Horningsea 800: The Viking Invasion and Tales of the River

February 23, 2014
2:00 pmto4:00 pm

Horningsea 800 celebrations at St Peter’s Church:
The River – and the Viking Invasion – was Horning a Viking leader?

One warm dark summer night in that year of 870 disastrous for so many religious establishments throughout Anglo-Saxon Britain. The first noticeable sound would have been the splash of many oars approaching the dock – then the Longboats drew in towards the landing stage – landing planks pushed out from the decks, to enable the crews of perhaps 50 – 70 warriors to creep ashore, battle axes, swords and short throwing lances were handed out from the arm’s chest. At a sign of command from their chieftain they advanced in silence up the slope towards the monastic buildings and the church – lighted torches were then handed out, and then the leader, yelling blood-chilling Norse battle  cries burst into the dim cool Church. Shouts and blows and clashing of axes and swords rang out as the looters hacked open chests, tore down altar hangings and richly gilded lamps – herding all their booty onto the rush-strewn floor ready to bear off to their Longboats

This and more of Molly Marshall’s tale of the Viking invasion of Horningsea will be told! A Viking longboat is under construction – will there be a torchlit procession with Viking warriors?

John Wilson’s fascinating research into the history of the lightermen boats and barges, the locks and Denver sluice, the photographs of a young John (in the 1960s) excavating and restoring an old barge., 18th Century Indentures and Bills of Lading … photographs of the Cam in flood over the years – including in 2014, tales of life on board a barge … all this and more will be taking place so come and join in!

Read the contemporaneous account of the invasion. Listen to stories about the river and its importance to our village – the ferries, the lock, the bridge at Clayhithe, river traffic to Stourbridge fair, loading crops to travel down stream, the triumphs and tragedies of life on the River over the centuries ….

It may be possible to arrange for part of the afternoon to be spent on the river on one of the boats  – dependant on numbers and weather… look out for more details on posters in the village.

This project is supported by The Heritage Lottery Fund for the East of England, who  said “Sharing Heritage is a wonderful opportunity for communities to delve into their local heritage and we are delighted to be able to offer this grant so that the Horningsea 800 project can embark on a real journey of discovery. Heritage means such different things to different people and HLF’s funding offers a wealth of opportunities for groups to explore and celebrate what is important to them in their area.”

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