Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Olsok" Wirral-Chester Viking Churches Heritage Walk/Pilgrimage

On 18 Jul 2008, at 00:45, Harding Stephen wrote:

Dear Colleague
Please can I bring to your attention this years "Olsok" Wirral-Chester Viking Churches Heritage Walk/Pilgrimage which this year goes from the church of St. Mary and St. Helen at Neston to St. Olave's in Chester.
It is on Saturday July 26th and starts at 9am. It will be led by myself and Dr. Dan Robinson, Emeritus Keeper of Archaeology at the Grosvenor Museum in Chester.
Details are on:

The remarkable Viking stone fragments at the church at Neston - and the work going on to build a replica of the "Viking Lady" cross will be featured on ITV1 Granada this Sunday (6pm) on the Lost Treasures - Vikings Show. St. Olave's will also be featured too. For those not in the Granada region the show can be picked up as follows:

Sunday July 20th: ITV1 Granada, 6.00pm BST. LOST TREASURES: VIKINGS. King of Sat gives the following Satellite details for the appropriate Frequency, Polarisation, Symbol Rate and FEC settings: Astra 2D 28.2°E. 10758.00V. 22000 5/6.
If you wish to come on the walk it is important you email myself, Dan Robinson or Mike Morris (contact details on the web site) well in advance so we have an idea of numbers. Please read the instructions carefully on the web site,
All best

Steve Harding

Stephen Harding (Professor of Biology)
University of Nottingham
Sutton Bonington
LE12 5RD, UK
Viking blog:


Anonymous said...

Your blog is terrific!

Here is the url for the blog from the Archives of the Sandusky Library,
if you would like to take a look:

@boobelle said...

Thanks for that - I will do....

Erik Ribsskog said...


I'm from Norway, but I live in Liverpool.

Yesterday, I was in Chester, to have a look at the town, or city I think it is.

Since I think I should also visit some other places here, than just Liverpool.

And then suddently I stumbled upon St. Olave's Church, and that was fun.

I saw the sign for the street, St. Olave Street, and understood it was the saint we call 'Olav den hellige', Olav the holy, in Norway.

In Norway, we have some wooden churches, 'stavkirker', from the viking-age.

But I wasn't aware of, that in Chester there is a church built by vikings, so this was very surprising, to me, I didn't know that there existed stone-buildings like this, from the Vikings.

There was a sign there, saying that the church was built on, in the 18th century, that it was restaured?

I was wondering if you know if this building, when it was conserved, in the 18th century was built in the same way, as it used to be?

I saw that the parishes, between St. Olave's and St. Michael's were quite strict defined, since on a building, called 'the nine houses', or something, the border between the parishes, was marked, on the fasade of the building.

So was there like a conflict there, between the 'Viking' parish, and the St Michael's Church parish?

The people living in the Viking part of town, must have been quite poor then, since the parish was joined with the neighbour parish.

The tradition with the black and white timber-buildings, that one see, in Chester, and also in other towns in Britain, on pubs etc., where is this tradition from.

I guess that's typically British then, is it from the Normans or something?

Sorry if I'm asking a lot of questions, I just thought it was fun that a Viking-church in stone, existed, to this date.

Is the building listed, or graded, or what the right term is, and why haven't it got a proper sign on it, that says its from the Viking-age, because from the only sign I saw, it looked like it was from the 18th century, but that was really when it was conserved, I understood, when I later searched about the church on the internet.

I took some pictures in Chester, so I can add a link, so it's possible to understand what I meant with the sign, or plate.

Sorry that I ask so many questions, by the way, I just thought it was very fun, to see that a church like this, existed, from the Vikings, I wasn't aware of that.

Thanks in advance for any answers to all the questions!


Erik Ribsskog


Here is the link I mentioned, with the pictures of the church etc., from Chester:

@boobelle said...

Hi Eric
Im afraid I am no expert on these churches or Chester - try emailing Professor Stephen Harding ( at Nottingham University, the content of that blog post was from him....the black & white timber framed buildings though are from the Tudor times in England, not Viking! Im very interested in what you find out about the churches - please share...

Erik Ribsskog said...


thanks very much for the answer, I'll e-mail Professor Harding at the University of Newcastle.

I read up a bit on the internet, about the churches, (which I perhaps should have done more, before I wrote the last comment), and I read that there also is a St. Olave's Church and Parish, in York.

Since York was a Viking-town, or City, even if it was also Roman and Norman and Anglo-Saxon probably also I guess, for all that I know.

At school in Norway, we learn about that York has been a Norwegian Viking-town or city, with the name of 'Jorvik', but we don't hear about that there have been Viking-settlements around in the Wirral and other places around the Mersey, so this was a bit new information to me.

I read that the church in Chester, was built by Norwegian refugees from Dublin, after the Vikings lost control in Ireland, (which I guess is what the march is about), so I thought that the St. Olave's Church, in Chester, probably is one of the few things, that remains, of arcitecture etc., from the Vikings who lived in Ireland.

(Or I guess there could be something in Ireland, that we neighter was thought in school).

But I saw in Chester, that the Roman and Norman buildings, had signs explaining about the buildings etc., but I don't the St. Olave's Church had a similar sign.

And now I read on the internet, today, that the church was being used as a cinema.

But perhaps there aren't any people left, from the Norse comunity, in Chester, that remember that they had Viking ancestors, so noone wants to put up signs etc.

I think, if this church had been in Norway, they would probably made it to a museum or something.

At least they would have put up a sign, I guess.

But I'll contact the professor about this, and try not to write so much about what I think.

I just thought it was fun, really, to se that there where places in Chester named after a Norwegian king, that we learn about in school, in Norway, so that I thought was fun.

I'll contact the professor, and I'll try to remember to update my comment again, when I get a reply!

Thank you very much for answering my questions, I'll read up about Tudor, thanks very much for explaining about the timber framed houses!


Erik Ribsskog