They congregated up in the hills, far away from judging eyes. This would be the last time that any of these people would see these Northern barbarians. Fight or die Cobanorum had said and they would follow this exhortation to the end. Far below they could see the torches zigzagging up the heather-clad slope. The Norsemen had beached their boats at sunset and after making their usual offerings to their ineffective Gods had decided the auspices were right for an assault on the lonely village.
Toothless old men, young boys, women with babies at the breast, young girl, all were assembled at the call to repel this parasitic invader. Those who would take their women and children, mock their Christ, their priests, and without compassion, maim, disfigure and take the life of their brave fighting men.
Their weapons were the tools of the field but they had one advantage, they were fighting for their lives, their homes, all that was held dear. Death had no meaning, for life would never be the same if they were defeated. In their favour was the gift nature had bestowed upon them, the sheer sea cliff, the stone, turf-clad walls, built to protect them from this predicted onslaught. All they had to rely on was the knowledge and belief that their courage would be as strong as the mighty earthen banks built over time with the strength of theirs and their ancestor’s own arms.
The result of their struggle is well known and I am happy to tell you of their victory. Thus was the legend born we know as the battle of Arx Cynuit, the last attempt by the accursed Danes to subdue this island race.
British Summer Time, the evenings are lighter and the weather is colder. How apt. I love the lighter evenings as after work it’s possible to get out into the countryside, weather permitting, and do all the things you have been sitting in the lounge vowing you would do as soon as it was light enough after the day’s work is done. Today was such, my first foray out to try and capture a church spire in the evening gold. Sadly the church itself was closed but that is just a sad reflection of the times in which we live. Still, if you are looking for a little quiet contemplation and a moment away from traffic, hustle and bustle, a churchyard serves it’s purpose well. The church in question is in a little village called Wilby on the outskirts of Wellingborough and I was attracted to it’s spire with it’s magnificent ornate buttresses way up in the sky. Sources tell me that this church dedicated to St. Mary dates from the thirteenth century but was extensively rebuilt in 1879. The unique spire was built during the Decorated period and shows many features pleasing to the enthusiast.
One noticeable thing about this evening was the sighting of a bright, white grave marker close to the path leading to the porch. It is an official war-grave, probably the only one I have ever seen in all my years. It commemorates the death of a RAF pilot who died at the age of 22. Curiously it was dated on my birthday, but in 1944. So much has been said about their sacrifice but seeing a single marker like this lends a stark reality to the horror of war.