The village’s name and age

The parish of Valbo was originally divided into two parts which were treated differently from a taxation point of view. This division is believed to have originated in Viking times. There were no topographical reasons for this so it must have been purely administrative due to Gästriklands older division into a coastal part, Roden and an inland part, Upland. The boundary passed by Valbo church. The reason why the outer or the coastal part of Valbo had a lower taxation level was probably due to the villages there having some responsibilities to the crown in terms of coastal defence, so-called “ledungsväsendet”. Hemlingby is certainly such an old  “ledungs” village. There are burial grounds just to the east at Järvsta which come from the Viking times that bear witness to connections with east Europe. By 1560 Hemlingby had become the second largest village in the Valbo area after Sörby. The villages growth is probably explained by the important role spent as a harbour and trading place during Viking times. The name Hemlingby is of a relatively modern type. The second part of the name “by” is very common in Sweden and means “village”. See also town names on the north east coast of England, Grimsby, Whitby and so on. The first part, from the pre- Scandinavian “haemlinga” indicates who lives in the village. i.e. “the haemling’s village”. Hemling is related to the terrain and means “stoney ground”. The hill is still known as such “Stenbacke”.

The original old village consists of buildings grouped along both sides of two narrow roads. These still remain as part of “Hemllingbyvägen” and Lövens Tä”. In 1765 there were eight larger farms and a few cottages here. Most of the land up to this date was owned by Rettigs and Tolvfors, two influencial families in Gävle in those days.

Today, many of the old homes still exist, although mostly renovated in one way or another. The oldest house still showing it’s original condition is probably from 1669 and is an old school building moved to Hemlingby in 1838 from the centre of Gävle close to Holy Trinity Church (Heliga Trefaldighet’s kyrka)

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