How the blog works

The poems on this blog are mostly written on the basis of my historical reading and are intended to be both educational and entertaining.
Recently I have also begun posting some of my work with Anglo-Saxon charms. This work is somewhat speculative and is conducted as an amateur researcher and keen Pagan historian.

Please feel free to use anything on this site as a resource if you think that it may be relevant to your needs.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Here be Goblins

Introduction to 'Here be Goblins'
Goblins or demons in Old English these were known as scucca. I have found that these are usually associated with hills and mounds, many place names are based on them, some of which have found their way into this poem.

The Old English word scucca has lent itself to a number of fantastic beasts across our landscape the most famous of which is possibly Black Shuck, an East Anglian demon dog. In Lincolnshire tales tell of Shagfoal, a large black donkey.
There are many more…. So perhaps more food for thought and poetry.

However the subject matter appears to have its hazards. While researching places named after scucca I had quite a rough time with various areas of work, its as if a demon were on my back. For example, moments after I opened my research notes document, a plant in my study 2 ½ meters away decided to collapse. This was merely amusing other things however were not been much fun and are too Text Box: numerous to list. So read this poem if you dare.

PS the gap at the beginning of the last line above just appeared! and despite several attempts to re-post it will not go away or be deleted!

Here be Goblins

Goblins or demons, Scucca art thy name,
Found on hill and mound, thee be styled the same.
Villages they languish, most folk stay away,
Hamlets didst not wax, by night or by day.

Watch out for old Scucca, his spirit lives on,
In ancient landscape, he wilt not be gone.
Shuck shady shadows, Grendel marsh Black Shuck,
Sinister places, his evil to cook.

Goblin-hill hamlet, Shuckburgh Warwickshire,
Hill goblin family, held nine hundred year.
Lower Shuckburghs, six sided steeple,
Upper Shuckburgh, has church but no people.

Shobrooke in Devon, long been goblin-brook,
Denoted and known, before Doomsday Book.
Village on high hill, but church stays outside,
When they built the church, did goblin misguide.

Shocklach in Cheshire, goblin haunted bog,
Dragon lord Drogo, with his hunting dog.
It's church dare not come, within mile of village,
With Odin's Slepnir, Vikings may pillage.

Beware of Scucca, he'll lead thee along,
Slow Internet down, Street View icon gone.
He plays tricks on thee, brings thee much bad luck,
Makes things fall apart, until thee say .... Puck.

Copyright April 2012 Andrew Rea

Sunday, 17 February 2013


Introduction to “Aelfred”

This poem is set in late Saxon times after the influence of Christianity had caused the demonisation of elves and other Wights of our land.  The elves are now referred to as the dark elves and were thought to be a source of much malignancy and disease. The healer if lacking in the knowledge to effect a cure would go into a trance like state and return with the remedy. Charms were often made up into a pouch and attached to ones person to ward off the influence of such things as elf shot (also known as flying venoms) when going about especially at night or in forests. To understand elf shot compare with the concept of a virus: you can’t see it, feel it, touch it, or smell it but it is/was accepted as a cause of disease. Sometimes one may feel a sudden sharp pain or stitch seemingly for no reason, the explanation might have been that you had been shot by an elf!
NB. Aelfred is made up of two parts: meaning ,’elf wisdom'.


Beautiful spirits, some elves that they be,
Goodly white shining, creatures of the tree.
Slender and tall, billowing long blond hair,
With a glowing brightness, thee canst compare.

But who hath strayed, within thine secrete lair,
Into their glistening eyes, dare thee stare.
With the wisdom of elves, Aelfred his name,
Through elfin influence, became his fame.

At twilight the power, is at its height.
Palpable darkness, creatures of the night,
The shape of shadows, moves silent and black,
On these shady nights, fear elf shot attack.

A charm wilt guard thee, against elfin shot,
Some herbs in flax sheet, sown Into a knot.
Spell casting weapon man, invoking on god,
Conjuring invoking, with oaken rod.

Working his charm, against the nights dark elves,
Into realm of spirit, chanting he delves.
Gathering magical, herbs of full moon,
Chanting and singing, the spell to attune.

Over hill and dale, landscape he has trekked,
The full moons magical, herbs to collect.
Working with yon herbs, in ritual to charm,
Magic signs and deeds, the elf shot disarm.

Elfin charm now well set, and tied in its place,
Attached to thine tunic, to bring thee grace.
With magical strength, and confidence be,
To safeguard us, to the highest degree.

Copyright Andrew Rea 2009

Saturday, 9 February 2013

This is the Thyng

Introduction to ‘This is the Thyng’
In 2005/6 local history enthusiasts rediscovered the Old English name of Hanger Hill Thynghowe (= assembly + bronze age burial site) which had been used for public meetings until the 1800s. With the hills original name together with its location within Birklands, OE Birkelunde (= sacred grove with birch trees) the significance of the site became a no brainer. The site is now controlled by English Heritage and represents the only intact Thyng left in England.

This is the Thyng

Birklands Wapentake, in Nottinghamshire,
Name of sacred hill, It did disappear.
Birkelunde it hid, from the Doomsday Book,
Its secret Thynghowe, to shadows it took.

Bronze age barrow site, its meaning mislaid,
For many years more, folk met on its glade.
In Sherwood Forest, was grove with birch trees,
But its name Thynghowe, did locals displease.

In green wood clearing, godly worship planned,
Ancient sacred site, with rune sword in hand.
Wapentakes to meet, site for council things,
A show of weapons, vote with lords and kings.

Marker standing stone, on old maps was named,
Still used as a thyng, this meet place was famed.
Sacred name lost in, recent mists of time,
Gatherings no more, folk no longer climb.

Thynghowe used as meet, for two thousand years,
But Viking elders, it no longer hears.
This Birkelunde hill, much time did withstand,
Thynghowe is the last, intact thing in our land.

Copyright Andrew Rea March 2012

Sunday, 3 February 2013

February (Solmonath)

Introduction to ‘February’ (Solmonath)

Solmonath, means mud month,

Saint Bede in his ‘De Temporum Ratione’ (on the computation of time) mentions that the name of the month came about as a result of the cakes the Anglo-Saxons offered to their gods in that month. There are surviving Anglo-Saxon charms that give first hand evidence of such a custom amongst Heathen farmers.

The Earth Mother (Eorthen Mordor) was called Nerthus/Erce and the Sky Father was called Wuldorfadur, or Glory Father.

The sol cakes were planted into the ground as an offering to both Nerthus and Wuldorfador. We have no complete recipe for the cakes, but given that the tradition of ploughing the corn dolly into the ground at the start of ploughing and sowing season was widely observed until modern times it seems possible that the dolly would have been broken up and added to a mixture of some kind, perhaps of flour of various grains, and returned to the ground uncooked to preserve its fertility.

February (Solmonath)

February ploughing, of the field,
Sowing the seed, to bring the yield.
The Anglo-Saxon, month of cakes,
As snow departs, and nature wakes.

Offer to the gods, to give rebirth,
The month, to celebrate the earth.
Hoping to see, the last snowflake,
The season for, Solcakes to Bake.

Earth Mother Nerthus, we implore,
And Sky Father, Wuldorfadur.
Cakes in the ground, we now enchant,
Wish for abundance, you may grant.

Copyright Andrew Rea 2008