According to legend, and the 13th Century text ‘The Lay Of Havelok the Dane’, still nestling in the archive of Grimsby library, all Grimbarians would still be the merest twinkle in the eyes of the Viking Gods without a resourceful immigrant fisherman called Grim. Nice one fella. We owe it all to you!
The story starts with a virtuous Danish king, Birkabein, who dies, leaving behind two daughters, Swanborow and Helfled, and a son, Havelok. Godard, a wealthy retainer, is appointed regent. Godard betrays his trust: he brutally murders the daughters by cutting their throats and hands the three-year-old Havelok over to a thrall (Viking term for a serf), the fisherman Grim, to be drowned in the sea. Grim recognizes Havelok as the rightful heir to the kingdom when he sees a pair of miraculous signs: a bright light that emerges from the boy’s mouth when he is sleeping, and the “kynemerk,” a cross-shaped birthmark on his shoulder. Grim does the right thing and spares Havelok’s life, but tells Godard that he has killed the child. Grim flees with Havelok and his family to England, where he founds the town of Grimsby at the estuary of the Humber. Havelok is brought up as part of Grim’s family and works, appropriately enough, as a fisherman alongside Grim and his real sons until Havelok discovers his true identity. The story of how Havelok regains his rightful heritage is a rags to riches tale worthy of any Hollywood script. Any Grimbarian who puts salt on their chips, which is to say all of us, should be legally compelled to read this story at least once. Now, let’s get this movie made, does anybody know any scriptwriters? We could cast Sacha Baron Cohen as the evil Godard!