Legends of Leicestershire Characters in Rhyme:-

Legends -2 Characters:-

King Lear - our oldest local legend!

So we’ll begin at the beginning,
A very good place to start,
Way back in the mists of time,
At history’s sparrowfart,
Tis to one Geoffrey of Monmouth,
That this tale we owe,
Though quite where he got it
We’ll probably never know,
You’ve probably heard tell of King Lear
Familiar from the play,
Written by that Will Shakespeare,
Back in King James’s day,
So now we will tell the tale,
Which will not take too long,
And that’s the introduction 
To our opening song

Black Annis - an extremely scary tale!

So Lear was good and wise and sage,
Though prone to the follies of old age,
But now our tale moves on apace,
Unto a far, far darker place,
All around the Danehills area,
Nothing was ever seen more scarier,
Many a soul they fled in flight
Beholding such a ghastly sight,
Or in their cottages tamely cower,
When foul Black Annis left her bower.

Ethlefleda - the "Lady of Mercia" who defeated the Danes.

So having given us all a chill,
We’ll move away from those Danehills,
Although the subject of the Danes,
Will still be the focus for our brains
Enter a lady of reputation,
The subject of our dissertation,
And after we have dissertated,
Her status we’ll have left inflated,
Of King Alfred’s daughter, royal stock,
Truly a chip off the old block,
Forty years had Leicester lain,
Under the army of the Dane,
We’ve heard the tale of Boudicca told,
But our own lady was just as bold,
She paid attention to this matter,
And with her sword those Danes did scatter,
So let us toast a mighty leader
Our  own good lady Ethelfleda.

W.G.Hoskins - Professor of History who told of ordinary folk.

So we hear a lot about Kings and Queens
That strutted all through many a scene,
But what of the more humble folk,
Whose history is rarely spoke,
Whose story spans across the ages,
But nothing there but empty pages,
So let’s celebrate the great insight
Of the chap who tried to put this right,
Though he hailed from Devon very soon he
Became a prof at Leicester Uni,
But becoming tired of business studies,
Sought out where the real life blood is
And in the year 1957,
Told the story of the Midlands peasant
Through inventories and last testaments,
Freed us from our ignorance:
And took us to a brave new world,
Where hidden lives would lie unfurled,
Add dimensions to our history,
So let’s raise a toast to W.G

King Richard lll -our most famous local legend.

So if you mention Leicester
To the person in the street
The first thought coming into the heads
Of the people that you meet,
Is either of that awesome team
(who we’ll come to in  a bit)
Or of a certain character
Who must be our greatest hit?
Although we’ve heard the story,
So often put about,
When speaking about our locality,
We just can’t leave him out.
Under the car park the story said,
Nope, bones chucked in the river said the other,
But this was just a bit of fake news
As we will now uncover,
So, let’s just get on with it,
And cut out all the crap,
And introduce the fella
Who put Leicester on the map:-

Captain Pouch (John Reynolds) - rebel against King James l.

So, we’ll be moving swiftly on,
To when Henry Tudor’s line was done,
Unto the reign of James the Scot,
And that renowned gunpowder plot,
Which, as we know was to prove ill-fated,
But had many that were implicated,
Lord Tresham was a Catholic born,
Who seemed to know more than he let on,
And that mere finger of suspicion,
Led to a great imposition,
A hefty fine he would have to pay
Which would lead him to insolvency,
And so it was a deal he struck,
Enabling him to pass the buck;
And loadsamoney he would make,
To put the icing back on his cake:
With sheep he would fill up his land,
Whose wool would always be in demand,
But for the local peasants’ lot,
He would care not a single jot,
And would take the daily bread
From lives already at the edge,
He’d enclose the fields and would ignore,
The common rights of the parish poor,
But one John Reynolds put down his foot,
Saying “up with this we will not put”,
As Captain Pouch he showed such zeal,
Saying our rights they will not steal,
Level those fences, we will show
As diggers we will boldly go,
But eternal shame upon the crown
That ordered them to be cut down...

Jeffrey Hudson - small person with big dreams!

Now perhaps you’ve learned of Leicester’s famous prodigy,
One Daniel Lambert, Leicester’s BFG,
Whose fame has stretched to places far and wide,
In Legends 1 his story is described.
This you can access this  very easily
by buying the Legends part 1 CD.
Now in part 2, our very next musical theme,
Will take us to the opposite extreme.
From large to little will be our sharp contrast
“So who could that be?” so I hear you ask.
A mere eighteen inches tall this fellow stood, (20cm)
Though scaled in each proportion fair and good.
One Jeffrey Hudson, born in Oakham town,
But for celebrity inevitably bound,
When the Duke of Buckingham’s favour he then found.
Then by the Queen achieved his great ambition,
Became a must have acquisition.
When stepping boldly from a steaming pie
In mini suit of armour caught the royal eye.
In the Civil War a captain bold was he,
Part of King Charles’s cavalry.
But one day stupidly a duel he fought,
Killed a man and was exiled from the court,
Thereafter suffered many narrow scrapes
From which he managed to escape,
Including being held in slavery
To pirates from the coast of Barbary,
And when released from this unfortunate plight,
Appeared to have doubled in his height.
But left to us at last a legacy
In that fine pint of beer called JHB.

