St Peters 9th Century

Parker Chronicle This gravestone is in the undercroft of York Minster

Cross Bottom

Our story begins in the year 867. That year the Danes captured York and, according to the Anglo Saxon Chronicles, “there was immeasurable slaughter among the Northumbrians.” (Yorkshire was then part of the Kingdom of Northumbria). The Archbishop of York, Wulfhere, fled the city.

Image top left: Extract for the year 867 from the Parker Chronicle, the oldest of the four main manuscripts of the Anglo Saxon Chronicles. It was probably started at Winchester and taken to Christchurch, Canterbury some time after the Norman Conquest. The Chronicles are unusual in that they are not written in Latin but in Old English (Anglo Saxon). This extract shows why Archbishop Wulfhere fled York and came to Addingham; its translation reads:

  • “AD 867. The army went from East Anglia over the Humber’s mouth to York in Northumbria. There was great discord in this people amongst themselves; they had overthrown their king, Osbriht, and had taken an unnatural king, Aelle. They decided late in the year that they were going to fight the others, yet they gathered a great army and sought the force* at York, they broke into the fort; some went in and there was immeasurable slaughter among the Northumbrians, some inside and some outside. The kings were both killed, and the survivors made peace with the force. The same year, bishop Ealhstan died; he had the bishoric at Sherbourne for fifty years, and his body lies there in the churchyard.”

(*The Viking army is often referred to in the Chronicles as “the force”.)

Syneon, an 11th century monk of Durham Abbey tells how Wulfhere found refuge at “Hatyngham in Hwerverdale, upon the bank of the River Hwerf between Otley and the Castle of Sciptun”.

There must have been a well established Christian community already here although the Church was of people and not a building.

Worship in those days took place around a carved stone cross. The remains of Addingham’s cross was discovered in 1947. Also discovered was a carved bone comb case dating from this time. During excavations, prior to building the extension to the Church Hall, many Anglo-Saxon burials were uncovered.

Wulfhere remained in Addingham until about 875 when he was recalled to York by Guthred, the then Christian Danish ruler of the city.

He remained in York until his death in the year 900.

Image bottom left: This gravestone is in the undercroft of York Minster. It is not known if it is the gravestone of Archbishop Wulfhere.