Local Author Lends Support to #CampaignCanute


Issued 20/09/2016

Local Author Lends Support to JORVIK Fundraising Campaign

York resident and award winning author, Justin Hill, is holding a special Viking themed event this September to talk about the last great Viking king whilst helping to raise funds for the next great Viking experience.

Historic Barley Hall, off Stonegate, will play host to a fascinating talk on Harald Hardrada, the last Viking king to try and conquer England in 1066 with author and York local, Justin Hill.

“Harald Hardrada is the most extraordinary king of the Middle Ages: his fifty years spanned northern Europe, Russia, the Mediterranean and the Levant. His achievements dwarf those of Richard the Lionheart, our great adventurer king. In 1066 he would have been the bookie’s clear favourite to take the crown. He was the most extraordinary monarch we never had.”

Said Justin Hill, winner of both the Sunday Times and Washington Post Book of the Year awards, who lives just outside of the city.

“I grew up in York, and visited JORVIK when it was still an archaeological dig so this is a great opportunity for me to give something back to the centre and my home city.”

Harald Hardrada is the focus of Justin’s new book, VIKING FIRE, which chronicles Hardrada’s bloody rise from warrior to anointed king of the Norway. It is the second in the Conquest Series. The first, SHIELDWALL, was a Sunday Times Book of the Year.

The talk, which takes place on Thursday 29th September, only a few days after the 950th anniversary of Harald Hardrada’s death at Stamford Bridge, will help raise funds for the re-imagining of JORVIK Viking Centre.

“We are honoured that Justin has agreed to host a talk on Harald Hardrada. He is one of the great Viking characters and key driver in the events of 1066, so it is apt that in this 950th anniversary year we celebrate his life.  We are also humbled by Justin’s kind offer of donating the proceeds of this event to #CampaignCanute. The support we have received over the past 9 months since JORVIK flooded has been truly heart-warming and we are looking forward to re-opening in spring with new a Viking experience for the 21st Century.”

Comments Sarah Maltby, director of attractions for York Archaeological Trust, the charity behind JORVIK.

The Man Who Would Be King: Harald Hardrada, Jerusalem, and 1066 with Justin Hill takes place from 6pm at Barley Hall, Coffee Yard, Off Stonegate, York on Thursday 29th September from 6pm. Tickets are £5.50 per person, with all proceeds going towards Campaign Canute, JORVIK’s fundraising initiative. For more details and to book call 01904 615505 or visit www.jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk/justinhill.


Notes to Editors

Image Caption: Local author, Justin Hill, and his Viking honour guard commemorate the Battle of Stamford Bridge outside of JORVIK Viking Centre, Coppergate. (L-R Ragnar, aka Nathan Wade, Justin Hill and Canute, aka Ross Taylor)

JORVIK Viking Centre is owned by York Archaeological Trust, an independent educational charity which investigates the past for the benefit of present communities and future generations.

The centre itself will reopen in spring 2017 after sustaining major flood damage in December 2015. Work is ongoing to re-imagine JORVIK Viking Centre for the 21st Century with a fundraising initiative, called Campaign Canute, helping to raise additional funds to bring cutting edge technology to the new experience.

More information on Campaign Canute can be found here: www.jorvik-viking-centre.co.uk/canute.

Key Dates in 1066:

  • 5th January: Edward the Confessor, King of England dies without an heir
  • Harold Godwinson, one of the richest Earls in England voted king by the Witenagemot, an early form of parliament.
  • Harold’s succession to the throne is not welcomed by William, Duke of Normandy or King Harald Hardrada of Norway who both feel they have a claim to the English throne. Each start planning to invade.
  • Harald Hardrada and Tostig (Harold Godwinson’s brother) invade Northern England with 10–15,000 men on 240–300 longships in early September.
  • 20th September, Hardrada’s army defeats the Earls of Mercia and Northumbria at the Battle Fulford, opening Jorvik (York) up to the invaders.
  • 25th September, Hardrada and Tostig are defeated and killed at the Battle of Stamford Bridge by Harold Godwinson, effectively ending the Viking Age in England. He then has to march his army back south to face William of Normandy.
  • 14th October, the English army is defeated by the Normans. Harold Godwinson is killed in battle and William takes his crown. This event marks the end of Anglo-Saxon rule of England.

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