The third edition of Ingimund’s Saga: Viking Wirral has been written by Wirral-born Steve Harding, who is professor of applied biochemistry at the University of Nottingham.
As a scientist, and trained by the man who discovered the bonds that hold DNA together (JM Creeth, 1924-2010), Steve instigated the DNA survey of North West England, looking for Viking ancestry.
Not only has he studied the genetic influence of the Vikings, he has also been honoured by the King of Norway (he received a Knight of the First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit) for his work on raising awareness of the Vikings in Wirral and the North West.
Ingimund’s Saga tells the story of the group of Viking settlers from Scandinavia who arrived on the shores of north Wirral around 1,100 years ago, having been driven out of Ireland.
Soon they had established a community with a border, its own leader, its own language, a trading port and, at its centre, a place of assembly or government – the Thing at Þingvöllr (Thingwall).
This book uncovers stories about those people, why they left Scandinavia, where they settled, their religion, their possible pastimes and their legacy.
The third edition has been updated to incorporate the identification of the mysterious Dingesmere in the Battle of Brunanburh, and the importance and relation of Wirral to the wider Viking Commonwealth (including the Isle of Man, North Wales, Scotland and Ireland).
It also includes the results from the Wirral and West Lancashire Viking DNA project, where up to 50% of the DNA of men from old Wirral and West Lancashire families appear to be Scandinavian in origin.
Dr Harding said: “It’s a heritage we as Wirral people can be truly proud of. Liverpool has The Beatles, Chester has the Romans, but we have the Vikings!”
The Vikings of Wirral will take place at Linghams Booksellers in Heswall on Wednesday, May 10 at 6.30pm (for a 7pm start). The evening will feature a talk by Dr Harding on the Vikings of Wirral and copies of Ingimund’s Saga will be on sale.
Tickets cost £5, and include a £5 discount off the cost of the book. To book a ticket, call 0151 342 7290.
This edition, like the previous ones, features a foreword written by the Icelandic journalist Magnus Magnusson, a supporter of the publication, who sadly passed away in 2007.
Magnus was best known for his television work, especially as the host of the BBC quiz programme Mastermind, which he presented for 25 years.
Writing in the foreword, he said: “Steve Harding has now given Wirral its own saga. Like the saga-writers of old, he has resuscitated identifiable people from the musty archives of the past and placed them on stage, alive and vibrant, ordinary and extraordinary at the same time.”
Ingimund’s Saga: Viking Wirral is £15.99 and is available directly from the University of Chester Press by visiting www.chester.ac.uk/university-press through booksellers including Linghams Booksellers in Heswall, or by contacting managing editor Sarah Griffiths on 01244 513305.