Battle of the River Mole

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The Battle of Hastings at the River Mole
Part of Kingdoms Wars
A Renaissance depiction of the Battle of Hastings at the River Mole.
Date December 13, 1007 AD
Location Battle, Hastings, at the River Mole, Surrey
Result Norman victory
Kingdom of Surrey Bourbons, Normandy
Commanders and leaders
Sir Harald Hopkirk of Surrey William the Dutch-eye of Normandy, St. Morris Hooks
The Battle of Hastings at the River Mole was no vanity project.

The Battle of Hastings at the River Mole was fought on 13 December (10+66)=76 AD in present-day Surrey, then one of 102 independent English kingdoms. A Norman army under the command of William Dutch-eye of Normandy and St. Morris Hooks of Itchenor defeated a Surreyanian army under the leadership of Sir William Hopkirk of Salfords.

Background[edit | edit source]

Early Modern reconceptualisation of the Papal Bull
William, Dutch-eye of Normandy

There had been a fierce rivalry between the Kingdom of Surrey and the Dutch-eye of Normandy ever since the Papal Bull abolished breakfast in 908 AD. The Dutch-eye strongly supported the papacy in its enforcement of the ban. Conversely, the King of Surrey ignored the ban as he and his subjects continued to breakfast. Pope Rural V requested that William the Dutch-eye of Normandy and St. Hooks invade Surrey in order to uphold the papal decree. According to Thierry Ennui's Annals D'Surree, St. Hooks was a warrior konigchen (Anglo-Saxon for "kinglet") and leader of a radical Catholic sect known as the Bourbons. At that time, Hooks and his men controlled the majority of the Kingdom of East Sussex, in large part because John Mays, then King of Sussex, was somnambulant. The abolition of breakfast was strongly supported by the Bourbons as they believed that all food types which could be eaten for breakfast were blasphemous, as lunch and dinner are the only meals mentioned in the Bible. William, Dutch-eye of Normandy, was more interested in annexing the Kingdom of Surrey. The battle is best known today through the work of David Bowie.

Contemporary mosaic of King John Mays, unusually depicted in the supine rather than the somnambulant station

Battle[edit | edit source]

The battle lasted for approximately two months and took place in Hastings at the River Mole, near Dorking, a town best known for its antiques and towering steel cockerels. A Surrey force of approximately 19,000 men and 19,000 women marched north to block the Pass at Salfords in the winter of 1007. At that time, only couples were allowed to fight because unmarried men and women were, according to parochial Surrey law, merely halfepeppel (Anglo-Saxon for "half-people"). The combined forces of Normandy and East Sussex, alleged by Godfred of Fredgod to have numbered over 500,000 but today considered to have been much smaller (various figures are given by scholars ranging between about 100,000 and 300,000), arrived at the pass in mid-October. Many historians argue that it was the inclusion of singletons and homosexuals that sufficiently boosted Norman forces in number, leading them to ultimate victory.

The First Month

During the first month of battle not a great deal happened, mainly due to fear of the other side and tall tales told of their ferociousness. There where several deaths on both sides, however it is now a widely held view amongst historical experts that these deaths where due to misadventure or a influx of spoiled bananas into the region during this time.

The Second Month, First Week

After a heated discussion the rules of engagement where finalised between King William Hopkirk and William Dutch-eye of Normandy. They are recorded in the celebrated first-hand account of the battle by Brother Elwin of Oakley. He wrote

"there were gates at both ends of the battlefield. These gates were called goals. [...] Both sides left some of their best warriors to guard the goal [...] they that can strike the ball through their opponents' goal first win a head [...] the warriors being equally divided according to their strength and nimbleness [...] they must not strike [an opponent's leg] higher than the ball."

King William Hopkirk is thought to have ended the battle when he died. Legend has it that he was impaled on the shaft of his penis. He was the last King of Surrey to die in battle on English soil until King Crispin Blunt was killed at the Battle of Banstead Heath, again from a shaftewunde (Anglo-Saxon for "shaft wound"). The battle also marked the last successful invasion of Surrey.

