England runestones

The England runestones (Swedish: Englandsstenarna) are a group of about 30 runestones in Northern Europe which refer to Viking Age voyages to England.[1] They constitute one of the largest groups of runestones that mention voyages to other countries, and they are comparable in number only to the approximately 30 Greece Runestones[2] and the 26 Ingvar Runestones, of which the latter refer to a Viking expedition near the Caspian Sea. They were engraved in Old Norse with the Younger Futhark.

Map of the geographic distribution of the England Runestones in southern Scandinavia and northernmost Germany (modern administrative borders and cities are shown)

The Anglo-Saxon rulers paid large sums, Danegelds, to Vikings, who mostly came from Denmark and Sweden who arrived to the English shores during the 990s and the first decades of the 11th century. Some runestones relate of these Danegelds, such as the Yttergärde runestone, U 344, which tells of Ulf of Borresta who received the danegeld three times, and the last one he received from Canute the Great. Canute sent home most of the Vikings who had helped him conquer England, but he kept a strong bodyguard, the Þingalið, and its members are also mentioned on several runestones.[3]

The vast majority of the runestones, 27, were raised in modern-day Sweden and 17 in the oldest Swedish provinces around lake Mälaren. In contrast, modern-day Denmark has no such runestones, but there is a runestone in Scania which mentions London. There is also a runestone in Norway and a Swedish one in Schleswig, Germany.

Some Vikings, such as Guðvér did not only attack England, but also Saxony, as reported by the Grinda Runestone Sö 166 in Södermanland:[1]

Grjótgarðr (and) Einriði, the sons
made (the stone) in memory of (their) able father.
Guðvér was in the west;
divided (up) payment in England;
manfully attacked
townships in Saxony.[1][4]

Below follows a presentation of the England Runestones based on information collected from the Rundata project, organized according to location. The transcriptions from runic inscriptions into standardized Old Norse are in the Swedish and Danish dialect to facilitate comparison with the inscriptions, while the English translation provided by Rundata give the names in standard dialect (the Icelandic and Norwegian dialect).