the edge of the River Burgred or Burhred or Burghred was the king of Mercia (852 - 874 Ceolwulf II was installed as the Mercian king by the Vikings, who returned in 877 to partition Mercia. Ceolwulf II (probably died 881 was King of Mercia. He succeeded Burgred of Mercia who was deposed in 874 The west of the kingdom went to Coelwulf II, whilst in the east the Five Boroughs began as the fortified burhs of five Danish armies who settled the area and introduced their native law and customs (see Danelaw for more details). Burh is an Anglo-Saxon name for a fortified town or other defended site such as a Hill fort. The Danelaw, as recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (also known as the Danelagh; Old English: Dena lagu; Danish:
Each of the Five Boroughs was ruled as a Danish Jarldom, controlling lands around a fortified burh, which served as the centre of political power. Earl was the Anglo-Saxon form and jarl the Scandinavian form of a title meaning " Chieftain " and referring especially to chieftains These rulers were probably initially subject to their overlords in the Viking Kingdom of Jorvik (or York) and operated their armies sometimes independently but often in alliance with rulers of their neighbours. York ( is an historic Walled city sited at the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. In addition to the Five Boroughs there were also a number of very large Danish settlements to the south, including Northampton and Bedford which existed in a similar fashion. This article is about Northampton in England for other places of the same name see Northampton (disambiguation Northampton ( is a large Market Bedford is the County town of Bedfordshire, England. It is a large town and the administrative centre for the Bedford borough
Danish: Djúra-bý. Danish ( d̥ænsɡ̊ is one of the North Germanic languages (also called Scandinavian languages a sub-group of the Germanic branch of the Although the area was settled by Danes from 877, it was not under English threat until 913 when Lady Aethelflaed of Mercia campaigned deep into Danish territory and established a burh at nearby Tamworth. Tamworth is a Town and local government district in Staffordshire, England, located 14 miles (22 km north-east of Birmingham In 917 Aethelflaed launched her first offensive foray and selected the fortress at Derby as her target. Fortifications are Military Constructions and Buildings designed for defense in Warfare Humans have constructed defensive works for At that time the local ruler had probably joined with the armies from Northampton and Leicester in a number of raids to attack Mercia. Aethelfled took advantage of the weakened burh, and successfully assaulted the town in July 917; the whole region subsequently being annexed into English Mercia.
The Danes may well have established their military headquarters on former Roman fort of Derventio (Little Chester). Derventio was a small Town in the Roman province of Britannia. This 6 acre rectangular fort would have given the burh the equivalent of c. 500 hides. The Vikings had camped at nearby Repton in 874, and had abandoned it a year later after suffering significantly from disease during their stay (leading to the discovery of a grave containing 245 bodies). Repton is a large Village in Derbyshire, England between Derby and Burton upon Trent, situated at the edge of the River
One of the more formidable Danish burhs, the local ruler combined his army with that of Northampton and raided the West Saxon territories of Bedfordshire and Oxfordshire in 913, and defied King Edward the Elder to siege the West Saxon burh of Hertford. Edward the Elder ( Old English: Ēadweard se Ieldra) (c 870 &ndash 17 July 924) was King of England (899 &ndash West Saxon redirects here For other meanings of Wessex or West Saxon see Wessex (disambiguation. Hertford (standard pronunciations /'hɑːtֽfəd/ and /'hɑːֽfəd/ local pronunciation /'ɑːʔֽfəd/ is the affluent County town of Hertfordshire, This provoked Aethelflaed to move her armies up to the fringes of Danish occupied territory around Leicester in 914 and to construct a burh at Warwick. Warwick (ˈwɒrɪk worrick (silent w in middle is the County town of Warwickshire, England. In July 917, as part of a three pronged assault, the combined forces of Leicester and Northampton, and possibly Derby, laid siege to the Mercian burh at Towcester. Towcester (ˈtoʊstɚ the Roman town of Lactodorum, is a small town in Northamptonshire, England. Isolated by the loss of Derby and Northampton later that year, the Mercian army returned in early 918 to ravage the local countryside, and as a result the fortress surrendered peacefully to Aethelflaed's troops.
