Sunday, November 06, 2005

A Literary Sunday

Interesting things come up when you research a story.
The Legend of the Sockburn Worm and the Conyers Falchion apparently inspired a number of notable literary efforts.
One of the most famous is the poem Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll. The Falchion is the "vorpal blade" that snicker-snacked. Carroll's father was rector or something very churchy at Croft-on-Tees, the alternate site replacing Neasham Ford for the ritual presentation of the Falchion when the Tees was in spate.
Sockburn itself, enclosed, secluded by a long, lazy loop of the river Tees, was Soccabyrig in 780 - a fortified place - Socce's stronghold, but it was mostly farm when Wordsworth and Coleridge arrived for holiday there in the late 1700's.The Conyers Tomb, a polished blue slab marked with a cross fleury, a sword and a shield, still rested in the north porch of the Norman Church and an effigy dated 1305. According to the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Hibald was consecrated bishop of Lindesfarne here in 780.
The Conyers effigy represents a young knight with an exceedingly pure and noble face. One remembers that the Malory's were related to the Conyers and one remembers Lancelot of the Arthurian Cycle and Le Morte d'Arthur. The figure is in full mail, split for riding, one hand holds a plain kite shield, the other rests on a sword hilt, at his feet a wyvern.
Later, one of the Conyers assumed the personna of Robin of Redesdale - with all its deliberate associations of myth and legend - during the War of the Roses.
Thomas Hutchinson, a farmer, had two daughters, Sara and Mary. Here amid these relics of the past, the crumbling church, the Saxon mark stones, the two poets fell in love. Wordsworth married Mary. Coleridge was already married. Coleridge wrote the poem "Love" to Sara which is suspected of being the inspiration for John Keats and La Belle Dame Sans Merci. In Coleridge's Cristabel, the themes of enchantment and loss carry further the high tradition of old ballad and folk tale and the Romantic Period's rampant lust for medievalism.
The "Greystane" still lies in the fields by Sockburn.

3 comments:

Robyn said...

You could never write the story but just keep telling me the history and I'd be happy. A friend told me I was a "history ho" and he's right.

I do want to read your book, though!

Bernita said...

It's a great phrase, init?
You're my "homey."
I love history, and I think I am not of a very original turn of mind - can't make up a story out of whole cloth - there has to be a basis of fact and truth to build on. On the other hand, who needs to? when history is full of everything a novelist would ever need or imagine.

Ric said...

the Da Vinci Code is built on a 'true' history story, supposedly, but it's close enough nobody cares as long as the story is good.

Besides, if you write about true stuff, people will say it's not believable oooorrrrr they will say it's cliched. YOu know, like how tornados ALWAYS hit trailer parks - like this morning.