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, 30 March 2013


Introduction to Hochtide
This was a rather fun festival held on the second Monday and Tuesday after Easter.
On the Monday, men captured women and released them for money or a kiss. On the Tuesday, the women would tie up the men and demand a payment before setting them free.
Men, dressed as foreigners, would be tied and lead around the town by the women to collect money for the church, this was the most important of the years collections!
The festival may depict a victory over the Danes.
The festivities were banned under Henry VIII but Elizabeth I reinstated the tradition in 1575, today only Hungerford in Berkshire continues the tradition.


Second Monday after, Easter it were,
A two day street fest, for him and for her.
Henry didn't like, disorder or fun,
Lizzy brought it back, along with the bun.

Festive misrule, chaotic and funny,
Best fun of the year, gathering money.
More than at Yule, or any other time,
So much fun until, it became a crime.

We gathered more, for the church this spring tide,
Hauled men through the streets, with their arms well tied.
Better the women, to tie up the men,
Like a conquered band, of Vikings to them.

Parade them through town, collect a penny,
Without some fun, there wouldn't be any.
Men captured and tied, the women to kiss,
And no one then thought, the least wrong in this.

Women captured and tied, the men to keep,
Give us a penny, we let thee off cheap.
Tutti wenches sold, oranges and sweets,
When those buxom lasses, took to the streets.

Tutti men carried, tutti mace pole,
With Orange Scrambler, all out of control.
Wooden staffs topped, with orange and flowers,
Young lads in the street, showing their powers.

We had so much fun, those brave days of yore,
But these days we be, not so immature.
Having fun in the street, being disquiet,
Thee be arrested, causing a riot.

Copyright Andrew Rea 2010

Friday, 22 March 2013

Eostre (Chant with zest)

Eostre (Chant with zest)

Eostre, Ostara, Ishtar, Hathor,
Goddess of the dawn, mother of spring,
Light conquers darkness, prefect balance,
Hares with eggs of fertility sing.

alternative last line:
Mother Earth’s womb fertility bring.

Or add your own last line!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Return ye Haegtesse


This poem employs the somewhat unusual construct of invoking a lesser known Anglo-Saxon mythical group to come to our aid and help defeat the fungus killing our ash trees (chalara dieback).

The Haegtesse were wild, armed supernatural women riding out in a group and causing harm havoc and mayhem! But were also known to help warriors on the battlefield and hinder others.
These Supernatural cavalcades rode loudly over the landscape.
They were also referred to as ‘ða (tha) mihtigan wif’ (the mighty women) and were seen as a cavalcade of riding women shooting its some documents the word Haegtesse was used as a scan for Wælcyrige, sometimesthe term ‘shield-maidens’ was employed.

From the word Haegtesse we also derive the word 'hag' used in Saxon times to describe a witch.

Return ye Haegtesse

Ye powerful hags, of the Saxon hills,
Rid our ashes of, their terrible ills.
I doth here invoke, and call upon ye,
Ye hags rough ride out, return and help me.

Oh thou cavalcade, of women riding,
Awful shield-maidens, the battle deciding.
Defend our ashes, from fungal attack,
Help us overthrow, chalara dieback.

Tha mihtigan wif, return to us now,
Dreadful Wælcyrige, protect sacred bough.
With ragged garments, and thine linden shield,
Like devils ride out, on tree battle field.

Oh ye Haegtesse, with helmets on head,
Fill our enemies, with thine battle dread.
Ride ye loudly through, fair forests again,
Through heathen sky come, cast out the profane.

May din of thine spears, force fungus to flea,
Thunor's magic spear, from ash the world tree.
Females from beyond, return to help me,
May all sacred ashes, be fungal free!

Copyright Andrew Rea March 2013

Saturday, 9 March 2013

March (Hrethmonath)

Introduction to March (Hrethmonath)
In Saxon times March was marked by the triumph of the spring goddess over the winter.
We know from Bede that the goddess honoured this month was Hretha as this is mentioned in his 'on the computation of time'.
References to the work in the fields are taken from 'The Good Reeve' a late Saxon farming handbook. We do not know for sure who Hretha (later known as Erce) fort to defeat 'winter', but from the study of similar Germanic folklore I propose that it may have been the winter goddess Hella. The word 'songal' means 'a handful of corn'. Galdors are spells cast in song.

March (Hrethmonath)

Hrethmonath, be winters end,
Hella's coldness, to hell thee send.
Hretha has won, cold winter's fight,
Day art longer, then darkest night.

First fields full ploughed, harrowed and sown,
Last corn songal, art cast and thrown.
Fertile fields, now made complete,
Barley, peas beans, cabbage and leek.

Yon meads be ploughed, and crop now set,
Labours of thine, tuff toil and sweat.
To thee Hretha, we doth thee bring,
Our offerings, for coming spring.

The goddess of, winter’s battle,
Wakes up pastures, for our cattle.
She who conquers, winter's cold spell,
Returns Hella's, spirit to hell.

Rejoice ye all, the spring goddess,
Least long last lost, thine agelessness.
Thee doth Hretha, springtime us bring,
And to help thee, galdors we sing.

Copyright Andrew Rea December 2012

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Here be Dragons

The poem outlines a number of place names based on Anglo Saxon words meaning ‘dragon’. All of these places can be traced back to Saxon times, although some have now vanished. The references are cryptic and present the reader at times with a riddle. The reference for tunnels in Draklow for example refer to a ‘shadow factory’ which made principally the engines for war planes during the latter years of WWII. All the locations referred to can be found on maps available on the internet.

Here be Dragons

There be dragons sleeping, under the ground,
Guarding their wyrm bed, not making a sound.
Some towns and villages, long since passed by,
Perhaps their dragon, did cause them to die.

Walmsgate in Lincolnshire, just hamlet left,
Long barrow wyrms bed, was there a great theft?
The village and church, lost in mists of time,
Carried off by Earth dragon, in their prime.

Nottinghamshire Drakeholes, meads of clover,
Where fiery dragons, flew screaming over.
Only hamlet not priory, could withstand,
Dark water tunnel, now cleanses the land.

Nordic wyrm town, had it a water mill,
Lincolnshire South Ormsby, did well until.
Dragon venomed men, and beast with his air,
Till only was hamlet, and church left there.

Wormhill in Derbyshire, what shouldst thee fear?
The last English wolves, did here disappear.
Well dressing each year, cast out the profane,
Wyrma’s Hyll dragon, hast not yet been slain.

Drakelow dragon’s mound, a wyrm bed of yore?
Derbyshire Saxons, named it Dracan Hlaw.
Four miles of tunnels, making dragon’s parts,
Flying war dragon’s, mechanical hearts.

Guarding Epona, Wiltshire Dragon Hill,
Mill, abbey and church, on barrow to kill.
Taken from time, Eccles Beorh disappears,
But white horse has lived, for three thousand years!