Black Heathen 

The Black Heathen: ‘The Black Heathen’ or gentiles nigri was a name that the Welsh called Viking invaders. The term means a dark and unwanted presence that do not belong to a widely held religion. 

The Black Heathen were feared throughout the land and attacks along the Welsh coastline lasted for over 200 years from the first recorded incident in 795 AD. Wales was repeatedly raided, especially by the Norse from the Hiberno-Norse kingdoms of Dublin and Limerick. Kings like Rhodri ap Merfyn, known as Rhodri Mawr (the great, 844 to 878 AD) and Hywel Dda (the Good, 900 to 950 AD) were able to rally large numbers of Welshmen to the defense of their lands with stubborn resistance, preventing the formation of large Norse kingdoms such as existed elsewhere in the British Isles.

The places pictured in this series are sites where attacks were frequently recorded. Wales suffered heavily at the hands of “The Black Heathen” and blood was spilled along the shores, fields and forests in the southern regions from relentless attacks endured. 

To die on the sword of “The Heathen” was a fate of many Welshmen as the black tide of invaders came wave after wave.

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