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You may not know that Stroud has a close connection with the Vikings - or rather with the BP exhibition VIKINGS - LIFE AND LEGEND opening at the British Museum on March 6.

Project Curator of the groundbreaking VIKINGS - LIFE AND LEGEND exhibition - the inaugural event in the new Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery at the British Museum - is former Marling School pupil Tom Williams. A few months into the job, Tom conceived the idea of writing a children’s book based on Icelandic sagas about the life of Harald “Hardrada” Sigurdsson, the Viking King who was defeated by our own King Harold (Godwinson) at Stamford Bridge in 1066, just before the Norman invasion.

The Tale of King Harald - The Last Viking Adventure published by British Museum Press, is now available, priced £7.99 from the museums online shop or Amazon.

The Viking presence in our region is a subject of particular interest to Tom. Yes, they did come to the West Country, via the river Severn, and the islands of Flat Holm and Steep Holm in the estuary have names derived from the Old Norse word for island. There is evidence for a Viking presence in the Severn Vale as far as Gloucester, where the Vikings camped in 878, and Anglo-Scandinavian sculptures now in the British Museum collection were found in Bibury churchyard.

The exhibition opens at the British Museum on Thursday 6 March. Click here for a video of Tom talking about the centre-piece of the exhibition.

 
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