Home About Collections Walks and Talks Publications

The Legend of Valsgarth

The town of Angarth (Anglo-Saxon An'geard) was founded in the late 9th century AD, and there are two competing theories around this event. Archaeological surveys of St Andrews Street and the Tadwick Road (conducted in the 1970s) provide evidence of a Viking presence in the town, and show the outlines of houses similar to those found in the Outer Hebrides and the Isle of Man.

There are no reliable written records, but monastic registers do mention the settlement of Valsgarth, which also exists today as a placename in Shetland. The Angarth and District History Society has suggested a different interpretation, in which An'geard was actually a staging post to other parts of Western Scotland, and, ultimately, the settlement of Iceland.

One particular aspect of Valsgarthian culture is the use of Ogham script, which has been found on marker stones at various different sites. As an example of a post-Roman alphabet, it consists of slashes at different angles, and was used through Ireland and Scotland. One inscription found outside 43 Tadwick Road mentions “Amlaib the Voyager” which scholars believe is a reference to Amlaib Knaránsson, one of the founders of Valsgarth.


(I) The Lands of Valsgarth