This study investigates one of the most important changes that the English language underwent in the earlier course of its development – the emergence of a rigid SVO word order. Both internal and external factors have been identified in the literature as influential in the change. Among the latter, contacts with the early Scandinavian population have often been mentioned as providing an important early input. These contacts have also been regarded as one of the factors contributing to the erosion of case inflections, a change implicated in the gradual stabilisation of the SVO order. The main objective of the present study is to assess the role of these external pressures in the establishment of the new syntactic conditions in early English. In a more general perspective, this study evaluates the significance of language contacts in promoting changes in morphosyntax. This research also examines the relevance of an influential theoretical model used in the literature to explain the changes at issue, viz. Johannes Schmidt's wave theory.