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Monday, 23 March 2015

Reburial of St Ænglebert of the Middle Angles

Few these days are aware of the sad history of the Middle Angles. We are so forgotten as an area of Olde England that those maps of the Heptarchy lump us in with the Mercians. Evil godless bunch that they were. Us and the Hwicce were subjugated by those Brummy gets, and passed into the darkness of the darkest Dark Ages. The Middle Angles had their own royal family and everything. But their great mistake was that, while the Mercian and Wessex kings could trace their family trees back to Woden, the Middle Anglians could only trace their kings back to blokes called Hans and Gerhard, living in leather trousers in a swamp in Jutland  With those kinds of disadvantages, independence was always doomed. And King Peada of Mercia swooped in and before we knew it we had to have amusing Black Country accents and drink mild. It was a terrible time.

Now, while digging the flower bed, Snodgrazz found what we believe to be the last remains of King Ængelbert of Middle Anglia. This is of course of critical historical significance. King Ænglebert, by a remarkable co-incidence with Richard III, was killed in a car park. Apparently it was a fight on the way home from a pub crawl in Bletchley. His crown was found later in the keeping of a lady of easy leisure called May, who said he'd swapped it for a strictly average time, what with the amount of ale he'd shipped that night.

Ængelbert was buried in Husborne Crawley, like all Middle Anglian kings except all the others, by the monks of Woburn Abbey. In the 16th Century, the Abbey was inspected by Thomas Cromwell's OfMonk, found to be failing and put in Special Measures. i.e. flogged off to the Russell Family so Henry VIII could fight the people of Yorkshire and declare himself to be Defender of the Faith, King of France, Danger to Shipping and Lord of Ireland. I believe he also took Jane Seymour for a few nights at the Old Palace Lodge in Dunstable, though he had to flog off the priory there to pay for the Stella he drank. It was a dark and worrisome time, when "God and his Angels slept".

So Ængelbert's remains have rested in the herbaceous border of Husborne Crawley Great House (formerly Harry the Hairy's Hermitage) until last Thursday. Naturally we had to think long and hard about what to do. Ængelbert's life was not peaceful. He drowned his brother in a barrel of Bordeaux - and it wasn't even a good year. He killed all the swans on the Ouse at Harrold on the grounds that "they look at me a bit funny, with their beady eyes and their beaks". And his hot-headed lust was such that, whenever he visited one of his subjects' villages, they would have to hide all the goats.

So having thought long and hard, we reckoned that what we needed was to reorder the entire Moot House in his honour, like he was some kind of a saint. We've added the animatronic "King
Ængelbert the Unhygienic Æxperience".  The Saint Ængelbert Willow Walkway will enable tourists visitors pilgrims to visit the new Ængelbert Arms mock-8th Century Inne, the St Ængelbert Coffee Shoppe and the Gift Shoppe, before visiting the Shrine of St Ængelbert, patron of Marston Vale and North Bucks. Brings a tear to my, thinking about it. It's that lovely rustling noise that tenners make. Ooh, it makes me all emotional.

Sure, there has been a certain amount of debate in the press about the precise reliquary in which we are reburying Ængelbert. Some say it's disrespectful. Some say it's a poor design. But we reckon the old Roses tin from Christmas is about right. After all, there's not much left of him.

I should point out that the archaeologists of the Open University, when we brought Ængelbert's remains to them, were not as keen as some more Mercian archaeologists to be involved in the reburial of a famous martyr/king. Their responses were respectively:

  • There is no evidence that Ængelbert ever existed
  • This is a random collection of badger, cow and chicken bones of the 21st and late 20th century
  • You're a bunch of bandwagon jumping idiots
  • Oo! 50 quid! Yes we will sing "Candle in the Wind" at the reburial!

So with full Beaker ceremonial, a choir made up of people with beards and sweaters, much willow and the full 5,000 tea light salute, we will be putting Ængelbert to rest this afternoon. And counting the takings for the rest of the week.

1 comment :

  1. Not sure why, but your headline put me in mind of the CSE multiple choice question inviting candidates to identify, from a diagram, an angle shaped like a backwards "L". A depressingly large number of them plumped for "left angle"!

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