Monthly Archives: October 2014

The Site of Brunanburh

 

Townley Hall
Townley Hall

 

In my last blog I’d recorded a recent visit to my Burnley hometown. While there I was working on Shakespeare, utilising Burnley library’s excellent & comprehensive collection of volumes published by the Lancashire & Cheshire Antiquarian Society. I was basically trawling through every book, looking for stuff connected to Shakespeare’s stay in Lancashire, & while doing so came across the 1952-53 ‘transactions.’ These contained an account of excavations at Everage Clough by W Bennet, who in a footnote pointed me to an 18th century writer  – Thomas Dunham Whitaker – whose ‘History of the Original Parish of Whalley‘ was also to be found in Burnley library. Getting stuck in Kojak-style, I obtained the following passage;

The original site of townley appears to have been a tall & shapely knoll, southward from the present mansion, still denominated castle hill, & immediately adjoining to the farm called Old House, on the eastern & precipitous side of which are the obscure remains of trenches, which on the three more accessible quarters have been demolished by the plough. Here therefore, in every early times, and far beyond any written memorials, was the Villa de Tunlay, the residence, unquestionably, of one of those independent lords before the conquest who presided over every village & held immediately of the crown. When this elevated situation was abandoned it is impossible to ascertain from any written evidence or tradition; but the present house may in part lay claim to high antiquity.

Castle Hill - just south of Townley
Castle Hill – just south of Townley

In another post I showed how the burh of Brunanburh had to be somewhere in the Burnley area. I believe that we now can place Brunanburh beside the stately Townely Hall, on Castle Hill, whose fortifications were still to be seen in TD Whitaker’s day. I talked to my dad about the find, & despite living next to Townley itself all his life, he had never known there was a Castle Hill there. I guess this obscurity may have helped Brunanburh’s true site to be hidden from even the most hardiest of pro-Burnley enthusiasts.

 

Townley Park is the big blob of green, just to the east of Burnley & south of the River Brun
Townley Park is the big blob of green, just to the west of Burnley & south of the River Brun

 

A burh is a fortified Anglo-Saxon town of sorts, which formed the central administrative point of an Anglo-Saxon ‘Tun,’ from which we get the name Tunlay, & thus Townley. In the 12th century, Townley formed part of an ancient township called ‘Tunlay-with Brunshaw,’ the latter meaning ‘Brun’s wood.’ The clearing, or ‘lea’ in this wood, later on became Burnley, proving the greater antiquity of Brunshaw. This association of a Brun with a Tun tells us that the Saxon lord who ruled his ‘Tun’ from Castle Hill would have been called something like ‘Brun’ or ‘Bruna,’ thus giving us the etymylogical & historical foundations of the name Brunanburh.

 

Photothon

Muppet-by-muppet the world has fallen under the spell of Facebook, & I reckon there’s only me & a couple of Pygmies deep in the Belgian Congo who haven’t. I do appreciate the benefits of FB’s capacity to store photos – but luckily mi blog provides the same function. So, Im gonna tell the story of my past couple of months through the medium of the ‘photograph.’

Fireworks at Sunset during the Edinburgh Festival
Fireworks at Sunset during the Edinburgh Festival

 

Victor Pope's last 'infinitely more deluded' show @ the Edinburgh Festival
Victor Pope’s last ‘infinitely more deluded’ show @ the Edinburgh Festival

 

 

 

My three best pals, Victor Pope, Li-Bau & Nicky Stowell, lost in dinner-table chat, Edinburgh
My three best pals, Victor Pope, Li-Bau & Nicky Stowell, lost in dinner-table chat, Edinburgh

 

 

Kae-Lei Stowell working on our album, Kaelien
Kae-Lei Stowell working on our album, Kaelien

Which you can listen to here by the way

 

The Bendrix in 'Falkirk' mode
The Bendrix in ‘Falkirk’ mode

 

 

Teri & Dee
Teri & Dee
Courtyard at the Edinburgh School of Law
Courtyard at the Edinburgh School of Law

 

 

S-Club & Fred
S-Club & Fred

 

My god-daughter Kae-Lei Stowell & her cousin, Kenzie @ Linkey Lea
My god-daughter Kae-Lei Stowell & her cousin, Kenzie @ Linkey Lea

 

 

Dee @ Linkey Lea
Dee @ Linkey Lea

 

 

 

Li-Bau Stowell & Fergus Curran (my unofficial godsons) at Linkey Lea Festival
Li-Bau Stowell & Fergus Curran (my unofficial godsons) at Linkey Lea Festival
Dawn at TipiFest, Galloway
Dawn at TipiFest, Galloway

 

Jammin' at TipiFest
Jammin’ at TipiFest

 

 

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Mi best mate Nicky Stowell @ TipiFest

September Sun (TipiFest)
September Sun (TipiFest)

 

 

The Victor Pope Band shopping in the Corn Exchange, Leeds
The Victor Pope Band shopping in the Corn Exchange, Leeds

 

 

Me & Al Roberts at Townley Hall, Burnley
Me & Al Roberts at Townley Hall, Burnley

 

 

 

Burnley Pub Prices
Burnley Pub Prices

 

 

On the Moors over Burnley
On the Moors over Burnley

 

 

Me & the Niblings - my nephew Jacob & my niece, Rebecca (Burnley)
Me & the Niblings – my nephew Jacob & my niece, Rebecca (Burnley)

 

 

Burnley Wood
Burnley Wood

 

 

Tractor (near Worsthorne)
Tractor (near Worsthorne)

 

 

Back in Edinburgh - Derek @ The Artstation
Back in Edinburgh – Derek @ The Artstation

 

Flying Seaweed - Portobello Beach
Flying Seaweed – Portobello Beach

 

 

Lochend Park, Edinburgh
Lochend Park, Edinburgh

 

Our new pal, Dermot
Our new pal, Dermot

 

 

Wee James after a Kijiji at the Canon's Gait
Wee James after a Kijiji at the Canon’s Gait

 

 

Lochend Park
Lochend Park

 

Penicuik Estate
Penicuik Estate

 

 

More Penicuik Estate
More Penicuik Estate

 

 

Breaking Storm (Midl-othian)
Breaking Storm (Midl-othian)