Bernard the Dane

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Bernard the Dane (French: Bernard le Danois) (c. 880 – before 960) was a Viking jarl (earl) of Danish origins. He put himself in the service of another jarl installed at the mouth of the Seine, Rollo (before 911). After the accords of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte that officially gave birth to the duchy of Normandy (911), Bernard converted to Christianity at Rouen the following year (912) and shortly afterwards received from Rollo the county of Pont-Audemer in Roumois (today in the Eure département) then, later, the city of Harcourt.

Under Rollo's son and successor Duke William, Bernard was charged at the beginning of the 930s with putting down the serious uprising led by a certain Riouf (a Norman from the west, who had besieged the Duke in Rouen). Around 935 he put down a revolt in Bessin and Cotentin by Viking communities completely independent from the young and fragile power of the dukedom, unlike the east of the duchy of Normandy where its ducal power was affirmed a little later.

Later, on William's premature death by assassination, Bernard became regent of the duchy of Normandy in December 942, beside Anslech de Bricquebec, Osmond de Conteville and Raoul Taisson.

In 945-946, he appealed to Harald Bluetooth and his Danes to defend the duchy when it was attacked by the Carolingian king Louis of Outremer and Hugh the Great, duke of the Franks. Louis was attempting to retake the lands of the west in Normandy that had been granted to the Viking bands thirty years earlier.

Bernard died a few years later (before 960). He is supposed to have been the ancestor of two great Anglo-Norman baronial families, the Beaumonts and the Harcourts.


  • This page is a partial translation of the article "Bernard le Danois" on French Wikipedia