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’