Royden Family History Pages

Cheshire Origins

Researchers find more DNA evidence of Wirral’s links to Vikings

Sep 16 2009 by Lorna Hughes, Birkenhead News

MORE Vikings have been found in Wirral!

Scientists found two men from Meols shared identical historical links to Scandinavia during DNA testing.

Bizarrely one – Stan Royden – is married to a Norwegian woman, Mette, and is chairman of the committee for the Scandinavian Church in Liverpool. The second – Roy Shuttleworth – is secretary of the Friends of Meols Park and has been looking into the area’s Viking past.

(left: Roy Suttleworth and Stan Royden, with Prof. Harding)

Although not related, the men were found to have very similar chromosome types. Their strongest DNA link was to Gotland, an island off the east coast of Sweden. The findings were released this week and are the result of a DNA ancestry event held last November as part of the Nordic Festival in Liverpool. Viking expert Professor Steve Harding from Nottingham University and colleagues Professor Mark Jobling and Dr Turi King at Leicester University tested 195 men free of charge.

A genetic survey carried out last year by scientists from Nottingham and Leicester Universities and University College London found that up to 50% of the DNA of men from old Wirral families was Norse in origin. Mr Royden, 64, said: “I was quite surprised because I thought I was all Anglo-Saxon! “I’ve always felt an affinity with the place – my first job was in Norway, which is where I met my wife Mette.” In another bizarre coincidence, the Scandinavian Church Stan is involved with is in the Diocese of Gotland and comes under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Gotland.

Mr Shuttleworth, 56, said he was “totally amazed” by the results. He said: “I couldn’t believe it , especially as we’re working on a Viking project in Meols.” Only men can be tested for the Viking link because the test is based on DNA from the male Y chromosome which is passed down the paternal line from generation to generation, with little or no change. Professor Harding said: “The results for Stan and Roy showed the match in both cases was Gotland in Sweden, where 15% of men have the same Y chromosome type as Stan and Roy. “They also have matches elsewhere around Scandinavia. “We can't say for sure but there is a very good chance they are both carrying the Y-chromosome of a Viking. Don’t forget the Vikings moved all a lot, so they didn’t necessarily come from just one place. “They’re just ordinary men but in every cell they have this link to Scandinavia.”

lA research paper on the Wirral genetic survey was published last year.


Now, Stan is also descended from Alexander Royden of Chester

- does this mean that all men descended from Alexander carry the Y-Chromosome?

Enquiries are continuing. But what a development! Royden Vikings all over the Wirral and Merseyside!


Wirral News

The original news article in the Wirral News 16 September 2009.

Wirral and West Lancashire 1100th Viking Anniversary Home Page

Full credit to Professor Steven Harding's website, where this information was sourced. Steve Harding, a Wirral ex-pat and top Tranmere supporter is Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Nottingham and is the director of the DNA project.

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