Lincolnshire and the Danes
LINCOLNSHIRE LIFE • October (2008)
English historians of Victorian times were often very interested in the emergence of Englishness in the period before the Norman Conquest, which many regarded as an unwelcome interruption in the history of their country. Except for certain western areas, the Anglo-Saxons (Angles, Jutes and Saxons all of German origin) peopled the whole of England and Lowland Scotland. But Eastern England, and especially Lincolnshire, had been subjected to strong Danish influences, as a local amateur historian, Rev G S Streatfield, the vicar of Holy Trinity Louth, showed in his 1883 study of Lincolnshire and the Danes. From the late eighth century onwards, Anglo-Saxon England suffered terrifying Danish attacks. The early invaders were “capable of every crime but cowardice”.Stories abounded of their fierceness and cruelty and all along England’s coast panic was caused when the cry went up “the Danes are here!”. Their ships, with hideous figureheads on their prows frightening their victims, would suddenly land on the coast or up some river and, after an orgy of pillage and slaughter, would disappear before effective resistance could be mounted.