Sunday, January 15, 2017

The Battle of Maldon

Or
'In search of the Battle of Maldon'.
I've written other posts about the poem. I've wanted to see the place for decades.

 Maldon itself, suitably atmospheric at low tide. The battle field is badly signposted, and I didn't trust the map to drive there, but on foot, one simply follows the Blackwater downstream from the town, pausing at the relatively new statue of Byrthnoth.
Given how memorable his speech to the messenger is, it seems odd that the words that adorn the plinth are a fragment of a prayer.


Along the sea wall to Northey Island, which is now a nature reserve.

 At high tide the causeway is under water. It's not difficult to imagine a Viking host lined along the island, waiting for the tide to run out. Not sure I can imagine the Viking Herald calling a coherent message across that distance. Things may have changed in a thousand years, or he may have been rowed into earshot.

Looking inland from the River bank, where the English host must have stood, and died. It's a bleak spot. Even if it had no history it would be difficult to avoid the word 'dreary'. There is little marking the battle field, except a strange paragraph in the information for the bird reserve which mentions the battle and calls it the earliest recorded battle in Britain. Or England, I was too surprised by it to take a photo or remember the exact wording. There is supposed to be a commemorative plaque but I didn't find it.




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