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Home > teachers > Vikings  > Viking Mystery - Where Is Havelok's Stone?

Viking Mystery - Where Is Havelok's Stone?

September 03 2004

A very special stone from an ancient legend hit the news in Lincoln this week. Members of a society called the Grim and Havelok Association are looking for the giant rock and believe it is somewhere in Lincoln.

Shows a round seal, made in red wax. There is lettering round the edge and in the centre are several people, including a giant with a sword and shield.

Photo: the Seal of Grimsby shows Grim, the founder of Grimsby, looking very dashing. Who do you think the other people might be?

Photography by 'Stone' (Royston E. Naylor)

The legend is about a Danish prince called Havelok, who was believed to have lived in Viking times, in around the 6th century.

Because the legend (or myth) is so old, there are several different versions of it. However, the basic facts of the story remain the same. Kevin Gracie from the Grim and Havelok Association told Show Me how the story goes...

Photo: the 'Havelok Stone' at the Welholme Galleries - is this the stone he threw to win the competition?

Photography by 'Stone' (Royston E. Naylor)

Shows an old red brick church, with a steeple. In front of the church, on the grass, is a large stone, roughly oval in shape.

Havelok was a prince, born in Denmark. When he was very young he was threatened with murder and was rescued by a fisherman called Grim. Grim and Havelok sailed to England and settled on the coast.

Havelok grew up tall and strong - a gentle giant. He became a fisherman and worked alongside Grim. Grim didn't tell Havelok that he was a prince, in order to keep him safe from any enemies.

Shows a view looking up at Lincoln Castle. The Union flag is flying from a turret on the far left.

Photo: was the stone ever kept in the castle at Lincoln?

Courtesy of Lincoln City Council.

After some hard times in the fishing business, Havelok went to work in the kitchens of a royal palace in Lincoln. He worked for Earl Godrich who was guardian to a princess called Goldburga (sometimes spelt Goldborough too).

Godrich was an evil, greedy man. He had promised Goldburga's father, as he lay dying, that he would look after his kingdom and his daughter, and find her 'the strongest, goodliest person in the land' to marry.

Photo: this boulder is known as 'Grim's Stone' - maybe THIS was the one Havelok threw?

Photography by 'Stone' (Royston E. Naylor)

Shows a mossy boulder, sitting in a field.

Godrich held a stone-throwing competition to find Goldburga a husband. He had no intention of finding her a decent husband really, but wanted to shame her. His plan was foiled though - Havelok, the gentle giant, won the competition.

Havelok went on to discover he was really a prince, and became King of England and Denmark.

This is where the mystery comes in - where did that heavy stone land and where is it today?

The stone is mentioned in articles by a Victorian writer called Herbert Green. He said that visitors in Victorian times could visit the stone in Lincoln. Now though, there's no sign of it.

There is a stone in Grimsby, at the Welholme galleries called the Havelok stone, but Mr Gracie believes there must be another, somewhere in Lincoln.

What do you think? Do you believe the legend? Can you find out any more about it? (The 'Grim and Havelock Legend' website is a good place to start!) Perhaps you've seen a giant stone somewhere in Lincoln that you think might be the Havelok stone. Use our Get In Touch page to let us know what you think. If you think you know where the stone is, let us know and we'll tell Mr Gracie!

Anra Kennedy