This thesis examines whether, when and how the Norse in the Hebrides choose to adapt to local circumstances and, in particular, their choice to accept Christianity. The Norse settled in the Hebrides from circa AD 800; the time span 800 to 1000 is the main period of interest for this thesis. Previous studies of the Norse in Scotland have dealt with the Norse in the Hebrides, but they have tended to concentrate on the better-documented Northern Isles. This examination of the process of christianisation therefore concentrates on the Norse in the Hebrides as recorded through historical, archaeological, art historical and place-name sources. The adaptation and assimilation of immigrants into a settled society with different traditions, customs, and beliefs has occurred throughout the centuries. The Norse settlers in the Hebrides, and elsewhere, must have been faced with similar choices: should they adapt to the local society or remain independent and retain their own distinct traditions and customs?
How the process of christianisation and conversion took place is the main issue to be addressed; in essence, the premise is that, through assimilation and acculturation, the Hebridean Norse accepted Christianity. The survival of Iona as a monastic centre is one of the key points addressed. The process of integration is examined on a local level through the settlement, burial and sculptural evidence. Additionally, the historical evidence for the Norse political activities in Britain and Ireland is discussed; this particularly involves the forging of marriage and military alliances between Norse leaders and Irish and English kings. The links between the Hebridean Norse and the Scandinavian trading centres of Dublin and York are emphasised. This thesis demonstrates that through integration and assimilation, the Norse were christianised and eventually converted. The influence of the Hebridean Norse on the conversion of Iceland is also discussed.