The rains relented overnight revealing sun to bless the day
And so on Gringolet I ride the rolling road below the ridge
Where ancient men lie buried still in mounds majestic overhead;
And on to this shire’s soft edge I go and down to see Bygrave below.
This place has history as betrayed by boundaries of its bold fields
Which have the centuries survived as Saxon relics still and true
When others all around did under evil threat so ease to be enclosed;
A market place it once was but now more music do we hear
From roaming red kites high above than any padding in this street.
Yet Margaret of Antioch is here mild among this springtime bliss –
She presides in such a place as will most sweetly calm
The troubled minds of those who mingle mid the graves
And by the marshy moats which men once dug upon this mound
When few but brave men felt compelled to make their fortunes here
And those that did played nine men’s morris meekly by the church.
A simple place, blanched white in sun and shining like
A beacon in lands dark, remote, or bleak or bad
And which now are but a less-viewed vestige of a vanished age.
Let ancient Bygrave calm you too and capture in your troubled head
A time when folk did wander free
And played at idle sports
Below the shadow of some tree
In harvest time cohorts.
Bygrave in the county of Hertford is an ancient settlement which today sleeps atop rolling countryside just below the Royston Ridge. The church, St Margaret of Antioch, contains much of interest, including wall paintings, a fifteenth century font and the remains of a mediaeval rood screen. Parts of the building are Saxon in origin. The field system surrounding the village are of particular note; research shows that it was never enclosed. This landscape sensitivity report does give some cause for alarm, given that this ancient landscape has survived for so long. This particular survival is miraculous and it is Sir Gawain’s view that all must be done to protect it for future generations so they can know and understand how our ancestors lived.