Friday, October 30, 2009
Sunday, October 25, 2009
yn annwfyn ygorwyth in Annwfyn the wrath,
yn annwfyn is eluyd in Annwfyn below the earth...
Halloween approaches and maybe the Wild Hunt will take to the skies. It is supposed to come from the kingdom of Annwn in the Welsh version, neither heaven or hell it is like middle-earth, here it is the god Lugh who rides across the sky with his hounds, white with red tipped ears. Maybe the hunt starts from Glastonbury Tor, who knows. They ride through the sky and those that dare look at them are not long on this earth.
Its story has its roots in Germanic or Gaulish stories, one tribe the Harii painting themselves black to attack their neighbours, another tribe the Heruli, nomadic wolf-warriors were dedicated to Wodan.
A black dog is also part of the tale, and if you found it on your hearth, than you could exorcise (not exercise it which is a very different thing!) it, similar to the custom for removing changelings, but if that did'nt work you had to look after the dog for a whole year very carefully!
And according to Wikipedia "The object of this phantom hunt varied greatly, and was either [that of] a visionary boar or wild horse, white-breasted maidens who were caught and borne away bound only once in seven years, or the wood nymphs, called Moss Maidens, who were thought to represent the autumn leaves torn from the trees and whirled away by the wintry gale." Whatever the case, the Hunt was most often seen in the autumn and winter, when the winds blew the fiercest."
Moss maidens of course could live in Wistman's Wood, one of those haunting places with gnarled miniature oaks softly covered in moss.
Mossy Wistman Wood
The Hosting of the Sidhe
And over the grave of Clooth-na-Bare;
Caoilte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling Away, come away:
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,
Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,
Our breasts are heaving our eyes are agleam,
Our arms are waving our lips are apart;
And if any gaze on our rushing band,
We come between him and the deed of his hand,
We come between him and the hope of his heart.
The host is rushing 'twixt night and day,
And where is there hope or deed as fair?
Caoilte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling Away, come away.
The 199 steps
All in all halloween or All Saints Night is a time for telling stories of the risen dead, as they coming knocking on your door with their skeletal fingers - its best not to let them in.
I shall not tell them to my grandchildren the two girls have already frightened themselves to death with a ghost story Matilda brought home a few days ago, of a ghost looking through the window, and even little Lillie who doe'snt actually know what a ghost is was scared stiff!
photos from the creative commons, and quite a lot of the information from Wikipedia
Children's book reading;
Hugh Scott - the Shaman Stone; Martha's father dies while investigating the Rollright Stones. She believes that he is reaching out to her, and in this haunted atmosphere the story of the Shaman's stone is unfolded.
Hugh Scott - Why Weeps The Brogan
Hugh Scott - The Haunted Sand
Yaxley's Cat - Robert Westall.....
Saturday, October 24, 2009
By the pub garden
And just as I was writing this, a radio programme on Masquerade by Kit Williams - the hunting of the golden hare - has been on, a book I still have, apparently after the finding of the hare (by devious means and old girlfriends!) it disappeared for years but Kit Williams now seems to have it in his possesion.
What is it about the approach of dark nights (the clocks goes back tonight) and halloween next week we all go back to childish things!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
John Wood had a weird and wonderful theory about Stanton Drew and Druids, that belongs elsewhere, but in writing his book he gave valuable information as to the the existence of the two Tyning stones, and another folklore story about Hakill the Giant who in good giant tradition threw The Coit from Maes Knoll, a hill situated west from Stanton Drew, which also encompasses Maes Knoll Hillfort and the great Wansdyke barrier which either divided two kingdoms in the late British Iron Age or was some form of defense. The work of giants perhaps recognised by our 18th century inhabitants but not rationalised as they are today!
Stanton Drew in the County of Somerset
The Wedding Stones
Friday, October 16, 2009
It curves in a sinuous fashion, a dark brown ribbon threading its way through watercress and tumbled branches, sometimes lost in vegetation, but bubble rising to the surface will indicate its flow. This is not a chalk stream, that flows crystal clear, yet stare into its shallow pools long enough and you will see clear water that the fish enjoy.
The old fallen willow sprawled across the banks, has flood debris caught up in its branches, showing that the brook must rise about five feet when in full flood. This part of Essex has a beautiful landscape of richly furrowed fields set amid rolling woodlands, a farmed landscape that is at home with its underlying fragments of wilderness that escape to the far corners of fields; trees die gracefully in old age, the silver leafed willow is predominate around the rivers and brooks, its fissured trunk often covered in lichen to reflect the clean air. The heavy weeds of nettle, cow parsley and field weeds are very much in evidence.
disappearing into the distance
looking up into the willow on a perfect warm October day
the fallen willow
Thursday, October 15, 2009
It's difficult to start when myth and story are mixed up, that he seemed to have studied to become a monk at the monastery of Cassian, near Marseille, and that he is also of Breton origin is part of the story, his father being Bicanus a noble man and his mother the daughter of (Anblaud, Amlawdd Wledig) king of Britain.
That he was a warrior is down to the story that he served the king of Glamorgan, Pawl, and the following dramatic event happened. He lost 50 men, here the story diverges into the fact that they were either monks or soldiers, who were 'swallowed up into the earth'. Breverton goes with the story that they were soldiers, and it is well to remember that these 'celtic' monks were living in a time of turbulence and warfare, and were often of high class, as indeed Illtud was. Breverton speculates that the tragedy took place at Llancarfan, where 7 streams flow and the ford is often flooded there.
