Olav tears down London Bridge

In Snorre Sturlason’s sagas Olav is also said to have joined King Aethelred for a while in his fight against the Danes. The Danes had occupied Southwark (South-works) in London. They also occupied London Bridge. Olav built ‘roofs’ on his longships to protect his men from arrows, spears and stones thrown at them from above and rowed his ships up the Thames to the bridge. There he tied ropes around the bridge piles and, when the tide was right he ordered his men to row as hard as they could down-river. The piles came loose. The bridge was heavy with men and armour trying in vain to sink his ships and, when the piles loosened, the bridge broke and men, weapons and stones fell into the river. Aethelred then easily took Southwark. When the people in the City of London saw that the river was open, and that they could no longer prevent ships from sailing on into the country, they accepted Aethelred as their king.

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