Attention: Please take a moment to consider our terms and conditions before posting.

A Spot Called Crayford: The Legend of Hengest

With nothing happening with the take over I thought I would put up something for the history buffs on here. I know there are a lot of Addicks on here interested in local history and I thought they would be interested in a film made by young people in Crayford about the Battle of Crayford which is recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 456AD. Last summer ( stupidly during the world cup so missed the France Belgium game) we staged a battle recreation on Mount Nod (St Paulinus School Fields) Crayford, between two local primary schools. Details of the project are on our new Crayford History website: https://www.crayfordhistory.org.uk/

The film was part of a community project by a small group I run in the summer holidays: CRAY. The film is called ‘A Spot Called Crayford: The Legend of Hengest.’ It takes its inspiration from an entry in the Anglo Saxon Chronicle. This describes how the Britons fought and lost the Battle of Crecganford (Crayford) against the legendary Anglo-Saxon warrior Hengest and his son Aesc, a future King of Kent:

A.D. 456. This year Hengest and Ash his son fought with the Britons on the spot that is called Crayford, and there slew 4000 men, and the Britons then left the land of Kent, and in great fear fled to London.

This is a significant event, as it is part of the foundation story of England. An ancient local legend would have us believe that the four thousand dead Britons were buried in Crayford beneath Mount Nod, which is the hill that runs between the River Cray and Iron Mill Lane near the site of St. Paulinus Church.This project investigates the importance of this battle, the legend of Hengest and discovers the stories of how the Anglo Saxons came to rule Kent.

You can see three films we created on the following links:

This is our documentary filmed at the British Museum and King's College London


This is a cgi film made by the talented Rob Nutter and British Museum archaeologist Kate Morton



This is a short aniamtion of the battle created by children from St Paulinus CE Prmary and Holy Trinity Primary


«1

Comments

  • Thanks for that. I never knew anything about it.
  • Thanks for commenting Baldybonce. Are you local? I was hoping to get some feedback comments before writing the final report for project funders HLF, and thought there might be some interest on here. As you say it’s something very few local people know about. I learnt a lot doing this project. I never knew that Hengest’s story linked to the legend of King Arthur. I am giving a talk about the project to the Bexley Historical Society on Monday.
  • Thanks for commenting Baldybonce. Are you local? I was hoping to get some feedback comments before writing the final report for project funders HLF, and thought there might be some interest on here. As you say it’s something very few local people know about. I learnt a lot doing this project. I never knew that Hengest’s story linked to the legend of King Arthur. I am giving a talk about the project to the Bexley Historical Society on Monday.

    Born and bred in Greenwich /Charlton.
  • what about his bro. Horsa ?
  • Horsa does get a mention but Hengest’s story begins in Frisia at the Battle of Finnsburg. If you watch the film you will see Horsa gets into the story. If you do watch it please post feedback as it will be great for our evaluation.
  • I lived on Hengist Road in Northumberland Heath, and the next road along is Horsa Road. Now i know where it comes from, thanks.
  • Yes I know both roads. Street names are often the only clues around for local history. The website we set up crayfordhistory.org.uk was set up to provide info on a number of local stories. The Sam Bartram animation is on there by the way it’s called Bartram the Blitz and Beyond and is the story of. Crayford evacuee whose hero is Big Sam.
  • Yes I know both roads. Street names are often the only clues around for local history. The website we set up crayfordhistory.org.uk was set up to provide info on a number of local stories. The Sam Bartram animation is on there by the way it’s called Bartram the Blitz and Beyond and is the story of. Crayford evacuee whose hero is Big Sam.

    If you want a big audience for this send a tweet or email Bernard Cornwell's twitter or site.
    Very relevant to the books he writes and probably very interesting to his readers.
  • As a bexley resident all my life, I had never heard any of this before. Very interesting, i shall definitely be passing this on in the next visit to the pub.
  • Wantsum Brewery make a strong golden ale called Hengist, we have it regularly at the Pond.
    Heng.jpeg
    469 x 500 - 170K
  • Sponsored links:


  • Two very good & interesting films @BartramBlitz .. the pupils and staff at St Paulinus can be very proud of themselves and their achievements .. Hollywood beckons ((:>)
  • Thanks to everyone here who took the time to feedback to me.
  • Very interesting thread
    Hengist and Horsa were also names of characters in Carry on Cleo and as ValleyGary says roads in North Heath opp the old Erith school west where I was allegedly edukatid.
  • More of this please. Great videos.
  • Thanks Greenie and Bromleyjohn for your comments. Yes I knew about Hengest and Horsa roads in Nothumberland Heath long before I realised the local connection on their stories. Hengest and Horsa were well known in Edwardian period when the roads were built as their story was taught in schools as the foundation of England. It’s strange that their legend has faded but King Arthur’s story still burns bright.
  • Thanks for posting this @BartramBlitz very interesting. Would this period be the origin of the symbolic white horse of Kent and the red dragon of Wales?
  • Greenie said:

    Very interesting thread
    Hengist and Horsa were also names of characters in Carry on Cleo and as ValleyGary says roads in North Heath opp the old Erith school west where I was allegedly edukatid.

