Monday, February 27, 2017

Bloody Alice of Abergavenny

A screaming wraith atop a cliff
Writhing in an orgasm of slaughter.
One-by-one seventy men
Did she depatch with an ever blunting blade of an axe.
~ Lyrics of Bloody Alice (of Abergavenny) by Mael Mordha

The Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland had its share of bloody moments, but perhaps none so macabre as the Battle of Baginbun Head and the legendary actions of Alice of Abergavenny. 

Image by Kid Eternity
The Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland commenced with the landing of Robert fitz Stephen and Maurice de Prendergast at Bannow Bay in May 1169. The second wave of Anglo-Normans, lead by Raymond le Gros, landed about the 1st of May 1170 at Baginbun south of Fethard-on-Sea on the Hook Head peninsula in Wexford. Le Gross, who had 10 men at arms and 70 archers, was joined by Hervey de Montmorency with a few more, and established a defended camp at Baginbun constructed of banks and ditches with a palisade. Le Gros and his men were attacked at Baginbun by a combined force of 3,000 Norsemen drawn from the City of Waterford and their Irish allies. Although outnumbered the Normans managed to drive off the attackers and take prisoners. Too late for (servant girl) Alice of Abergavenny whose bethrothed / lover was killed. She took an axe to the seventy prisoners the Normans had taken and sent them to their deaths, dumping their corpses over the cliff-edge. 

Le Gross remained at Baginbun until Strongbow landed near Waterford on the 23rd of August with an army of 1,200 and their combined forces took the City of Waterford on the 25th of August. 

And what of Alice - it seems she is destined to remain a mystery.

Modern Baginbun
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