Sweyn Forkbeard: First Viking King of England

Sweyn Forkbeard was the first Viking King of England, however you'd be forgiven for potentially forgetting who he was given he was only King for five short weeks, being declared King on Christmas Day 1013, and ruling till his death on 3rd February 1014.


Part of a distinguished line of Viking rulers, he was the son of Harald Bluetooth, King of Denmark, and the father to Cnut the Great, the last Viking King of England.


Today, Eleanor Janega is joined by Dr Caitlin Ellis, Associate Professor in Medieval Nordic History at the Univeristy of Oslo, to answer all the important questions: who was Sweyn Forkbeard? How did he become King of England? Was he a successful ruler? And did he really have a fork beard?


If you enjoyed this episode, you might also like our episodes on: Cnut the Great, Harald Bluetooth, and Harald Hardrada.


This episode was produced by Elena Guthrie and Joseph Knight. It was edited by Joseph Knight.


Enjoy unlimited access to award-winning original documentaries that are released weekly and AD-FREE podcasts. Get a subscription for £1 per month for 3 months with code MEDIEVAL - sign up here.


You can take part in our listener survey here.