With ‘Chelmund’s Cross’ being added to the public vote to rename Craig Croft Village Centre, local artist and amateur historian RONNIE CASHMORE shares the ancient legend of the Saxon Ceolmund who gives Chelmsley Wood its name.
CHELMUND was a Saxon. He was big and hairy and only had one eye, he lost the other in a battle.
Chelmund had enough of battle so he decided to become a farmer instead. He remembered a beautiful wooded place, next to a river where the forest floor was covered in a carpet of bluebells.
“I’ll have my farm here,” he thought and went off to find his axe to start chopping down trees.
However, he soon discovered he was not alone in the forest. For the forest was full of elf-like creatures known as Woodlings.
The Woodlings didn’t want Chelmund chopping their trees.
They decided to play all sorts of tricks on Chelmund night and day.
“Right”, said Chelmund, “I’ve had enough of this.” Chelmund called his Saxons chums together. “Are you up for battle?” he said. “You bet we are,” they all replied.
They all rushed off to get their swords, spears and assortment of other weapons. Meanwhile, the Woodlings also went off to sharpen some sticks, find good stones for throwing and get their bows and arrows.
The night before the big battle, Chelmund and his chums sat around the campfire drinking mead. One of the Woodlings crept from the undergrowth and stole a cask of the honey wine and took it back to other Woodlings. When the Woodlings tasted it they found they really liked it. They liked it so much, they decided not to go to battle.
Instead they decided to make an agreement. If Chelmund provided them with 13 casks of honey wine per year, on 21 July, the Woodlings would allow Chelmund to cut down some trees and get on with his farming.
Both Saxons and Woodlings shook hands and all decided to be Woodies.
Chelmund’s Day is now celebrated on July 21 each year and it’s said that the 13 trees which grow in a circle where the sculpture of Chelmund once stood, represent the 13 casks of honey wine.