Wednesday, 22 October 2014

998th Ashingdon Memorial

The Ethnic English movement has come on leaps and bounds over the last decade, and with it events such as Battle and Stamford Bridge have grown in prominence. In Essex however where the local population remains largely ignorant of our history and heritage, there remains very little activity despite it being one of the most heavily populated areas in England.

One of the most important battles in our Anglo-Saxon past was fought in Essex, though most would not likely know anything about it. At Ashingdon, Edmund 'Ironside' fought the Danish King Canute and lost in a terrible defeat.

Eadric Streona, England's greatest traitor, led away the English men under his command mid-battle when he saw that Canute's forces were beginning to struggle. In what was likely a pre-arranged agreement between Eadric and Canute, he sold England out for a place at Canute's council. It did not do him much good however, for within the year he would be executed under Canute's orders for his treacherous nature.

Speaking from a Wodenist perspective, all of our actions (or in-actions) can affect a vast tapestry of wyrd beyond which we can even possibly hope to comprehend. To use a more modern analogy that those rooted in popular culture may grasp, it is the butterfly effect. It is this knowledge of cause and effect that spurred our ancestors on to always consider doing the heroic deed. By striving to be great and to do what we feel is the correct course of action, even if it means standing alone, is to live forever in the physical world through those deeds. 

The Battle of Ashingdon then, from the English perspective was almost like someone had cut a huge hole in the English people's web of wyrd. The ability to pursue our own destiny has been stifled ever since that fateful day in 1016, and although most would attribute that loss of liberty with 1066, without the fateful events at Ashingdon, there may never have been a battle of Hastings. Without Eadric's betrayal, our history as a people may have been completely different, and so we must all take this as a lesson always to consider folk before all else, and the rightful loyalties that you have to that folk.

When Canute effectively broke the house of Wessex, there was constant feuding over who was the rightful King of England for decades. Long story short, it was the culmination of this feud that saw Harold Godwinson in 1066 (himself Son of Canute's sister-in-law) facing 

Harald Hardrada's Danish army in the North and William the Conqueror's Army in the South within a matter of a few weeks.

The church which now stands on the battle site. 
Last Saturday I thought I would remedy the lack of local remembrance of this battle, and place a memorial of sorts at the site of battle.

Before I begin, it should be noted that there could be two possible locations of the battle. The most favoured site is the village now known as Ashingdon near Rochford, although there is a chance that it may well have been Ashdon near Saffron Walden. 

Whilst some may take the view that holding memorials whilst the battle site is still debated, I on the other hand think that simply holding it, even if it is in the wrong place, is better than it going unnoticed.

Information board, flowers and candle left in memory of the men
who died at Ashingdon.
A few days before I had informed the local news paper, the Evening Echo to meet me at the site which since 1020 has been a church yard, and got there early in the morning to set out the white wyrm flags and information board.

I placed some flowers and a candle with the information board facing east towards the rising sun. Whilst I set out some of the flags, a small man who was clearly a history buff looked about at the flags and the board which I had set out and we spoke for a while about the battle. It seems he was on some form of historical pilgrimage as I was.

The photographer from the local paper turned up, took some photos, but unfortunately for whatever reason those photos never ended up being published. 

Whilst on the face of it, this may have all seemed a bit of waste of time, I believe this is just the very beginning. The local Parish is likely to have some form of event in 2016 celebrating the 1000th anniversary, and the English community can press some larger presence at Ashingdon in 2015, perhaps we will have some form of influence on the way in which the 2016 event plays out.

We can only hope, but if we can do the right thing and persevere, the web of wyrd with weave in the way we wish it to.

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