Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Assandun

Current work: Medical and nonfic
Listening to: Haydn
Reading: next on TBR

After Maldon, we went to Bicknacre. Not much left: just a single archway, kept behind a locked fence (what a sad, sad comment that is on the yobbish culture of today and the propensity for vandalism and spray paint - I did notice a lot of the latter spread across signs throughout this weekend's trip).


In the 1930s there were lots of little wooden huts here, used as holiday homes for the children who went to Sunday school at Bethnal Green. They closed at the beginning of World War Two and were subsequently used by servicemen.

From Maldon, we went to Ashingdon – one of the two places in Essex (the other being Ashdon, near Saffron Walden) that’s thought to be the probable location of the battle of Assandun in 1016. This was yet one against the Danes; Edmund Ironside’s camp was at Ashingdon and that of Canute (i.e. Cnut) was on the hill nearby at Canewdon. This time, the Danes won – and, according to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, nearly all the English nobility were killed. Edmund made a deal whereby he kept Wessex and Canute ruled the rest of England – and hence England came under Danish rule.

Canute built a minster at Ashingdon in 1020 to honour Edmund (who died six weeks after Assandun) and the dead soldiers, and this is allegedly his minster. It's a beautiful little church.


Sadly, it was locked, but we walked round it on a windswept day and the views from the churchyard are stunning.

It also had the largest scratch dial I've ever seen - this is an uncropped pic to show you just how big (usually they're palm-sized). In the hole in the centre would go a stick (called a gnomon) and it basically acted as a sundial to show the times for mass, in the days before clocks.

Edit: nearly forgot! Am blogging over at eHarlequin today on real life and books, so do drop in to say hello (or to see the pic of my office companion, who's currently snoring happily but will wake up and remind me it's lunchtime in half an hour or so...)

6 comments:

Jan Jones said...

Scratch dial fascinating!

Kate Hardy said...

They're usually by the south door and much smaller - next time you go to an old church, check it out :o)

Shirley Wells said...

Fab pics, Kate. All that blue sky! Like Jan, I love the scratch dial.

sewa mobil said...

nice place...thanks for the information

Lacey Devlin said...

I'm jumping on the scratch dial bandwagon too :) So fascinating!

Olivia Ryan said...

Oh, I didn't know that about Ashingdon's name origin! In fact, I'm discovering from your posts how little I know about my own county (hangs head in shame). History was never made interesting to me at school - but I do like to imagine how people lived, in the past, in my own street/village/town. Thanks for beginning my education! x