Here’s the second in a series of six kids talks on British Church History. This talk focuses on how Christianity came under the threat of extinction when the Viking’s attacked. This talk has been given in church and also been adapted for a junior school assembly.
British Church History (Part 2) – Attacked
What do people use the following objects for?
- Fire Extinguisher [Fire]
- Mouse Trap [Mice]
- Nurofen [Headaches]
- Clearasil [Spots]
- Weed Killer [Weeds]
- Insect Spray [Bugs]
Did anyone notice that they all have something in common? All these objects are used to try and get rid of something.
After the arrival of Christianity to Britain, the next major event in British church history during the time of the Saxons, was the arrival of a group of people who wanted to destroy the church and Christianity in Britain and get rid of it.
If I give you a clue, can you guess who this group of people were? [The Vikings].
In 793AD the Vikings invaded Britain. The attacked a Christian monastery at a place called Lindisfarne in north-east England. They stole its treasures, murdered the monks and terrified everyone. This was followed by other violent ‘Viking raids’ all over Britain and attacks on more churches and monasteries.
In 865AD a ‘Great Army’ of Danish Vikings invaded England. After lots of battles the end result was that the Vikings had conquered all of the northern, central and eastern England. This area was called ‘The Danelaw’.
The only area left to conquer was the south, an area known then as Wessex, who had a Christian king named Alfred. King Alfred refused to let the Viking’s conquer Wessex.
Battle after battle, King Alfred led his army to victory over the Vikings, and by the end of the 9th century many of the Vikings went back to Scandinavia as Alfred restored peace to Britain.
During the time the Vikings were attacking Britain it looked like the church was in trouble. Monasteries and churches were being attacked, monks were being killed and priests were fleeing for their lives. People stopped going to church because it became dangerous to go. But actually this event led to the church growing and becoming stronger.
After Alfred had defeated the Vikings he set up new laws which were based on what the Bible said. He also built new monasteries where people could worship God and started up schools which were run by the church and this meant that ordinary people when they got their education, they learned about Jesus too.
It looked like the church in Britain was in trouble, but instead it became stronger.
In the Bible, Jesus said: “I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Jesus wants people from all over the world, including Britain, to put their trust in Him, and Jesus said that nothing would stop that from happening. That’s exactly what we see happen in Britain during the time of the Saxons.
As we look back on this period of church history, we can thank God that He didn’t let the church get destroyed by the Vikings, that Jesus kept His promise to build His church and that the good news about Jesus rescue could still be heard in Britain.
(Photo: Janet Burgess)