Hemsby - In the beginning
In the closing years of the eighth century, the Viking raids began. The Danes came over in their 'Orm Skibs' or 'Serpents'. They probably came in on the morning sea mists, their shallow-draft 'Serpents' creeping silently up on sandy beaches or through the reeds of the river mouths. The raiding party would rapidly assemble and then methodically work its way inland.
Their early targets were the churches and monasteries, looking for silver, gold and slaves. When this source of wealth dried up they turned their attention to the more mundane victims of farm and village for food and horses. As the years went by, the Vikings came more and more often, arriving in force in East Anglia in 866. Sometimes, they would stay over-winter and so, over time, the raiders camps turned into settlements. On November 20th 870, they killed the East Anglian king, Edmund. However, it was not until after the Treaty of Wedmore in 878, agreed between Alfred the Great of Wessex and Gunthrum of Denmark, that Viking settlement of East Anglia began in earnest.
The name Hemsby is of Viking origin, (the suffix '-by' in Danish means "farm" or "home" or "village"), so presumably Hem's farm or home.
There is much evidance of the Danes occupation of the area with many towns and villages bearing names that have Danish origins, Horning, Dereham (Darum), Kelling (Kjelling), Alby, Aldeby, Billockby, Clippesby, Colby, Filby, Mautby, Ormesby, Rollesby, Thrigby, Scratby, Stokesby and of course Hemsby.