Most writers, ancient and modern, represent all Vikings as enemies of Christianity. It seems to be still believed that wherever they went, and at all periods, they sacked churches, massacred monks and nuns, and played havoc with civilization. That was certainly the view of politicians and chroniclers from Alfred to William the Conqueror. Even recent historians repeat the charge, sometimes with quite unnecessary emphasis.
In this article it is not proposed to whitewash the race in all respects—that would be impossible—but to bring forward certain scraps of evidence, not generally recollected, to set off against the too universal chorus of reprobation. In a word, there were such people as Christian Vikings; that is to say the immigrant Danes and Norse of that turbulent age, though always pirates on occasion, softened their manners as time went on, long before their general conversion to organized Christianity. Strange to say, some of the churches that are still with us owe their foundation to the Viking settlement in Britain.