Ethelred the Unready’s bid to reclaim the English crown in 1014 by pulling down London Bridge is enshrined in the Nordic sagas – because he had help from a future King of Norway.
England had been coming under repeated Danish attack since about 991. In 1013, Swein Forkbeard launched a brilliant attack on southern England, with London finally capitulating in February 1014, forcing Ethelred to flee. However, Swein died soon after, and Ethelred decided to try and retake his city and Southwark (known as Suthverki) from the remaining Danish troops. But there was one major problem: London Bridge.