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1. Source: http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk

HER Number: 64065

Type of record: Legend

An alleged battle near Threekingham in 870 between Danes and Saxons.

Full description
PRN 64065

In September (of 870), the Saxons of Holland, Lindsey and Kesteven defeated a Danish army driving them back to their camp. The Danes buried three of their slain kings at the place, which, from that circumstance, obtained the name of Threckingham. The next day the Danes marched from their camp and again met the Saxons in battle and defeated them. {1}

The suggested derivation for the place-name Threekingham is not accepted by place-name specialists.{2}{3}

The story of the battle, originally told by Ingulph (who is said to be "unreliable"), is given in detail by W.A. Cragg who notes that "doubts have been expressed that there ever was a battle of Threekingham". The story includes references and "explanations" for various local landmarks and traditions. The battle is said to have taken place in the fields between Threekingham and Stow, and these fields were known locally as the Danesfield. The moat earthworks at Hall Close (PRN 60049) were said to be the remains of the Danish force's camp whilst the men of Kesteven were said to have mustered on Stow Green Hill to receive Holy Sacrement before the second day of fighting and this is given as the reason why a chapel (PRN 60047) was later built there. The fair at Stow Green (PRN 64872) was also supposed to have been held in commemoration of the Kesteven force's last stand there. The story says that three Danish kings were killed in the first day's fighting, and the various mounds around the village including the Beacon mound (actually a formal garden feature, see PRN 60054, see also PRN 64867 for the other "tumuli") were said to be their burial places. There have also been reports of large numbers of skeletons found around the village (PRN 60041) and it has been suggested that these are the dead from the battle, although it is noted that other relics of the battle e.g. armour or weapons have never been found. {4}

Although the Danesfield place name is not shown, there is a Danes Hill shown to the west of the village on the 1824 O.S. map. {7}


<2> Cameron, K., 1998, A Dictionary of Lincolnshire Place-Names (Bibliographic reference)

<3> Ekwall, E., 1974, Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names (Bibliographic reference)

<4> CRAGG, W.A., 1913, A History of Threekingham with Stow in Lincolnshire (Bibliographic reference)

<5> Threekingham SMR cards (Index)

<6> Trollope, E., 1872, Sleaford and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Aswardhurn in the County of Lincoln (Bibliographic reference)

<7> Ordnance Survey, 1824, OS FIRST EDITION 1 INCH SERIES (Map)

Monument Types

LEGEND (Unknown date)

BATTLEFIELD (September 870, Early Medieval/Dark Age - 870 AD to 870 AD (at some time))

Sources and further reading

<1> Bibliographic reference: WHITE, W.. 1856. HISTORY, GAZETTEER AND DIRECTORY OF LINCOLNSHIRE. p.22.

<2> Bibliographic reference: Cameron, K.. 1998. A Dictionary of Lincolnshire Place-Names. p.127.

<3> Bibliographic reference: Ekwall, E.. 1974. Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names. p.470.

<4> Bibliographic reference: CRAGG, W.A.. 1913. A History of Threekingham with Stow in Lincolnshire. pp 3-7.

<5> Index: Threekingham SMR cards. THREEKINGHAM. TF 03 NE; O.

<6> Bibliographic reference: Trollope, E.. 1872. Sleaford and the Wapentakes of Flaxwell and Aswardhurn in the County of Lincoln. pp 524-5.

<7> Map: Ordnance Survey. 1824. OS FIRST EDITION 1 INCH SERIES. Sheet 36.

In St Peter’s church Threekingham are 3 large 14th century effigies, erroneously said to be three Danish kings killed at the battle of
Stow Green in 870. It appears to be one of a few reasons how the village got its name.

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In 869, according to Ingulph, the army of the Pagans (i.e., of the Danes), under Hubba and Hingvar, having 1 Mentioned by Edward Fitzgerald. "Omar Khayydm " note to Stanza XIX. made some stay at York, at the close of the winter passed over by ship into Lindesey, and landingat Humberstan (possibly Hjibbasizxi, as suggested by Mr. Streatfield), ravaged the whole country (it has been supposed that Stow church was burnt by them at this date). At this time the most famous and ancient monastery of Bard ney was destroyed by them, and all the monks were massacred in the church without mercy. Having employed themselves throughout the whole of this summer in reducing the land to ashes and ravaging it with fire and sword, about the feast of St. Michael they entered Kesteven. At length, in the year from the Incarnation of our Lord 870, and in the month of September, Earl Algar and two knights, Wibert and Leofric, collected together the youths of Hoyland (Holland), with 200 men from Crowland, under Toley, a monk thereof; 300 men from Deeping, Langtoft, and Boston; and Morcar, Lord of Bourn, with his retainers; and the Sheriff of Lincoln, Osgot, with five hundred Lincoln men. "All these meeting together in Kesteven, joined battle (at Stow Green, near Threekingham) with the Pagans on the feast of Saint Mauricius the Martyr (September 21st), and the Lord granting them the victory, the Christians slew three kings, together with a vast multitude, and pursued them as far as the gate of their camp." On the following day, however, the Danes havingreceived great reinforcements, and some of the English having deserted, after a long fight, in which the latter, kept together in a solid phalanx, were at length tempted to break their ranks by a feigned flight of the enemy, and were overwhelmed with a great slaughter. Ingulph states that the Danes buried their three kings at a place formerly called Loundon, and afterwards, in consequence of that burial, Threekingham, a curious instance of popular etymology, as the name signifies, the ham of the Threkings. However doubtful may be the authority of Ingulph (and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle gives no mention of this fight)

Nearby an alleged battle between Saxons and Danes took place in 870