Discover Norwich of the past, present and future through newly commissioned poems from five brilliant writers with ties to the city. Wandering Words is a literary walk, created to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of Norwich becoming England’s first UNESCO City of Literature.
St Martin at Palace Plain
Location three: St Martin At Palace Plain, Norwich NR3 1RW
Take a leisurely meander down the cobbled streets of Elm Hill (or use the accessible route via Queen St) and turn left to enjoy the picture-perfect Quayside by Fye Bridge.
Loop back round to Palace St and you’ll find the next stop on the green opposite St Martin at Palace Church and the Wig & Pen pub. Behind you stands the magnificent Romanesque Cathedral. This was the site of a pitched battle between the King’s forces and Robert Kett’s men on 1 August 1549.
‘the rebel stone’ is written and performed by poet and performer Andy Bennett.
the rebel stone
Listen to the poem with the soundscape
Listen to the poem
Listen to the soundscape
Sound design and production by Access Creative College (Jamie Lovett).
Read ‘the rebel stone’
upon (or somewhere near) this place
fell many others // Rebel, brave //
by noble hand (or sword, or glaive),
no records show their name or face.
they get no plaques, these fallen poor,
who rose and stood beneath the Oak;
st martin’s has no headstones or
memorials for common folk,
as if they never were. asphalt
their winding sheets (you just strolled
along the path of their assault),
the Court of law smothers their grave.
try not to let that bother you //
they won the battle, lost the war,
and victors get to say what’s true
(or so I’m regularly told).
try not to think of the goodbyes
and tearful partings (how many
believed and promised welling eyes
that daddy would be back before
the humble supper could grow cold?)
this <socalledKnight> brought screams and death
to norwich lanes, and gets a stone?
yet nothing for the final breaths
of starving yeomen forced from home,
and widowed wives, and mother’s moans?
i guess that’s up to me. the curse
of poesy // write what history lacks,
engraving lapidarian verse
to compensate the dearth of plaques;
commemorate rebellion, and
with fervoured eye (falchion in hand),
proclaim the fallen rebels’ last entreaty:
remember us, if only in graffiti.
Andy Bennett is a poet and performer. He has performed at fringes and festivals across the country, and once toured an anarchic puppet show around Finland. He wrote and performed two full-length shows at the Edinburgh Fringe – Late, Late Romantic (2015) and Random Chants (2016) before – in true Romantic style – developing a chronic disease, and deciding that those Scottish hills were a little too much for a chap of such limited mobility. He is a founder of the 28 Sonnets Later collective, but after 10 years of that, he is starting to wonder how Shakespeare kept up his enthusiasm for the form.
A Norfolk & Norwich Festival and National Centre for Writing presentation, programmed by the National Centre for Writing.
A special thank you to our sound production partners Access Creative College: Harry Love, Jamie Lovett, William Plane, Mia Rodwell and Bill Skipp, supported by Matt Munford, Jonny Cole and Dylan Barber.