St Martin at Palace Plain
A Wandering Words commission by poet and performer Andy Bennett

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.

You can download a Wandering Words map here and embark on the walk yourself, or follow along online by listening to the poem and soundscape below. Explore Wandering Words in full here →


St Martin at Palace Plain

Location four: 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.


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.

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Calendar

16th March 2023

Digital Storytelling
Festivals
New Writing
Norwich UNESCO City of Literature
Poetry
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