Eleven years of archaeological research at Rushen Abbey, 1998 to 2008

Eleven years of archaeological research at Rushen Abbey, 1998 to 2008

Davey, Peter J..

Monastic Research Bulletin vol. 14 (2008)


Man lies in the northern Irish Sea almost equidistant from Cumbria, Galloway and Ulster and only slightly further from Anglesey in North Wales. In the early Middle Ages it had developed an almost legendary reputation for its natural resources – considerable areas of good agricultural land, excellent fisheries and mineral deposits. With the Viking presence in the region, the Island, which almost blocks passage through the North Channel, also took on a key strategic role. Its possession became an essential prerequisite for any group wishing to control the northern Irish Sea area and also the Hebrides. After more than a century of power struggles between and with a variety of local Viking leaders, especially those based in Dublin who owed theoretical allegiance to the Norwegian crown, one of their number, Godred Croven (c.1079-95), took possession of Man and the Hebrides and established a dynasty that was to last for two-and-a-half centuries. The Island also proved attractive to the reformed monastic orders that, in the twelfth century, were expanding rapidly throughout Europe.

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