COMPELLING new evidence that one of the most defining and bloodiest battles in the history of the British Isles took place in Wirral will be put under the microscope on BBC Radio 4 on New Year's Eve.

The Battle of Brunanburh AD 937 pitched a united Anglo-Saxon army against a legion of Vikings in a clash whose location has long been a topic of heated debate among academics that still persists.

Often referred to as "the birthplace of Englishness" the battle was the first to unite Saxon tribes.

Under the banner of King Athelstan his army put the Vikings to the sword and legend says they were forced to retreat in disarray across Wirral before boarding boats that took them to the safety of the Emerald Isle.

Academics claim the battle took place in medieval Bromborough and on New Year's Day Wirral Viking expert Steve Harding and BBC historian Michael Wood will visit the town to lock horns over its precise location.

The radio transmission is called Making History – Yorkshire or Wirral?

Over the years sires in Scotland, Yorkshire, Northamptonshire and Lancashire have all been linked with the battle.

Professor Harding, along with Paul Cavill, who runs the English Place-Name Society and Judith Jesch, a Viking studies lecturer, have carried out in-depth research into the conflict and events leading up to it.

Their conclusions are based on analysis of two place names – Brunanburh (Bruna's Fort) and Dingesmere – that are mentioned in a poem in the historic Anglo Saxon Chronicle.

More follows.

Dingesmere proved to be a puzzle until Professor Harding suggested it might be related to the Old Norse word for a place of assembly.

Such a parliament , known as Thingwall, used to be held in Wirral and the Thing field is thought to be at Cross Hill off the A551.

The word would have been pronounced 'Ding' by local Viking folk who had picked up a Celtic accent.

The researchers then realised that Dinges-mere derived from the Old Norse for ‘marshland of the Thing’ – a place-name warning travellers of the dangerous marshland of the Dee.

Professor Harding claimed that he and his fellow researchers had solved one of the important loose ends in the story of the Battle of Brunanburh.

He said: "I remember pausing to stare at a slide at a talk I gave on Brunanburh at Thurstaston Visitor Centre.

"It was a 1732 slide of Wirral showing 'Tingwall' and 'Brunburgh' close by.

"I said to myself 'hang on, this has been staring us in the face for all these years and everyone has missed it.'

"I rang Paul Cavill with my suggestion saying surely it was too obvious to be true.

"He said 'well actually Steve you may be right.'"