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Poem- The Last Saxon Shieldwall

Updated on December 7, 2015
Saxon Shieldwall from Bayeux Tapestry
Saxon Shieldwall from Bayeux Tapestry

Side by side they stood

A famous brotherhood

The Housecarls of the Wall

Held their shield and sword

Gave protection to their Lord

The Housecarls of the Wall

Brutal punishment they’d take

Norman cavalry tried to shake

Those soldiers from the Wall

Sally forth and then retreat

Different tactics tried to beat

Those soldiers from the Wall

Norman destrier and Knight

Tried with all their might

To breach that Saxon Wall

Farmer, commoner and Thegn

Bound together and retained

That Anglo-Saxon Wall

For many hours it did stand

Parry, thrust and then backhand

Fought the soldiers of the Wall

Norman arrow, sword and lance

Took their aim for half a chance

To pierce that solid Wall

Norman infantry feigned retreat

William’s horse did him unseat

Loud cheers sang from the Wall

Saxons chased them down the hill

Norman cavalry them did kill

A hole appeared in the Wall

No quarter did they give

Their honour just to live

Those heroes of the Wall

Just survive the day

Reinforcements on their way

Those heroes of the Wall

Many hours did take its toll

Now fewer numbers on the knoll

Stood the finest Saxon Wall

The fittest and the brave

On their own did try to save

The finest Saxon Wall

Senlac Ridge was where

King Harold did prepare

That final Saxon Wall

In Hasting’s autumn sun

Died there one by one

The final Saxon Wall

Many corpses lay around

That final killing ground

Of Senlac’s Saxon Wall

Normans, Saxons and a King

Heaven’s Angels for them sing

A tribute to them all


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    • profile image

      alancaster149 6 years ago

      Me again. Can I suggest - if you're into poetry - that you do a piece in the style of 'Beowulf' or 'The Battle of Maldon', or even Ottarr Svarti's 'London Bridge Is Falling Down'?

    • Storybailey profile image

      Paul Bailey 6 years ago from Aylesbury, England

      Thanks for this information. I shall check out these books as you suggest. My eBook has been receiving steady sales on both sides of the Pond in enough numbers for me to continue with 1066:Rebellion and plan 1066:Domesday. I look forward to reading Ravenfeast. Please let me know when it is available. Thanks for your feedback.

    • profile image

      aLancaster149 6 years ago

      Another little snippet: Senlac was a condensation of 'Sanguelac', lake of blood. By the right end of where the shieldwall had been is the gully - not as deep now as it was then, as is Caldbec Hill as steep - the Normans dubbed 'Malfosse', by which many Englishmen fled the hill. A rearguard action by archers at the head of the gully held back William's knights and killed a number of his better men. Gave you read Peter Marren's '1066 THE BATTLES OF YORK, STAMFORD BRIDGE & HASTINGS' (Battleground Britain series, Pen & Sword Books Ltd @ £9.95. I got mine from Waterstone's University Bookshop in Bloomsbury, WC1. There is also the Osprey Campaign 13 'HASTINGS 1066 - THE FALL OF SAXON ENGLAND' by Christopher Gravett @ £13.99 with full colour illustrations, maps and photographs. PS: How are your e-books selling? Just thought I'd ask. (RAVENFEAST is on its way through the publishing process at the time of writing, a large chunk of the story centres around the battle). Cheers

    • Storybailey profile image

      Paul Bailey 6 years ago from Aylesbury, England

      Thanks for your comment alancaster149. Glad you like this poem as much as I enjoyed writing it.

    • alancaster149 profile image

      Alan R Lancaster 6 years ago from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire)

      Nicely done, Storybailey! Like the rhyming couplets and the length of line isn't laboured. I wouldn't want to quibble with the facts, but most of Harold's huscarls were either Danes or Anglo-Danes, as was Harold himself. It's a small detail, but some might pick up on it. Still, like it!

    • Storybailey profile image

      Paul Bailey 6 years ago from Aylesbury, England

      Thanks for your comment Rob. I have a few more poems and articles planned around this era.

    • Robwrite profile image

      Rob 6 years ago from Bay Ridge Brooklyn NY

      Very well done. This is one of my favorite battles in history.