Relieved of English rule by King Olaf of York in 941, King Edmund besieged the Viking army at Leicester the same year. Olaf III Guthfrithson ( Óláfr Guðrøðarson; OIr Amlaíb mac Gofraidh) (died 941 a member of the Norse-Gael Uí Ímair dynasty Olaf and his advisor Wulfstan I, Archbishop of York, both escaped and the siege was lifted after a peace negotiation ceded the Five Boroughs to the Kingdom of York. Jarl Orm, the likely ruler of Leicester at the time (and attested charters between 930 and 958) married his daughter to King Olaf later that year to cement the alliance. The burh may have made use of the walls of the Roman Leicester (Ratae Corieltauvorum), of approx 7800 ft (c. Ratae Corieltauvorum was a town in the Roman province of Britannia. 1900 hides).
The burh at Lincoln guarded the route between Wessex and York, and was protected from much of the Anglo-Danish fighting due to its isolated location. York ( is an historic Walled city sited at the confluence of the rivers Ouse and Foss in North Yorkshire, England. The Lincoln Danes settled the area formerly occupied by the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom of Lindsey, where the Vikings had previously wintered in the nearby fortress of Torksey in Lindsey from 873 to 874. Lindsey or Linnuis is the name of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom that lay between the Humber and The Wash, forming its inland boundaries from the course Lincoln probably surrendered in 918 following the capitulation of all the Danish territories on the border of Mercia and Wessex. As a former Roman legionary town, the burh may have based its walls on the old fortress of 41 acres (c. For other uses see Legion The Roman Legion (from Latin legio "military levy Conscription," 1300 hides).
The Viking army under Ivar the Boneless and Halfdan Ragnarsson first occupied Nottingham in 868 and subsequently set up winter quarters there. Halfdan was one of the sons of Ragnar Lodbrok. It has been suggested that he is the same person as Ragnar's son Hvitserk. Burgred and his West Saxon allies laid siege, but made peace and allowed the Vikings to retreat after little serious fighting in 869. Danish reoccupation and settlement began in 877, and lasted until the assault by Edward of Wessex in the summer of 918. Edward constructed a second burh on the opposite side of the Trent in 920 to further fortify the area from Danish attack. Saxon Nottingham was known to have covered about 39 acres, which may have put the burh at c. 1300 hides.
The area around Stamford was invaded by West Saxon Ealdorman Aethelnoth in the summer 894, but the town was not besieged and Danish rule was unaffected. An ealdorman (modern Alderman) was the prior magistrate of an Anglo-Saxon shire from 900 to the time of the Danes. The end came when King Edward assaulted Stamford in late May 918 which soon fell to the army of Wessex. Later that year Edward built a second burh on the south side of the River Welland. Welland may refer to River Welland in the east of England Welland Worcestershire, a village in England Welland River From Roffe, the ramparts of the northern burh may have been of approx 3100 ft (c. 750 hides), and the Edwardian burh of around 2700 ft (c. 650 hides).
The following burhs were not part of the Five Boroughs, but were Danish settled towns with large armies and ruled in a similar manner. These Danes often acted in allegiance with those of the Five Boroughs and the Danish King of East Anglia.
First recorded invading newly ceded Mercian territories with their allies in 913, the Northampton Danes were initially very successful. However, on their return they were defeated by local Mercian forces near Luton, losing many horses and weapons. Luton ( is a large town in the east of England, 32 miles (51 kilometres north of London. In December 914, their strength was further depleted when a number of Northampton Danes submitted to Edward at Bedford. With the loss of Derby and East Anglia and the advance of King Edward, their ruler, Jarl Thurferth, and the men of Northampton and Cambridge submitted to the West Saxons in 917. Thurferth remain the client ruler, and attested four charters of King Æthelstan dated between 930 and 934.
