A Soldier Among Them

This is from another of my obscure history books, Syd Tyrrel’s A Countryman’s Tale, the story of a small village , Eydon, in south Norhamptonshire, ie about the centre of England. This comes from the parish register:

29 October 1642 ‘One Birminham, a soldier of ye King’s army and wounded at ye battel of Edgehill was buryed with us.’

The author suggested that the man was confused, that he perhaps came from Birmingham and the parish clerk wrote it down wrong. But, as he says, if that is so the man was going the wrong way.

I am fascinated by those last two words. It suggests this man, far from home, and must have struggled to get there, did not die alone, or unmourned. It suggests a community that embraced this stranger as one of their own. It also suggests a sense of continuity within the community; he was not with their ancestors, but remained a part of the world of the living. There is so much said, and yet unsaid, in this handful of words in the register.

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