Thetford was settled around an important crossing on the Little Ouse river sometime before the Iron Age; in its heyday, Thetford was the Saxon capital of East Anglia … at least until November 869 when Edmund “the Martyr,” last native king of the Angles, managed to get himself and most of his army killed by a Viking host under the command of Ivar the Boneless and his brother Ubba. The town then fell into the Danelaw, that part of England under Viking rule. But it wasn’t all bad for the town, for under the Vikings it prospered through the 900s, lying as it did on a navigable river at a broad ford. Its location made it a center of trade and craftsmanship (especially pottery production). But Sweyn Fordbeard’s campaigns against the Vikings and English led to him sacking it in 1004 and again in 1010. With Sweyn crowned king of England in 1013, peace returned.