793, the year our world changed

Last time they came, they brought fire and the sword - but Vikings are now set to make a more peaceful return to the Northumberland coastline.

Last time they came, they brought fire and the sword - but Vikings are now set to make a more peaceful return to the Northumberland coastline.

A new exhibition is being developed at the Lindisfarne Centre on Holy Island, which will depict life before, during and after the infamous Viking invasion of 793.

Funding has been secured for the £100,000 project, which will include displays of clothes, tools and weapons, and the technology the Vikings had at the time.

A 15-minute film presented by TV historian Julian Richards, whose programmes for the BBC have included Blood of the Vikings and Meet the Ancestors, is also being made.

And there is talk of twinning the island with other settlements from which the Vikings either launched their raids or on which they landed.

These include Bukkoy in Norway and the Orkneys - where they stopped on their way to launch a shock attack on Holy Island's monks, and sack the Priory.

Dick Patterson, chairman of Holy Island of Lindisfarne Community Development Trust, said: "In Norway, where the Vikings came from, the date of 793 is known by almost everyone. Here, only historians know the details.

"The impact made by the invasion was enormous. Nothing was ever going to be the same again.

"This date is of great importance to England as it began the change from the domination of the Saxon culture and the ultimate settling of the Norse and Danish Vikings throughout parts of Britain."

Kerry Fieldhouse, a trustee and project leader, said: "The impact of the Viking raids beginning in 793 and the following atmosphere of fear of repeated attacks was the impetus for a series of events which ultimately led to the placing of St Cuthbert's body in Durham."

And it will be St Cuthbert's Day next year that the group hopes the project will finally be launched.

Kerry said: "The film is the vital element in telling the story of this clash of cultures.

"We are really pleased to have Julian to help us, his wealth of knowledge and easy story-telling style will add enormously to the dramatic nature of the story and the impact the invasion had on the island residents at the time."

The Lindisfarne Centre is one of the trust's projects, with two major exhibits, one showing island life, the people, history, and wildlife, and Turning the Pages, an interactive exhibition about the Lindisfarne Gospels.

The centre attracts around 12,000 visitors a year and all profits further other regeneration activity, such as building houses for island residents.

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