Anyway our knight turned monk was admonished by an angel to turn his wife away, Trinihid, and never communicate with her again. So our Illtud took himself off from the court of Pawl and became a monk on the banks of the river Hodnant, and of course eventually built the great monastery of Llanilltud.
He has had many churches dedicated to him, also in Brittany, here he was the patron saint of poultry. In some sources it is stated that he taught David, as well as Samson, Maelgwyn, and others and that he is buried at Bedd Gwyl Illytd in Brecon,
His legends are a touch unbelievable but are'nt they all he was often given to going on retreats to a cave. Basically because he got into trouble with the local king at Llanilltud Fawr - Merchwyn Wylt of Gorfnedd; firstly he seems to have melted the king's steward before a fire and Illtud was forced to flee to a cave. He returned to the monastery after a year but again found himself in trouble with another royal steward, who unfortunately got himself 'swallowed' by the marsh. The king furious and wanting revenge arrived at Llanilltud with his men but suffered the same fate as the royal steward, there was no end to Illtud's ability to kill those he found obstreperous, or maybe it was the divine hand of the angels or god according to the Life of St.Illtud here , which gives a long account of his various 'miraculous exploits.
Maen Illtud at Llanhamlach is known as Ty Illtyd - a dolmen thought to be Illutd's hermitage, and a standing stone at Llanhamlach stands opposite Peterstone Court..ref: Breverton
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Pictures of all the Staffordshire Hoard have been put on Flickr under the Creative Commons, attributed to Staffordshire Hoard website.
....Hildeguth heartening him,
This Anglo-Saxon text taken from the fragmented prose of Waldere, is copied from Michael Alexander' s The Earliest English Poems and its' concluding lines reminds us of what battles were fought for in a history founded on myth, glory and heroics. Wayland is the blacksmith of legend forging the great swords like Mimming..........
So says the blurb on Wikipedia, but with the event of the marvellous Staffordshire gold Hoard that has recently been discovered and it being hailed as a greater find than Sutton Hoo, it is also well to remember the Prittlewell Saxon burial of a rich individual, who may also have been one of the Saxon kings.
The unusual factor about our 'christianised' king was that he had a pagan burial, probably arranged by his sons. A reconstruction appeared in the British Archaeology magazine at the time, and as I was in to miniature making I reconstructed the wooden burial chamber over a few days out of curiosity.
I used balsa wood for the planking, it is easy to 'distress' with a fine file, and the rest came from bits and pieces. The little bags hanging up are from fine leather from inside a purse, similar to the seating of the little 'folding 'roman' chair. Pegging material is from a specialist wood person, and the stave barrel is made from cardboard strips bound with some material. The bowls are silver chased Persian salt cellars given to me by my mother-in-law. The gold crosses I made from tin were I think found on his breast, but there was sword, etc, food pots and jars for liquid to feed him in the 'otherworld'.
But what struck me this morning was the similarity between the stave church at Greensted and the planked interior of the tomb.
What we have of course in the Staffordshire Hoard found in Mercian country, is another exciting episode which may give us a different history from those found in in our text books, the appeal to the christian god, 'Rise up O lord, and may thy enemies be scattered, and those who hate thee be driven from thy face' on the gold strip bent and worn; the fact that most of the gold pieces seem to belong to bits of the sword, with the tantalising fact that it is sword fittings that were handed over as if in defeat, very similar to a line in Beowulf....... when 'the gold hilt was handed over to the old lord, a relic from long ago'. Could this Mercian hoard of the 7th or 8th century change our perception of history, rethinking chronology of metalwork and manuscripts.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Jumping Barge Horses on the River Stour
Brian Osman in his article, Barge horses on the River Stour, draws our attention to Constable's painting; The Leaping Horse (1825) is a vivid illustration of how the horses performed a standing leap. The horse is gathering himself up ready to tilt over the fence. This position is the same as that used by the Spanish Riding School in Vienna , where, depending on the angle the horse's body makes with the ground, it is called Levade( 30 degrees) or Pesade (40 degrees). John Constable's picture is carefully observed. The horse is posed ready to tilt forward. The swingle tree lies on the ground attached to the traces, which are slack. A figure half hidden by the tree appears to be taking up the slack in the towrope that is attached to the boat. He may also be lifting it over the fence rails beside the river. The tow rope is not disconnected: presumably frequent disconnections would be too time consuming. The tilt forward would have to be carefully controlled so that the swingle tree did not fly forward and clobber the horse or its rider. It is possible the figure on the ground would have been ready to check the rope to prevent this. ................
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Two foals, the other mare is down by the river
tender scratching moments
The other two
Sleeping in the shade of the willow tree
Mother and foal show similar markings
Nostalgia.... Gilbert O'Sullivan's name came up on the radio, gosh says I to my love I used to fancy him, though looking at that bouffant hair style not quite sure why. Only to be told that he had actually gone to art school with him and sold him a fireman's jacket for 10 bob (don't ask).
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
As a break from my saints and churches, which even bores me sometimes, some photographs of horses by the river Chelmer. I love horses, and often think of owning a couple and then taking to the paths of England, but they are incredibly expensive creatures and though beautiful can be unpredictable.
They are not laughing in the photos but have just woken up from their afternoon siesta and are yawning, surrounded by electric fencing these rather elegant creatures amuse us when we go on a walk, the grey and the brown are geldings and do a lot of 'I'm boss here stuff' which entails snorting, stamping of feet and mock charges.
Stopping for a drink in a Wiltshire pub
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Flint filling to old archway
Stone 1 inside the church
Stone 2 inside the church
Looking down to Stour River
Stone under hedge
Stone by buttress