GRIMSBY IN THE MIDDLE AGES Grimsby was founded by the
GRIMSBY IN THE MIDDLE AGES
Grimsby was founded by the Danes in the 9th century AD.
The old Danish word for village was 'by' and this one was
probably Grim's by or Grimmr's by or village. By the time
of the Domesday Book (1086) Grimsby had a population of
over 200. By the standards of the time it was quite a large
The village of Grimsby grew into a port because it stands
on a river called the Haven, which flowed into the Humber.
As its name suggests it was a haven for shipping when storms approached. So it was a
natural place to build a port. Furthermore there were rich fishing grounds in the North Sea
and The Humber was full of fish. Grimsby was bound to become a fishing port.
During the 12th century Grimsby developed into a busy little port. Ships brought timber
from Norway and wine (the drink of the upper class) from France and Spain. Coal was
brought by sea along the coast from Newcastle. In the Middle Ages wool was exported
In 1132 an Augustinian Abbey was founded at Grimsby. In
1184 a nunnery, dedicated to St Leonard was founded. By
the 13th century there was also a leper hostel at Grimsby,
run by the church.
Also in the 13th century friars arrived in Grimsby. The friars
were like monks but instead of withdrawing from the world
they went out to preach. Franciscan friars (called grey friars
because of their grey costumes) arrived in Grimsby in 1240.
Austin or white friars arrived in 1293.
In 1201 Grimsby was given a charter by King John (a charter was a
document granting the townspeople certain rights). From then on
Grimsby had its own court and its own local government. By 1218
Grimsby had a mayor. Medieval Grimsby was a fair sized town with
perhaps 1,500-2,000 inhabitants. It would seem tiny to us but
towns were very small in those days.
Medieval Grimsby did not have town walls. It was too small and
was protected by the marshy land around it. However the town did
have a ditch. (The street name 'gate' does not mean a gate in a
wall. It is a corruption of the Danish word 'gata' meaning street.
Deansgate was Danes gata or street).
However in the 15th century The Haven began to silt up. As a result
Grimsby entered a long period of decline
The Victorian Age in Grimsby
Picture of docks and dock tower
There are still many signs of the Victorian Age in Grimsby. One of the most famous is
Grimsby's Dock Tower which is a copy of a tower in an Italian town named Siena.
Victorian Architecture in Grimsby & Cleethorpes
Picture of Cleethorpes Road
Many of the building in the pictures are still standing today, the Imperial Hotel has been
demolished, it was opposite Ramsdens Superstore.
Picture of Dock Offices
"The new dock connecting the Royal Dock with
the Old Dock was opened by their Royal Highnesses the Prince
and Princess of Wales on the 22nd July 1879".
Picture of Dock Police
It was completed on 27 March 1852 with the purpose of containing a 30,000 UK gallon
(136 m³) hydraulic wrought iron reservoir at a height of 200 feet (61 m), to provide
hydraulic power (rather than a supply of water) to the lock gates and cranes of
Holme Hill School & Clock Tower
Grimsby Rd & The Imperial Hotel
Old Market Place
People’s Park, entrance