The fire and the fury: Seven images that capture the epic end of the Jorvik Viking Festival

A wicker stag forms part of the funeral procession for Eric Bloodaxe. Photographs: Anthony Chappel-Ross
26 Feb 2017 @ 3.16 pm
| Entertainment, History
A wicker stag forms part of the funeral procession for Eric Bloodaxe. Photographs: Anthony Chappel-Ross

The Eye of York echoed to the cries of warriors as the Jorvik Viking Festival came to a fiery end.

Thousands of people gathered to watch the final day.

Visitors lined the streets to watch the March to Coppergate, hundreds witnessed the Strongest Viking and Best Beard competitions, and a capacity crowd gathered to see Vikings battle and burn next to Clifford’s Tower.

Let battle commence…

Festival co-ordinator Nicola Harkess said it was a brilliant way to start York’s Year Of The Viking, with just six weeks to go before the all-new Jorvik Viking Centre reopens.

She said:

The crowds lining the streets for the March to Coppergate were amazing – it certainly felt like there were more people cheering them on than we’ve ever had before, with many of them following the Vikings to the Eye of York to watch an impromptu battle.
A warrior on the battlefield during the finale
Torchbearers light up the gloom

The fiery finale told the story of the fall of Eric Bloodaxe, the last Viking king of York.

It recreated the Battle of Stainmore in 954 – a turning point in York’s history. After the king had fallen, a funeral procession toured the Eye of York carrying an 8ft wicker stag.

This culminated in a flaming display of torches, pyrotechnics and fire blowing on the battlefield, and fireworks from Clifford’s Tower.

All new Viking Centre

The wicker stag is set ablaze

The recreation of Viking York in the Viking Centre is set six years later than this battle in 960.

The centre was closed after the Christmas 2015 floods. After a £4m refurbishment the reimagined center will open on Saturday, April 8 2017.

This will see visitors “fly around in Jorvik’s time capsules” to witness a “a bustling hub of trade and commerce”, said marketing manager Paul Whiting.

He added:

We’ve had a surge of advance tickets sales during the festival, so anyone wishing to visit during the opening weekend should book their tickets soon, as many time slots have already sold out.


Tickets are £10.25 per adult and £7.25 for children, with family tickets available.

For more details visit the Jorvik Viking Centre website.

Fireworks end the festival with a bang