England, made in Sheffield?

Posted April 24th, 2016 in Blogs by admin

England, from Engleland, the land seized and settled by Germanic people who migrated there from northern Europe.

There’s not much said of “England” until about a hundred years before the Norman conquest in 1066AD, and without two major events, both of which probably occurred in Sheffield, we might never have heard of it at all.

At school we all learned that according to Bede, writing around 731AD, it was the Angles and Saxons from northern Germany, and the Jutes from Jutland, that kicked off the process of English settlement, much to the annoyance of the Welsh. This continued from about 450AD to 700AD. These Germanic settlers divided the land into several small kingdoms which survived in one form or another until about 927AD.

It was Athelstan, grandson of Alfred the Great, who created England by unifying Mercia and Wessex, the last two remaining old Anglo Saxon kingdoms. But, he could not have done this, but for two major Sheffield events.

The first of these occurred in 829AD when King Egbert of Wessex accepted tribute from the Northumbrian king and several other lesser kings at Dore in Sheffield. He thus became the Bretwalda, (The Big Boss of Britain) and held sway over lands stretching from the English Channel up to Scotland’s River Clyde.

The second, and decisive event in the creation of England was the Battle of Brunanburh in 937AD. The aforementioned Athelstan led his troops against an army comprising Danes, Scots and Welsh warriors, all madly determined to stop him in his tracks. Athelstan was victorious and England was born.

History tells us when this battle was fought, but unfortunately, nobody is sure where it took place. For years, historians have argued about the location of Brunanburh. To date none has nailed it down. Michael Wood, the historian and TV broadcaster (not the service station on the M5) has suggested Sheffield – Tinsley Wood near Brinsworth to be precise. He points to what he regards as striking similarities between the present day location and the battlefield as described in Egil’s Saga, an ancient poem about the battle. Sir Frank Merry Stenton, the big daddy of Anglo Saxon and Danelaw history, is also thought to have favoured the Tinsley location. Since nobody has come up with a better idea, I say, why not go along with ‘em and agree it was Tinsley in Sheffield?

There can be no doubt whatsoever, that the Battle of Brunanburh was the most significant in Anglo Saxon history before the Norman invasion. What a pity Sheffield doesn’t celebrate its truly unique role in the birth of England.

Another major mystery is precisely what colours the victorious army carried on that blood soaked day, red and white, or blue and white. It’s probably a safe bet to say they had Blades, but there were plenty of Owls around Tinsley Wood at that time too, so that part of the mystery may never be resolved.

 

My Dad Built Bury Barracks

Posted December 3rd, 2012 in Blogs, Poetry by briansellars

MY DAD BUILT BURY BARRACKS         Brian Sellars  03/12/2012

My dad built Bury Barracks.
I think he did it him sen.
He could lift Mrs Thackery’s stone sink,
And he built us a chicken pen.
 
He grew spuds, reight big fat red ‘ens,
Onions and runner beans.
If his motor bike spluttered, he’d fix it,
He could orlas mend cranky machines.
 
He could plaster a wall wi’ no trouble at all,
Hang a door, or restring a sash.
If a ball bounced anywhere near him,
He’d orlas set off at a dash.
 
He taught me to swim like a good ‘en,
I never feared watta  like cats.
He could waltz the Valeta and Tango,
And only Bogart had better ‘ats.
 
His bacon and eggs topped me mother’s,
We’d eight it when he were on neets.
I’d creep dahn stairs in me ‘jamas,
When he came ‘ome through t’dawn weshed  streets.
 
He worked in t’steelworks on t’stage,
Norra stage like his pal Ben Warris.
This were arc furnaces lined up in a row.
Mekkin steel wi’ ore dug from quarries.
 
They paid him extra and called it Hot Money,
But that weren’t all that me owd dad got.
Silica dust, toxic heat and burnt air,
Took aim with its deadly shot.
 
His big hands were still rough and strong,
As I held ‘em in that hospital bed.
He smiled and said “Love your mother,”
And that were it, he were gone, he were  dead.
 
I gerrim in whiffs of Imperial  Leather,
As I’m ambling along some cold street.
He’s there in the park when a goal’s scored.
He’s in shoe polish, and carving the meat.
 
How I wish that God had not left me,
And that cold science did not prevail.
For I’d still have me dad to look forward to,
When I reach the end of my trail.
 
Note: My old dad worked on Bury Barracks as a young apprentice bricklayer.
A silly joke in the family was that he’d built the whole thing himself (be him sen) 

Poppy

Posted April 12th, 2011 in Audio, Blogs, Poetry by briansellars


Poppy

A mardy arse is Poppy,
She’s all-ass roorin and playin up.
She can’t run nor climb nor kick a ball,
She just pretends and meks stuff up.

I wish she were like me moor,
And not so soft and girly.
I wish she’d av her hair cut,
And not all long and curly.

Me mam’s asked her to me birthday,
It’s because this time I’m ten.
I’m hopin’ that she waint come,
Cos lads are best bi us sen.

Ayup, she’s coming nah,
Wearing shorts and a frilly vest.
She looks or-reight in that,
When she scrubbed up in her best.

I hope she’s glad to see me,
She’ll see I’m gerring bigger.
Her hair is looking nicer,
And by eck she’s gorra figure.

I’m glad she’s not like me moor,
She’s quite nice all soft and girly.
I just hope that she still likes me,
And dunt go home too early.

It dunt matter if she cant feight,
And who needs to kick a ball.
Thiz moor to life than feighting,
And Poppy’s gorrit all.

 

 


Laikin Abaht Dahn Rivelin

Posted April 12th, 2011 in Audio, Blogs, Poetry by briansellars

Laikin Abaht Dahn Rivelin [Playing in Rivelin Valley]
When thart laikin abaht near watter dahn rivs,
A reight joyful jump is what thee ‘eart gives.
Tha can paddle and scroam, even swim an all,
Some’ll swing on a roo-ap or feight for a ball.

Turn stoo-ans for bullies, catch frogs, mice and shrews,
Smoke aaht a wasp-nest, float frogs in thee shoes.
Thez them az catch rabbits and search forra fox,
Thiv orlass got sommat caged up in a box.

Thez them az lays dahn and snoozes in t’sun,
Tha can splash ‘em wi’ watter – if tha can run.
Thez t’owd ‘ens wi’ dogs, and young women wi’ prams,
Blokes wi’ lasses on blankets wi’ wandering ‘ands.

It’s for us all is Rivelin, rich, poor, bad-n-good,
It were once t’secret playground of owd Robin Hood.
He still feights sheriff at Den Bank, Roscoe an’ t’Glen,
And  scroams dahn near  Mouse-oyl wi’ ‘is merry men.

Keep Rivs for all-ass, no more buildings or roo-ads.
Lerrit be natural fot fish, frogs and too-ads.
Gi’ thee eyes and thee heart a magical treat,
Stroll from t’post office to Malin weer waters-meet.