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Dynasty: Viking Kingdom of York
Ruler: "Hunedeus and Cnut"*
Reigned: c. 895-902
Denomination: AR Penny
Moneyer: York
Obverse: Small cross pattée with a pellet in each angle, "+CVNNETTI" around.
Reverse: "CNVT REX" around patriarchal cross, with a pellet in angles of the smaller cross
Reference: North 501; Spink 993
Weight: 1.2 gms
Diameter: 19.5 mm
Comment: Most probably from the Cuerdale Hoard (Lancashire, 1840)
*Lyon and Stewart have suggested that the enigmatic legend 'CVNNETTI" maybe a Latinized rendering of Hunedeus, an historically attested Viking leader, who held power at York with the otherwise unknown Cnut (BAR 180, p.348).

Viking Kingdom of York

York had been founded as the Roman legionary fortress of Eboracum and revived as the Anglo-Saxon trading port of Eoforwic. It was first captured in November, 866 by Ivar the Boneless, leading a large army of Danish Vikings, called the "Great Heathen Army" by Anglo-Saxon chroniclers, which had landed in East Anglia and made their way north, aided by a supply of horses with which King Edmund of East Anglia bought them off and by civil in-fighting between royal candidates in the Anglian Kingdom of Northumbria between the leaders of its two sub-kingdoms; Bernicia and Deira. Declaring a truce, the rivals for the throne of Northumbria joined forces but failed to retake the city in March, 867, and with their deaths Deira came under Danish control as the Kingdom of Northumbria and the Northumbrian royal court fled north to refuge in Bernicia. A Viking attempt against Mercia the same season failed and in 869 their efforts against Wessex were fruitless in the face of opposition from Kings Ethelred and Alfred the Great. The archbishop, Wulfhere seems to have temporised and collaborated with the Norse, for he was expelled from York when a Northumbrian uprising in 872 was only temporarily successful; he was recalled and held his seat until his death. The Viking king Guthred was buried in York Minster, a signal that he and the archbishop had reached a lasting accomodation. All the Viking coinage appears to have emanated from the mint at York, a mark of the city's unique status in Northumbria as an economic magnet. York's importance as the seat of Northumbria was confirmed when the Scandinavian warlord, Guthrum, headed for East Anglia, while Halfdan Ragnarsson seized power in AD 875. While the Danish army was busy in Britain, the Isle of Man and Ireland, the Swedish army was occupied with defending the Danish and Swedish homelands where Halfdan's brothers were in control.

Native Danish rulers who eventually made Jelling in Jutland the site of Gorm the Old's kingdom, were in the East Anglian Kingdom. The Five Burghs/Jarldoms were based upon the Kingdom of Lindsey and were a sort of frontier between each kingdom. King Canute the Great would later "reinstall" a Norwegian dynasty of jarls in Northumbria (Eric of Hlathir), with a Danish dynasty of jarls in East Anglia (Thorkel). Northern England would continue to be a source of intrigue for the Norwegians until Harald III of Norway's death at the Battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 just prior to the Battle of Hastings and the Norman conquest.

The Cuerdale Hoard
was discovered by workmen on the banks of the river Ribble near Preston, Lancashire on May 15th, 1840. Consisting of around a 1,000 ozs of silver ingots and over 7,000 coins, it is still today the largest hoard of Viking silver ever found in the British Isles, and the largest in Europe outside of Russia. The majority of the hoard was seized by the landowner's bailiff; the labourers were allowed to retain one coin each for themselves. It was declared Treasure Trove at an inquest on 15 August 1840, the property of Queen Victoria in right of her Duchy of Lancaster; the Duchy then passed it to the British Museum for examination prior to its distribution to over 170 recipients. The lion's share, however, was allocated to the British Museum. The coinage of the Viking kingdom of York during this period is almost unknown outside of this find.

Buried in a lead chest around A.D. 905 - 910, the coins reflected the trading and cultural contacts of the Vikings who once owned the treasure. In addition to c.5000 newly minted coins of the Viking Kingdoms of York and East Anglia, there were c.1000 Anglo-Saxon issues, c.1000 Carolingian issues and a handful of Kufic, early Scandinavian and 1 Byzantine one.

The reasons for it's burial and moreover it's non-recovery will never be exactly known. However, its find spot may provide the best clue. Cuerdale is located at the start of an overland route from York to the Irish Sea and from there on to Dublin. We know from historical sources that the Vikings were expelled from Dublin A.D. 902 and it has been speculated that was deposited during their flight and subsequently not recovered. Whatever the exact reason there is a strong Irish dimension to the hoard from both its location and from some of the silver jewelry in the hoard.

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