Thursday, April 11, 2013

Guest Post: Mousehold Heath: Maria's Walk Through History and Heather

Mousehold Heath:

Today I’d like to share with you a post written by my very sweet and talented friend, Maria. We have been best friends since New Year’s Eve, 2000, which just happens to be the night we met! We clicked instantly and have been inseparable ever since, at least in spirit! You see, Maria and her family relocated to England a few years after our initial meeting, but lucky for me, the family visits Crete every summer and when it does, we spend quality time together, reminiscing, pondering, wondering, laughing and crying, all accompanied by our favourite dishes and Crete's dramatic sunsets. 


Maria, who is a teacher and postgraduate student, recently took a family trip to Mousehold Heath, a famous woodland and nature reserve near the town of Norwich, England. There, she found herself deeply mesmerized in its presence, reflecting on the area’s history, while rummaging through its hauntingly beautiful heathland.  Upon visiting her unique blog about pre-Elizabethan England, you will be further intrigued with her captivating style of writing, evident in her well researched essays discussing English history. I was truly taken by this memorable account of  her thoughts and feelings about the place, as I'm sure, you will be.  Enjoy!           
A view of Norwich from Mousehold Heath:

Mousehold Heath

My Easter weekend in England was spent in Norfolk, mainly near and at the historic city of Norwich. It's a part of England I have always wanted to visit, specifically for its historic significance. Aside from the medieval relics and shrines which pilgrims from far and wide would visit, such as the Our Lady of Walsingham shrine, Norfolk contains sites where some of the most dramatic moments in English history occurred - one of which is Mousehold Heath. 

Arriving at the site, I felt a rush of anticipation and excitement at the thought of walking in the footsteps of thousands of brave men who camped and fought as part of a rebellion in the name of the common man against the forces of repression. In 1549, during the reign of Edward VI, Robert Kett and his men numbering in the region of 4000 engaged in a massive rebellion which verged on civil war against enclosures erected by the aristocracy and the landed gentry. Mousehold Heath was their camp site. Here they remained for weeks, camped in defiance of the law and the army. They slaughtered local livestock for their survival and organised their next plan of action. Ultimately, their rebellion was crushed under Protector Somerset's leadership by the Earl of Warwick and an army of 14,000 men including foreign mercenaries. The men were slaughtered and those who were captured were hung, drawn and quartered.

As I walked with my family and friends through the woodland, I knew they were oblivious to my thoughts and sentiments. I felt a sense of detachment and isolation in my preoccupation as I contemplated the magnitude of what had once occurred in this beautiful and peaceful woodland park. Ghostly apparitions - products of my over-active imagination - presented themselves in various spots. Here they lit a fire. There they slaughtered a cow. Around the corner they trained in armed combat, while next to them men sharpened their weapons. These ancient apparitions seemed somehow strangely tranquil and benign in the peaceful serenity of Easter Sunday, 2013. Their presence was not one of turbulence and anticipated doom, but one of hope and liberation. In my romantic mind's eye I envisioned Spartan-like brave warriors preparing for the ultimate sacrifice.

My family's laughter and chatter rudely interrupted my pensive mood, when a friend discovered a rope attached to a tree branch with a piece of wood tied at the end in the shape of a swing's seat. They took it in turn to jump on the rope and swing before jumping off. Such happy, frivolous playfulness - similar to countless other examples of families and children who grew up in the area and have visited the site for leisure and exploration. I wondered how many of these casual visitors ever stopped to contemplate the plight of Robert Kett and his rebels? Or is it just the indulgence of the occasional sensitive history enthusiasts, who seek to walk in the footsteps of ancestors while recreating dramatic moments in their mind's eye?

'Heather and Gorse', Vivienne Bradshaw

Thank you Maria for an intriguing account 
of your adventure at Mousehold Heath!

Thanks for visiting, everyone!

Sharing at:
Say G'Day Saturday
Home Sweet Home
Be Inspired
Home and Garden Thursday
Open House Thursday
Feathered Nest Friday
Show and Tell Friday
Make it Pretty Monday


  1. I agree with the above. Thank you for letting me visit England for a spell:) never have and I truly enjoyed it!

  2. Wow it is so pretty. I am a new follower. Stop by and see my roses.

  3. I would guess there is a pretty even mix of people who visit for leisure and people who visit for history. As long as everyone is happy, it is a good day :)

  4. Wow..Maria that was nice to read almost felt like I was have a great friend poppy!!


  5. Very interesting indeed. A piece of history always incite an imagination. England is on my bucket list of countries I will be visiting soon.

    You are blessed to have a friend like Maria.



  6. Thanks for the introduction Poppy! Such a talented individual. I have yet to visit London .. it's on my bucket list. Have a nice weekend! xxleslie

  7. Hi, Poppy and Maria!
    Enjoyed this lovely guest post on Mousehold Heath! Thank you, Maria. I travel frequently to England, and have yet to visit this historical woodland or that part of the country. I noticed it is over an hour or so from Cambridge, where I have friends. Will look forward to a future visit.
    Cheers from DC,

  8. A very interesting and beautifully written post indeed!

  9. Thank you for sharing this post with us, Poppy. Your dear friend writes beautifully and I could see that place come alive via her words. I love learning new things and I had no knowledge of this battle or this particular place in England.

    Thanks so much for joining in this week!


  10. Dear Poppy and her lovely, kind followers. Thank you Poppy for your immaculate treatment of my post and your lovely introduction. I feel humbled and honoured to have been chosen as your guest. Thanks to all the kind people who made their generous comments. I hope you do get to visit this stunning part of England or any part of the country for that matter. You don't have to be a history enthusiast to enjoy the rich culture and natural beauty it has to offer. Loi, you are right. Cambridge is not far from Norfolk, and in fact we stopped at Cambridge on our way to Norwich for coffee - another spectacular place to visit.

    Thanks again,

    Maria xo

  11. Mousehold Heath is a lovely and magical looking place. I think I see fairies peeking out from behind the tree trunks and running through the ferns!

    Big Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  12. Poppy, Thanks for introducing Maria to us and sharing beautiful Mousehold Heath. I am on my way to check out her blog.

  13. just discovering your blog and this anglophile is thrilled!

    when i go to england this fall will be looking up this wonderful setting, very intrigued

  14. Very interesting post. Thanks for stopping by and glad to meet Maria.
    Mary Alice

  15. Η φιλία είναι αξία στη ζωή μας, να είστε πάντα τόσο καλά μαζί !
    Μας μετέφερες όμορφες εικόνες,
    σε φιλώ !

  16. That first photo is just gorgeous! I look forward to visiting her blog. Thank you for sharing this at the HomeAcre Hop! Look forward to seeing you tomorrow:


  17. Terrific guest post - lovely to share and to make new friends! Love this scenery - reminds me of gorgeous scenes in Pride and Prejudice. I do appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,

  18. Hi & thanks for your comment on my blog today, I read your comment on my phone whilst stopping at a coffee shop with my daughter, the link back to your own blog for some reason took me to this post. Very spooky as we'd just driven through Mousehold on our way to the coffee!


Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate hearing from all of you! Have a great day!