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In what is now the back garden of a house –

a between-the-wars semi – in Mold, a town

in North East Wales, a gang of labourers,

one hundred and seventy years ago,

hired to demolish a burial mound –

known as Bryn yr Ellyllon, Goblin’s Hill –

uncovered what seemed to be small sheets of brass

on a small, fragmentary skeleton.

Cleaned, fitted together, a local scholar

declared them a Bronze Age cape of gold,

perhaps made to fit a royal child.


Since then the cape has been exhibited

in a glass case in the British Museum.

Imperial kleptocracy at work.

An artefact of such exquisite design

and craftsmanship could not have been allowed

to remain in a small market town where most

did not speak English, and were illiterate

in their own language. It was a place ringed

by the mining of iron, lead and coal;

a place where a riot about workers’ rights –

a reduction in wages, and miners

forbidden their mother tongue underground –

required four rioters to be shot dead

by soldiers of the King’s Own regiment.


After the discovery the mound was

completely razed. No record has been found

of the disposal of the bones.





Note: Ellyllon is pronounced ‘ethleethlon’




© Copyright David Selzer
2 Responses
  • Catherine Reynolds
    August 27, 2021

    A sad commentary on the acquisition of sacred artefacts by one country from another. A right deemed worthy by the victors of lands conquered a millennium ago. No respect for the child lost to the ages and no recognition for this ancient kingdom of druids. You paint a mournful picture yet give sanctity to the despoiled grave and the times far beyond memory. You bring us to the recent past, through the eyes of a historian, mindful of class struggles against dreadful and callous indifference to starvation and penury. More lives cast away by those who rule and who demand compliance.

  • John Huddart
    August 31, 2021

    What are bones? Ashes? But art is what we aspire to be. Needs to be seen and marvelled at. There’s a debate here……

    Thanks for discovering this, in poetry, for it should not have been a story lost.

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