Brookland Road

(notes by Philip Holberton)


Published with “Marklake Witches” in Rewards and Fairies (1910).

Peter Bellamy’s rendition is here.

Notes on the Text

[Title] Brookland: a village in Kent in the middle of Romney Marsh. The singer has once seen a fairy maid and fallen in love with her and cannot think of anyone else although he knows he can never marry her.

[Chorus line 2] Where the liddle green lanterns shine: In the Puck stories, liddle (little) green lights are a sign of the fairies: see “Dymchurch Flit” (Puck of Pooks Hill) p. 266:

“The Pharisees favoured the Marsh above the rest of Old England. They’d flash their liddle green lights along the diks”

[‘diks’ were ditches]

[Verse 2 line 2] duntin’: knocking with a dull sound [Oxford English Dictionary].

[Verse 4 line 2]  Let be, O Brookland Bells: These were the bells of St Augustine’s church (right) a ring of five bells in Kipling’s day.

The theme of bells talking of marriage is found already in ‘As the Bell Clinks’.

[Verse 4 line 3] Old Goodman: Kipling asks in a footnote whether this is Earl Godwin of the Goodwin Sands. The Sands, a dangerous line of shoals off the Kentish coasts are traditionally the remnants of an island property of Godwin, the eleventh-century Earl of Wessex, and one of the most powerful men in the realm.

([Verse 6 line 1] Fairfield: a village with a lone church (left) on Romney Marsh, very close to Brookland.


waterbound: the middle of Romney Marsh is liable to be flooded all winter


[Verse 6 line 4] my bells: in this context, wedding bells

©Philip Holberton 2020 All rights reserved