Vikings set Nordic ship ablaze on Sheringham beach

The Viking festival in Sheringham sprung to life over the weekend with battle re-enactments and drama enriched by the towns history.

Viking chief Ald Helm, otherwise known as David Bracey, has been spearheading the Nordic spectacular for the past 15 years.

His character in the re-enactment was a trader who has travelled to British shores to find mercenaries for protection. Sheringham high street was the backdrop for clashing swords and shields as crowds cheered on.

Wuffa , Saxon and Viking re-enactment Society aim to undertake events, shows and living history displays around East Anglia. They cover the Dark Age Period including, Saxons and Vikings. They also hope to get involved with other groups including Romano-British.

Joolz Bailey, 39, of Little Plumstead, attended as her character Lady Aelfina, a member of neighbouring re-enactment group Ordgar.

The festival was organised by local artist and sign writer Colin Seal, 70, who wants to make it a yearly event.

Mr Seal said: “We thought it would be nice to prolong the season concerning winter events and it’s fantastic to see such a positive response. It’s the first of it’s kind here, however, as the festival develops over the years, I’m sure it will get even bigger”

The idea stemmed from Sheringham’s name which is of Scandinavian origin and means the Ham of Scira’s people. It is thought Scira was a Viking warlord who was given the land where Sheringham lies today as a reward for his performance in battle.

The weekend’s activities included sword and shield-making workshops, Viking theatre groups, a torch-lit parade and a boat-burning ceremony on the beach. Hundreds of locals and visitors lined the promenade to view the finale.

The Viking re-enactment group gave an impressive display as they threw burning torches into the boat to signify a warrior’s burial ceremony.

This was the Viking tradition, where the deceased was laid in a boat, or a stone ship, and given grave offerings in accordance with his earthly status and profession, sometimes including sacrificed slaves. Afterwards, piles of stone and soil were usually laid on top of the remains in order to create a tumulus.

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