Northampton was later incorporated in the enlarged Earldom of East Anglia under Æthelstan Half-King in the 930s. The Earls of East Anglia were rulers of the former Kingdom of East Anglia between the 10th and 12th centuries Æthelstan (died after 957 commonly called Æthelstan Half-King, was Ealdorman of East Anglia and the leading member of a very prominent Anglo-Saxon In 941, then in the hands of the Mercians, Northampton faced an unsuccessful siege by King Olaf of York. The 'army' of Northampton was still in existence in 984 when they were recorded witnessing the sale of land. The size of the Anglo-Danish burh at Northampton has been estimated have ramparts 3000 ft in length (equivalent to c. 700 hides), making it one of the smaller Danish burhs.
The Danish burh was first under threat from the advance of the West Saxon army in 914. In November that year Bedford was surrounded by in a pincer movement by Edward, and the ruling Jarl Thurketel submitted with all of his followers. Edward returned in November 915 to the Danish-held fortress, this time taking direct control of it and building a second burh on the south bank of the River Ouse. Thurketel then became Edward's client, until he permitted the Danish ruler to leave with his followers for France in the summer of 916. In July 917 the Danish East Anglian army advanced to Tempsford and launched an attack to recover Beford. East Anglia is often used as a shorthand for the Kingdom of the East Angles. Tempsford is a village in the English county of Bedfordshire. The Danish army was defeated and put to flight. It was later incorporated into the enlarged Earldom of East Anglia in the early 10th century.
The Danes of Huntingdon were allies with the East Anglian Danes when they advanced to Tempsford and built a new fortress in July 917. Huntingdon is a town in the county of Cambridgeshire in East Anglia, England. Tempsford is a village in the English county of Bedfordshire. From here, the joint army attempted to recover the recently fallen burh at Bedford, but were severely defeated and put to flight by the English garrison. The burh was occupied by the Edward's West Saxon army shortly afterwards.
Cambridge was first occupied by the Danes under kings Guthrum, Osketel and Anwend in 875, whose armies took up quarters there over the winter. Guthrum (died c 890 christened Æthelstan, was king of the Danish Vikings in the Danelaw. In 911 it was first threatened by Edward, who built an opposing burh at Hertford. Hertford (standard pronunciations /'hɑːtֽfəd/ and /'hɑːֽfəd/ local pronunciation /'ɑːʔֽfəd/ is the affluent County town of Hertfordshire, With the fall of Huntingdon, it left Cambridge the last independent host which Danish East Anglia could rely on, however the tide had turned and the Danes of Cambridge submitted to Edward in late 917.
Danish rule of the Five Boroughs was lost following the English reconquests under Aethelflaed of Mercia and Edward the Elder of Wessex during 916 and 917. The area was subsequently ruled by the Earls of Mercia until King Olaf of York reoccupied the five former Danish burhs following a major offensive in 941, perhaps assisted by local Danish leaders. Earl of Mercia was a title in the late Anglo-Saxon Anglo-Danish and early Anglo-Norman period in England Danish rule was not restored for long before King Edmund recovered the Five Boroughs in 942.
It is at this time the Five Boroughs are first recorded in an English poem known as the Redemption of the Five Boroughs. For many years afterwards the Five Boroughs were a separate and well defined area of the country where rulers sought support from its leaders, including Swein Folkbeard who gained the submission of the Five Boroughs in 1013, before going on to be king of England. Sweyn I Forkbeard, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, in English Sven the Dane, also known as Swegen and Tuck, ( Old Norse
In 1015 there is a unique reference to the 'Seven Boroughs', which may have been the additional of Torksey and York.
Following Danish conquest in 1016, Earl Sired succeeded to the newly created Earldom of the Five Boroughs under King Canute in 1019. Knut or Kanute is a Scandinavian first name of which the anglicized form is Canute. By 1035 the Earldom had been subsumed into that of Leofric, Earl of Mercia, and it was to longer form a formal administrative unit in future. Leofric (born 968 died 31 August or 30 September 1057) was the Earl of Mercia and founded Monasteries at Coventry and