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A picture of Viking York (Jorvik) in the 10th Century can best be described by people who lived or visited there. The unknown author of "Life of St Oswalds" described York as a "thriving town packed with people of all races". Another unknown writer declared "York, once nobly built and most solidly constructed with walls which are now decayed by age is indescribably rich, packed with goods of merchants who come from all but especially the Danes, a multitude of people numbering 30,000 not counting infants". Although the figure is questionable, there is no doubt that York was one of the largest cities in Viking times with direct sea routes to Dublin and the Mediterranean. It was probably also one of the richest as at this time the South was paying 'DaneGeld' to the Vikings. This was a bribe to the Vikings not to invade the Southern counties.
To sustain a huge population, there must have been a high number of local merchants from nearby villages selling their goods in York. At this time, local merchants were expected only to sell their wares within a 6 mile distance . Indeed there was a law in times of war to this effect - "in case of hostilities one may travel because of necessity between York and a distance of 6 miles on the eve of festivals".
Thus around Viking times a large number of villages appeared to service the booming population of York. Even the dependable Anglo Saxon Chronicle mentions the great Danish army "taking to the soil". These villages can be identified by the place names:
Viking villages end in - thorpe (meaning village) - wick (meaning granary) - by (meaning byre)
Anglo Saxon villages end in - ham (meaning hamlet) - ton (meaning village) - ley (meaning pasture)
There is a concentration of Viking Settlements South West of the river. This is to be expected as this land would have been prone to flooding and may not have been occupied until the influx of the Vikings. This area also had close ties with the river - a very important means of communication for the Viking people, it was much safer to travel by river than by road.
When settlers come to a 'new' country, they tend to set up their own villages with their own people. There is protection in numbers in a foreign land to overcome resentment and hostilities by locals. This happened for the new settlers going to America and Australia and I expect that this happened in the Viking Times. Thus some villages will have been deluged with Vikings, others will have stayed unscathed.
The meaning of the Copmanthorpe is 'Merchants Village'. As we see with Viking street names in York, many of the street names indicated the profession of the people in the street and indeed this is reflected in the name Copmanthorpe i.e. Copmanthorpe was full of Merchants. Hence, I must come to the conclusion that Copmanthorpe was a posh suburb of York. The rich Merchants of York didn't want to stay in the city centre where poverty and disease was rife. They wanted a bit of land in a country village which was close enough for trading with the Viking capital (and which had a good access route to the Viking capital, York).
How did the birth of the village take place? Making the assumption that the birth of the village occurred during Viking times, then chances are that a group of settlers moved to the village in one group. We would expect these settlers to congregate around a centre. This centre is probably the current centre where the Norman church was built although there is no direct evidence to support this. Indeed there is very little information of this period (except the Anglo Saxon Chronicle) as the Vikings wrote very little down.