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Bygone Stanley - The Dark Ages


When the Romans withdrew the bulk of their army in 410 AD, Britain was left at the mercy of the wild Picts who lived north of Hadrian's Wall. From over the North Sea came Saxon invaders who came not only to plunder but to settle. Ida the Flamebearer landed at Flamborough with his twelve sons in the 6th century. His warriors filled 40 ships and they defeated the Britons. Many Saxons sailed up the rivers and made settlements for their families

It is supposed that one such WACA sailed up the Calder, which passed Stanley, and made his field at Stanley Wakefield and its original name has changed through the centuries. Possibly Stanley was not settled during this period as its name is Norse. North and east of Stanley the Britons resisted the invaders in their Elmet and probably the Britons in the Stanley district would leave their forest clearings and retreat behind the defences of this kingdom. No doubt if we could be an eyewitness into these dark ages we would find that our district of Stanley was the site of many a fight - large or small - between the two races. In 616 AD King Eadwin defeated the Britons and it became part of his Saxon Kingdom of Doira, We know that the Saxons had penetrated to the west coast three years earlier as they defeated the Britons near Chester in 613 AD. Doira eventually became part of the Kingdom of Northumbria.

200 years later the Saxons in this district were in turn plundered by the Danes. Many names bear witness to their settlement as they were Norse. This Danish conquest of Yorkshire in 876 AD by Halfdene divided Deire among his followers.

Christianity first came to Northumbria in 627 AD when Eadwin was King bur wars and conquests repeatedly suppressed it. However at the time the Danes ruled the whole of England under Canute were Christians.

The dark ages in Stanley must, therefore, have been a time of turmoil with conquests, settlements and changes in religion. This state of affairs only came to an end shortly before the Norman conquest of England, This was the last invasion from other lands which had lasted, with short breaks, for 600 years.

We most certainly had many hard, tough characters amongst us for many years. We became part of them; genes being passes down generation after generation. Perhaps it is because of these genes that in Stanley we keep producing tough rugby and soccer players who have played the games at the highest professional level.

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This page (dark.html) was last modified on Sunday 27/01/2013