    Surname Pod if I recall correctly .
  • Hengest means stallion and Horsa means horse. The is a strong belief that this is where the white horse of Kent comes from. However, the earliest written source for this is in the 16th century. Nevertheless, when you look at symbols of areas in Germany ie Hannover and Holland (Twente) they also use the rampant white horse symbol.

    The red dragon of the Welsc, (foreigner in old English) fights with the white dragon of England at the end of the Hengest story at the point Merlin comes into the story. This comes from Geoffrey of Monmouth and is where the story becomes complete fantasy. However, Geoffrey was writing in the 12th century and the Arturial myth that he promoted is so strong that it certainly links to the red dragon becoming the symbol of Wales.
  • Never knew he was in Carry on Cleo, we obviously missed that! I will try and look out for that on You Tube.
  • Hengest means stallion and Horsa means horse. The is a strong belief that this is where the white horse of Kent comes from. However, the earliest written source for this is in the 16th century. Nevertheless, when you look at symbols of areas in Germany ie Hannover and Holland (Twente) they also use the rampant white horse symbol.

    The red dragon of the Welsc, (foreigner in old English) fights with the white dragon of England at the end of the Hengest story at the point Merlin comes into the story. This comes from Geoffrey of Monmouth and is where the story becomes complete fantasy. However, Geoffrey was writing in the 12th century and the Arturial myth that he promoted is so strong that it certainly links to the red dragon becoming the symbol of Wales.

    I think Geoffrey of Monmouth was probably partial to a mushroom omelette using only those collected from sacred sites.
  • Sponsored links:


  • Yes I think Geoffrey of Monmouth would have fitted in during the 60s writing make believe stories on lsd
  • Excellent work. Truth of Anglo Saxon period will never be fully revealed because there was nothing written down by people whose history was kept by oral tradition.
    Closing piece impressed me suggesting this generation having an opportunity to apply an open enquiring mind to history. The children of Cray are showing the way. Very impressed
  • Thanks for the feedback Dippenhall. I am hoping to quote some of the feedback in my HLF report.

    Hengest’s story is a great one to consider what history actually is. All of the key sources show bias even the more reliable. ones like Bede. Children could easily pick up that Geoffrey of Monmouth was just a story teller. It was good to let them decide what was probable in the story and what was fantasy.
  • Anyone who has seen the film and has not commented please add comments before the thread drops.
  • fascinating stuff
  • Very interesting.
  • I believe that the origin of the white horse of Kent which was allegedly displayed on Hengist's banner as he fought the Britons is Sleipnir, the steed of Odin (Woden).

    Interestingly, some representations of Sleipnir found elsewhere have extra pairs of hooves for added speed/awesomeness.

    It is great to see young people taking an interest in their local history, as well as their origins. It amazes me that children in this country are not taught the origins of their country and culture as I was as a child. However, that is a can of worms which is best left unopened.....
  • Very interesting comment bigstermarra and thanks Ben for watching the film. Once again any feedback welcomed for our HLf report.
  • St Paulinus church has a Norman wall and a lot of Norman buildings were built on former important Saxon sites--- the church use to produce a small booklet of its history
  • A bit late to this sorry but made time to watch just now Peter, as ever fascinating stuff you do with the young historians of tomorrow.

    This was an excellent example of using local history as a vehicle to study & understand the essential principles of good history, namely:

    (i) Sources, their reliability, the objectiveness and how to responsibly interpret them,
    (ii) Physical evidence, whether through topographical features or archaeological artifacts,
    (iii) Legends & myths, how they evolved and whether they have any relevant basis on fact,
    (iii) Historiography, why things were written or recorded and most importantly, understanding how the time they were written impacts on their slant

    With all four of these bases covered it made for a compelling insight into such an important part of our nation and regions history, it was certainly something I knew nothing about and inspired me to discover more so well done to everyone who took part ensuring Hengest and Horsa remain part of our story today.

    I look forward to your next project and can't wait to put the Nothern Picts of Peterborough to the sword in a couple of weeks now!
Sign In or Register to comment.

Roland Out!