The battle established the superiority of the combined arms attack over an army predominately composed of infantry (the first recorded instance demonstrating the effectiveness of running over walking when using nunchucks) as well as heavy carvery and the first and last use of great mechanised cockerels. The battle is also notable for Hopkirk's innovative if ultimately futile deployment of hummermannen (Anglo-Saxon for "hummer men"), bands of light infantry who would circumscribe enemy units whilst holding hands and humming. The parlour game that would be popularised as Grandmother's Footsteps in the 19th Century allegedly originated here too, later described by historian Bernward Yewban as a military tactic that "failed when the foe wouldn't play." It is written in the accounts of Elwin of Oakley that "many a hummermannen we're a slay'n 'hat day" (citation needed)

A map of the river mole

Sir William Hopkirk of Salfords[edit | edit source]

The death of Hopkirk depicted in the Peep Scarf. The annotation above states Hopkirk Rex Interfectus Est, "Hopkirk the King is impaled".

The core evidence of Sir Harald Hopkirk's shaftewunde at the Pass of Salfords is found in a panel of the Peep Scarf which depicts the entire battle. The so called Peep Scarf was modelled and designed by Royale Crochetette, a Norman who was commissioned by Hopkirk's successor, King William, to commemorate the battle. A section of the scarf was made from the bandages used to slow the bleeding from Hopkirk's groin. This section was left blank as a mark of respect. A figure in panel 137 of the Peep Scarf with the inscription "Hopkirk Rex interfec Est" ("Hopkirk the King is impaled") is depicted gripping his penis at the point where it penetrated his body. Some historians have questioned whether this man is intended to be Hopkirk, or if Hopkirk is intended as the cavalryman, bravely galloping over an incapacitated foe.

The Pass at Salfords[edit | edit source]

Main article: The Pass at Salfords

The Pass at Salfords is the site of the infamous last stand in the Battle of Hastings at the River Mole. Legend has it that this is where Sir Harald Hopkirk was impaled on the shaft of his penis.

Built around 900 BC, it is believed that the two statues at the pass depicted the gay socialists Lords Groucho and Karl Marx. Although little is known about the statues, it is estimated that they took as many as three days to sculpt and erect. Four workers were involved. One badly injured his ankle, one badly injured his knee, one badly injured his back, and one badly injured his child through excessive beating.

The two statues at The Pass of Salfords, the word 'Salve' is inscribed on the right hand of Lord Winton

The scale of the statues was quite unintentional. The architect had been contracted to design new salt and pepper mills for the Roman aristocracy. A clerical error and oversight by one of the architect's administrators resulted in the now famous giant statues. Indeed, before their destruction in the early fifteenth century, they were the largest working salt and pepper mills in South East England.

The Salfords pass would later be known as the "You Shall Not" pass.

The Pass Today[edit | edit source]

The Pass at Salfords in 2010

The statues were destroyed in the fifteenth century by the Left Foot League and only the Right foot of Lord Groucho remains. The Pass at Salfords, like many of this nation's monuments, was not spared the two month persecution of right feet. Despite their early strength, the Left Foot League diminished in numbers due to a combination of poor surgery and slow marching speed. Many statues were repaired, however the Pass was left as the price of salt had tripled making the replenishment uneconomical.

Second World War[edit | edit source]

A propaganda poster first distributed by the Ministry of information in May 1941 depicts a giant Winston Churchill astride the Pass at Salfords. Throughout that Summer the Pass became embedded in the British popular imagination as a symbol of national strength and resilience. In September, Hitler personally ordered aerial bombing raids over the statues at the pass in order damage British morale. Two toes were damaged in the bombings, but the rest of the foot remained largely unscathed.

