Ilam Lullaby

Your daddy’s the finest, a Prince of all Mercia

The stars will guide him back to us by and by

Get fromThe Ilam Lullaby - The Dark Peak and The White

Bertram was a Prince of Mercia, the Anglo-Saxon kingdom which covered what is now the English midlands and ran north to the river Humber (north of which lay the kingdom of Northumberland).

The Saxon font

He travelled to Ireland following a religious calling, but fell in love with an Irish Princess and eloped back to Mercia. As they travelled, she bore him a child. One tragic night, Bertram was away hunting, and while mother and baby sheltered in the woods, they were attacked by wolves and both died. Heartbroken, Bertram renounced his royal title, and lived the rest of his days as a hermit in the Ilam area.

Background

St Bertram is one of Staffordshire's most famous historic figures, and lived for much of his life as a hermit in the Ilam area.  It is unclear whether he was a Prince, or in fact King of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Mercia.  He felt a religious calling and travelled on a pilgrimage to Ireland, only to fall in love and elope with an Irish Princess.  She gave birth to a child while they were travelling, but tragically, both mother and baby were killed and eaten by wolves in the forest.  Bertram renounced his royal heritage, and became a hermit in the Ilam area.  He became known as a wise and holy figure, and people would seek him out for advise and comfort.

St Bertram was buried in the Saxon church in Ilam.  The church has since been rebuilt, but his tomb remains, along with an Saxon font which, it is believed, depicts the story of St Betram.

'The Ilam Lullaby' is a song for that nameless Irish Princess, who died so tragically.  The reference to "Earendel, brightest of angels", is a direct quote from 'Crist' or 'Christ', a triad of religous Old English poems believed to have been written around the 8th or 9th century:

"Eálá Earendel engla beorhtast
Ofer middangeard monnum sended"

is translated to...

"Hail Earendel brightest of angels,
over Middle Earth sent to men"

By Bella Hardy

Hush a bye lu, my tiny darling
Hush baby sleep while the moon rules the sky
Your daddy's the finest, a Prince of all Mercia
The stars will guide him back to us by and by

Hush for your mammy, so far from her homeland
Soft the trees sway to the north winds sad song
Safe under Earendel, brightest of angels
Close those eyes quiet, and sleep the night long

Hush a bye lu, my tiny darling
Hush baby sleep while the moon rules the sky
Your daddy's the finest, a Prince of all Mercia
The stars will guide him back to us by and by

Silently sleep let no noise wake the mara
Hush now my dear one, the wolves prowl so near
Snug in nights blanket we'll join the forest slumber
Hush so the shadows of darkness won't hear

Hush a bye lu, my tiny darling
Hush baby sleep while the moon rules the sky
Your daddy's the finest, a Prince of all Mercia
The stars will guide him back to us by and by

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You can buy this track from iTunes using the link below:

The Driving of the Deer - The Dark Peak and The White

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