How a peasants' revolt was foiled

PUBLISHED: 10:16 23 January 2008 | UPDATED: 21:46 26 October 2009

SIR - I thought you might be interested in this fragment of a papyrus scroll recently discovered by the Welwyn Archaeological Society… A Chapter from The Book of Welwyn… 1 And it came to pass in the Year of Grace 1964 that the leaders of Welwyn did say am

SIR - I thought you might be interested in this fragment of a papyrus scroll recently discovered by the Welwyn Archaeological Society...

A Chapter from The Book of Welwyn...

1 And it came to pass in the Year of Grace 1964 that the leaders of Welwyn did say among themselves: Lo, the ancient Tin Tabernacle of our forefathers known as the Village Hall of Saint Mary leaks, and the wind whistleth through the cracks.

2 Let us make for ourselves a Pleasure Palace at the Place which is called Prospect. And they built with bricks and mortar; they saw that the Palace was good. Although it was near one side of a Rural District, they said: Let us name it Civic Centre, which means the Middle of the City they said, for they were simple peasants who knew not education.

3 The people sang and danced, visited the clinic and borrowed books from the library, for in those days libraries let it be known that there was such ancient reading matter. And there was happiness throughout the District 4 And Lo! In the Year of Grace 1993 the elders set in authority over the whole Kingdom decreed that the Civic Centre should become the responsibility of the leaders of Welhat, who said among themselves: The people of Welwyn are simple souls; is it not told of them that they once sold their church bells to build a steeple?

5 We do not wish do the work needed to keep them happy; Let us find slaves. And the leaders of the peasants, known as Parish Council were talked into bondage and agreed that they would run the Centre on behalf of the people of Welhat and that they would actually pay the leaders of Welhat to be allowed to do this task. And all was well.

6 Then the leaders of Welhat became proud, and said: Let us call ourselves Borough (for they new not the historical origins of the word). We shall watch over the peasants and they shall henceforth think of us a Big Borough; How can we show our new powers?

7 Let us show the Parish Council how foolish their fathers had been. Let us tell them that they must pay many thousands of shekels to be allowed look after the Centre for Big Borough, and their terms of their bondage, written by their fathers, are such that they have no escape.

8 The peasants rent their garments and there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth; their leaders made gifts and sacrifices to the keepers of the law known as solicitors. And the solicitors said: verily, these are simple souls; for they will give us money.

9 The peasants' leaders called a meeting in the Centre and many attended, expecting that the leaders might impart some wisdom; they were simple souls. And no-one asked: why was it decreed that we should give shekels to Big Borough to work for them?

10 Leaders of men were sent to the meeting by Big Borough and said: Verily we say to you that you must indeed render unto us many thousands of shekels, but all is not lost, as we will give unto you the shekels with which to pay us, and nobody will gain or lose by this except the money handlers.

11 And we offer you the opportunity too enter for a longer period into a similar bondage to that agreed by your fathers. The leaders of the peasants looked upon Big Borough's men as rabbits look upon a weasel. But they kept their peace, for they had little understanding. They were simple men.

12 The visitors went away, saying: They are simple souls; why do they not behave, as the prophet Orwell predicted in ancient times, love Big Borough?

Tony Rook, Mill Lane, Welwyn

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