Welcome to Missing Histories of Frome - Apocryphal stories for the Frome Festival 2015
This town has quite a theme of black feathered birds, with Hunting Raven Books, Rook Lane Chapel and even the Black Swan. Four and twenty black birds feature in the town as do black feathers at The Chicken House (formerly the Black Cock)
So why this abundance of dark feathers, and why should they flock to Frome?
Well this unusual rhyme may be part of the mystery, or just add to it further.
A Parliament of Rooks all standing in a row
Each with axe in hand its down to Frome they go
Searching in the gutters through all corners of the town
They swing the chopping cutters
To strike the Duke and his kingdom down
Though the specifics are now lost in history it would appear that the Duke of Monmouth who's rebellion started in a town close to Frome is the culprit referred to in the poem. (He was also responsible for building a house on cork street).
At what point in time or more specifically when is difficult to tell but it is terribly inaccurate as the Duke of Monmouth, though recruited an army from these parts was actually captured in Hampshire. This was after the defeat at the Battle of Sedgemoor after which he was then executed by Jack Ketch in London. It was said that it took eight blows to sever his head though reports do vary on this.
What ever the truth the poem is still quite a curiosity.
Walk up Rook Lane with the Chapel to your left, you should head left when you come to a car park and then through the snickleway on to Sheppards Barton