885 AD - Bloody Point

 




By about 800 AD, the Vikings or Danes started to make an appearance in this area. Under the Peace of Wedmore in 878, all land north of the old Roman Watling Street, which ran from London to Chester, was given to the Viking leader, Gunthrum. Harwich therefore became part of Danelaw. The peace was short-lived however, and following an unsuccessful Viking attack on Kent, Alfred King of Wessex attacked the enemy in East Anglia.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for the year 885 reads as follows:

'The same year sent King Alfred a fleet from Kent into East Anglia. As soon as they came to Stourmouth, there met them sixteen ships of the pirates, and they fought with them, took all the ships and slew the men. As they returned homeward with their booty, they met a large fleet of pirates and fought with them the same day, but the Danes had the victory'.

It is possible that Bloody Point at Shotley took its name from this incident, however at that time the river entered the sea north of Felixstowe and so the area would not have been seen as the mouth of the Stour.

It could also have derived this name late in the next century when the Vikings returned to the estuary in force, twice plundering Ipswich.

 A viking long ship. 16 Kb Gif. Copyright Eric Bramhill, XL Web Design