Tuesday, 28th March 2017
Great Finborough Suffolk Village
Great Finborough Suffolk Village

Great Finborough Church

Great Finborough Church, drawn and published by H. Davy, Globe Street, Ipswich, November 1862. The Vicar of the Church at this time was the Rev. William Kitching.

The following Elizabethan ode refers to a Saxon battle fought at a Finborough thought to be Great Finborough in Suffolk.

THE FIGHTE OF FINBURGHE

I

'The sun had climb'd the eastern sky - But not by day the Youthful Band
May hear their Leader's battle cry, Nor yet on Finburghe's fatal strand,
The Warrior's winged serpent fly: Pauses from blood the foeman's hand,
Nor strives he yet to fire yon Hall's proud canopy.

II

Sweetly sung the birds of night, The wakeful cricket chirrup'd loud,
And now the moon' serenely bright, Was seen beneath the wandering cloud.
Then rous'd him swift our deadly foe, To deeds of slaughter and of woe,
Now beneath the jav'lin's stroke The buckler's massy circle rung.
Anon the chains of slumber broke Our Chieftain great and good,
He, whose high praise fills ev'ry tongue, First in valour as in blood,
The matchless Hengist to the battle woke.

III

Uprose in that eventful tide Full many a warrior brave,
And don'd his armour's golden pride, And girt his glittering glaive.
At the high HALL'S portals wide, Foremost of the noble Band,
Sigvart and Aeha proudly stand. Where other pass the foe might find,
Ordlaf watch'd with Guthlaf joined. Garulf next with fiery speed
Rous'd Guthere from the slumberer's bed. No care of dress their steps delay'd,
Each grasp'd in haste his shining blade, And fierce the brother warriors flew
To guard the HALL'S high avenue. He that prides him in the fight
Had joy'd to see that gallant sight.

IV

And now in accents loud Our foeman's Chieftain, bold and proud,
Sought what Thane or Battle Lord At the high Gate kept watch and ward.
"Sigvart is here" (the champion cried) "Sigvart oft in battle tried,
"Known to all the warrior train "Where spreads the Saxon wide domain.
"Now, Chieftain, turn thee to the fight, "Or yield thee to the Saxon might"

V

Soon the tented Halls among Loud the din of slaughter rung,
Closer now each hostile band Grasp'd the shield with eager hand,
And many a Chief is doom'd to feel Through helm and head the grinding steel.
First in that disastrous Plain Guthlaf's valliant son was slain,
Where Garulf lies untimely dead Many a fated hero bled.
There to seek his destin'd food, The dark and willow-pinion'd raven stood:
And far around that Field of blood The sword's dread radiance beam'd to heaven.
It seem'd as though that morn had given All FINBURGHE to the rav'ning flame.
Ne'er heard I yet of fight might claim A nobler or a sadder name.

VI

At the high Hall a chosen band, Leaders brave that shine afar,
Full sixty sons of victory stand In all the golden pomp of war;
Little think they to forego The Hall of Mead for that proud foe.
Five live-long days the battle's sound Was heard by FINBURGHE'S EARTH-RAIS'D MOUND.
Yet undiminish'd and unquell'd That hero Band the Portal held,
Till bleeding from the Saxon blade Our foeman's Lord his fear betray'd,
And told in accents of despair, How broken helm and corslet reft
Defenceless to the stroke had left His head and bosom bare.
Then sought the vanquish'd Foe relief, And safety for their wounded Chief.


With thanks to Russell Kent.

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