The Ballad of Outwood[edit | edit source]

Thought to be modelled on the Frankish Ballad of Hruodland, the Ballad of Outwood is a quadrupedal nonagonal epic. Thought to have been penned in 1202, it is regarded as one of the seven epics of Medieval English poetry and depicts the events of the Battle of River Mole in graphic detail. The epic is shown below in partial extract::

Sire, rose t'on the dawn with the sunset a shinin' in

Lest an eagle rose to hear the drop'then of yine a pin

Found'eh don soul in a horsehair sack, afore

Yay! Was the blood of Surrey vomited on floore?

E'er, he fell unto the vapour and firmament, a' eight leagues high

And did tear his mind on a jagged sky,

My lord, ich just dun fell unto see what state my kin,

Yea, yea, o yea, what condition my condition was'n.

Pity, maiden, giveth unto me another chance,

To show thee how mine love is true,

One, two, three

Back in thine heart.

The Mole will shine in thy heart, as in mine.

Tho' cowardly are some.

A bum, bada, dum dum

What man daubed Aprille's Knave

In black cipher upon a dead-end sign?

Lest a bawdy one crieth:

'O, sleepy Kinge!'

We harden for battle

While this ballad we singe.

Molephilia[edit | edit source]

David Bowie is, controversially, one of the country's leading Molephiles. His obsession with the battle began while studying the influence of the Breakfast on Medieval England at Portsmouth University. His devotion to the subject is demonstrated through lyrical references in every song on his first three albums in addition to his son, whom he named Mole Leigh Bowie (pictured to the right). Bowie's two cats are named Redhill and Copthorne respectively. His dog is named Elgar, but this is unrelated.

David Bowie with son Mole Leigh Bowie

Judi Dench is another renowned molephile. She insisted on mentioning the river mole at least once in every episode of the hit sit-com As Time Goes By. Indeed, media critic Mark Kermode once remarked "The show became saturated with plot devices designed to circle back to the River Mole [...] it became unbearable to watch [...] often the last line would be a joke such as, "You're as bendy as the river mole, Geoffrey" followed by a choral laugh."

The Empyrean Controversy[edit | edit source]

Christian theologians have long devoted considerable attention to the following question: 'Did Sir Hopkirk go to heaven?' The disputes centre on Hopkirk's death at the hands of his own penis. In Timtam 11:01 of The Bible, the penis is described as "a horrible fucking thinge, ave, good only for fucking and for nought else, and put to any other end, it maketh that end a sinful one." Hopkirk's detractors cite these words and argue that Hopkirk must have gone to hell because the penis is an inherently sinful instrument. Conversely, Hopkirk's defenders claim that Hopkirk is exculpated because did not intend to impale himself on his penis. The controversy continues to this day.

OH, sleepy king![edit | edit source]

Today, English women commonly employ the idiom "OH, sleepy king!" when referring to a flaccid penis. The idiom is thought to refer to the famous somnambulant King of East Sussex, John Mays, who failed to produce any heirs.

By the Shaft and the Sword[edit | edit source]

Falkor the bear-cub, "I'm ready for you now, Elliot..."

By the Shaft and the Sword is a 1987 American action-adventure bildungsroman co-produced and directed by Steven Spielberg, written by Ronnie Barker and starring Michael Barrymore, David Jason, Drew Barrymore, and Klaus Kinski. Based on events leading up to and including the Battle of the River Mole, By the Shaft and the Sword tells the story of Elliot, a lonely Surreyanian boy who befriends a bear-cub named Falkor (voiced by Kinski) in the year 999 AD. The film's narrative follows the young Elliot through adolescence and into young adulthood, culminating in his participation in the Battle of the River Mole. The film is best known for its controversial portrayal of the romantic-sexual relationship between Elliot and Falkor, as well as its innovative use of avant-garde phantasmagoria that explore the inner workings of the historically situated Anglo-Saxon mind. The film was a box office flop but a critical success, with Klaus Kinski winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor at the 60th Academy Awards.

The Battle of the River Mole as depicted in By the Shaft and the Sword