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, 22 June 2013

Here be Puckers


This poem explores four such places including Pucklechurch where king Edmund I was murdered in 946.There are at least 20 places in England who’s names derive from Pucker (OE puca goblin or sprite)

The importance of puckers was on the wane until Shakespeare breathed in new life in ‘A Mid Summer Night’s Dream’. These Wights appeared as large animals (especially hares or rabbits – see the 1950 film ‘Harvey’). Sometimes they were good natured spirits and could be helpful but at other times they could be mischievous and were known to lead folk astray.

Kipling of course was also found of this Wight and was inspired to write Puck of Pook’s Hill.

By the way Pookhill is in Sussex and was first recorded in 1350 as Poukehale, from OE pûca + healh nook or corner of land.

Here be Puckers

Old English puca. hobgoblin or sprite,
He leads folk astray, in woodlands at night.
Shakespearian Puck, mischievous puck,
He’ll mess thee about, and bring thee bad luck.

Pucka’s attracted, to spring stream and well,
In glade and fell, thee be under his spell.
Puck can be helpful, and will work away,
But this hobgoblin, can lead thee astray.

Minerva temple, had Roman Ad Fines,
On two Roman roads, Doomsday saw no signs.
This Celtic village, the devil it took,
Was not to be found, in the Doomsday Book.

Saxon Puckeridge, grew up in its place,
But Hertfordshire town, vanished without trace.
This devil’s hill town, escaped Doomsday Book,
Puck led them astray, just where did they look?

Doomsday Pucklechurch, Edmund met his end,
From Leofa the thief, he could not defend.
Bronze age tumulus, air force without flight,
Gloucestershire village, with grim pucka blight.

Northamptonshire Puxley, naughty puck’s glade,
Twice found by Doomsday, but then it did fade.
Though only hamlet, and field now remain,
Two Puxley manors, nearby still pertain.

Sussex Pucan Wylle, eight century known,
Pucka’s well still springs, but now is unknown.
With pooka afoot, things aren’t what they seem,
To lead thee astray, is his impish scheme.

Three spirit nights lead, to mid summers eve,
Hobgoblin’s about, his mischief to weave.
Horse rabbit or goat, this goblin may seem,
He wilt thee deceive, mid summer’s night’s scream.

Copyright Andrew Rea May 2012

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Here be Altars

Hearg is the Old English word for altar this became Harrow- and all such sites are on hills.
Weoh and wig are common elements in place names and they are often compounded with OE dun “hill” or leah “woodland glade, clearing”, suggesting that favourite spots for this type of shrine were hill-tops or forest clearings.

Usually, weoh became Wee- and wig became Wy- or Wye-.

Here be altars

Hearg on hill top, Hearg in oak wood,
To worship where our, ancestors have stood.
Churches sitting on, such old sacred sites,
The new religion, with their Roman rites.

Harrow on the Hill, Hearg on the hill,
Heaving up high hill, Grove Road leads us still.
Ox heads about church, found buried in ground,
Sacred ancient rites, they still can be found.

Altar of pipers, on hill top to stand,
Was Peper Harow, Surreys promised land?
Thousand year spirit, church yard sacred yew,
Holy well close by, early morning dew.

Old English weoh, and wig were our shrines,
Magicians and priests, made their magick signs.
Saxon holy place, now no longer known,
Saxon shrine of wood, becomes church of stone.

Shrine in Weedon Beck, was altar on down?
Two saints two crashes, Northamptonshire town.
Two Doomsday entries, with two mills betwixt,
Royal Saxon palace, Wating Street affixed.

Wyfordby shrine near, settlement and ford,
Weedon is shrine hill, and still unexplored.
Weeley Old English, shrine near woodland glade,
On hill or on down, the altar was laid.

Churches sitting on, such sacred altars,
Singing their holy, new psalms and psalters.
Our sacred old oaks, art long since destroyed,
Their witness for oaths, no longer employed.

Copyright April 2012 Andrew Rea

Friday, 7 June 2013

June (Ærra Litha)

Outline Introduction

This poem includes various references to Anglo-Saxon magic and the forging of a sword. In Anglo-Saxon times swords were given names and imbued with magical power by adding runes. Nine was a magical number to the Saxons (note the ninth month was called Halig-monath –‘holy month’; the lay of the nine twigs of Woden; the division of the cosmos into nine worlds). The third verse draws from ‘The Good Reeve' an Anglo-Saxon farming document.

June (Ærra Litha)
Three spirit nights leading, to mid summers eve,
Nine runes on a rope, crafting spells to weave.
Litha the mark, of the longest daytime,
Wuldorfadur wilt, soon complete his climb.

The summer solstice, it be drawing near,
A time to raise, thine horn of fine beer.
Bonfires wilt be lit, on high hills close by,
Nearby the smithy, the fire his ally.

While the dung cart winds, its way to yon meads,
Mowing and harrowing, digging up weeds.
Smithy crafting within, his thatched work shop,
The shimmering billowing, from the top.

Formed in a pit hut, by the central fire,
Under Wayland’s guiding, hand to inspire.
Dragon’s final rune, begins to take shape,
With spell well cast, he wilt lend no escape.

Smithies hut is sunk, into mother earth,
His Hammer and anvil, have given birth.
No spells wilt now take, to blunt this bright blade,
The power of dragon, shalt not ever fade!

Copyright Andrew Rea 2009

Sunday, 2 June 2013


Here are links to useful Anglo-Saxon Healing documents used as a basis for some of my poems relating to healing or magic in Saxon times:
Vol I 
Vol 2
Vol 3
These cover Leechbooks 1 - 3, Lacnunga and other lessor manuscripts and represent parallel texts in Anglo-Saxon and what may be described as Shakespearean English
Note that the file sizes vary between 34.6M - 36.6M so may take some time to down load