George Davenport -local highwayman

And so from roundheads and cavaliers,
Let’s fast forward 100 years
When England had much better roads,
Which carried many a heavy load.
But  many bandits upon them strode
With no respect for the Highway Code,
And to robbery they did resort,
So let’s now meet George Davenport.
Who was track 7 on Legends -1
But a different song on 2 we’ve done
A highwayman of some renown
Who hailed from nearby Wigston town.
Who, among his many other crimes
Took the King’s Shilling forty times
Then disappeared to leave no trace,
Except the egg on the sergeant’s face,
He knocked on many a stagecoach door,
To rob the rich and feed the poor,
But like all felons met his end
Upon the gallows, yes my friend,
For folks they gathered from miles about
It  really made a nice  family day out,
But that’s enough, let’s hear no more,
Come minstrels now with one accord,
Let’s sing of our George Davenport.

Rasselas Morjan -tragic death of a freed slave:-

Among the annals of our history,
Are episodes we’d rather not have been,
For all across the story through the ages,
We come across some very shameful pages,
An Empire that could straddle oceans wide
Held things in which we cannot boast with pride,
And profits from a trade so very vile,
Would furnish the walls of many a country pile,
But there were some campaigners good and brave,
Who said that none should ever be a slave,
And Wilberforce at last the fight has won,
And our own Elizabeth Heyrick, (she’s on Legends 1)
Rasselas Morjan was a prince so bold,
From Africa was brought and then was sold,
But landed on our shores when he was set free,
Befriended by the Palmer family,
And having cast off those infernal chains,
Could look to find a life set free from pain,
But all potential was to come to naught,
When by disease his life was cut so short,
At a tender 19 years he was to die,
In Wanlip cemetery his body lies,
So let this song a tribute be,
In honour of his memory

Ada Lovelace - local sofware pioneer

So moving on. we find another one,
Of whom it must be said departed  far too young,
And although one of the centuries pioneers,
Departed this life a mere 3 dozen years,
A lady, although born into wealth untold,
Was destined from the start to break the mould,
Lord Byron’s daughter, though 'tis sad to say,
Deserted as her father went his wanton way,
Ma Lovelace  then determined she would not allow,
Her daughter that same furrow for to plough,
And to shield her offspring was her single goal,
From all that sex and drugs and rock and roll,
For mathematics, science her mother said,
Would be the path that Ada now would tread,
And for young Ada it was her intent,
That from insanity this would prevent,
A well thought out and very cunning plan,
So she would not go bonkers like her dear old man,
Litlle did she know her clever daughter,
Would take unto it like a duck to water,
And by those grey cells powerfully driven,
Would conjure up that magic algorhythm.
That even Mr Babbage had no indication,
Of his analytical engine’s implications,
And raised full many an eyebrow at the time,
That a girl in such a sphere could ever shine...

James  Hawker - poacher

So moving on from clever Ada,
Several rungs down the social ladder,
To one whose thoughts and later fruits 
In those “hungry forties” had their roots,
When the shadow of the workhouse
Hovered over all the poor,
And against the cursed landowners
He declared an all out war,
And would cause them grief and pain,
By poaching of their precious game,
That later on became a point of principle no less,
To outwit those cursed gamekeepers
That caused so much distress.
Several names he would use,
Together with many another ruse,
And like George Davenport before,
He would connive to outsmart them all,
And using his great expertise
With trap and snare and gun,
He would leave them trailing in his wake,
For like a hare he’d run,
Crouching low beneath the moon
He’d lure those creatures to their doom,
Which we might question nowadays,
But those were then the country ways
So of James Hawker you now will hear,
In the style of good old Will Shakespeare.

Buffalo Bill - his visit to Leicester:-

Before computers and TVs,
Our ancestors gazed not at screens,
But they were solidly entertained
By various miscellaneous means ,
Fairs, circuses and music halls
Are just a few that we could name
Of many ways our forefathers
And mothers would be entertained.
And in the year 1891,
Leicester folk enjoyed a special treat,
A once in a lifetime experience
That they would surely mot repeat.
A wonderful extravaganza
Guaranteed to bring a thrill,
So roll up for the Wild West Show,
And celebrity Buffalo Bill!

Alice Hawkins - Leicester Suffragette:-

So James Hawker found himself 
On the wrong side of the law,
Because he saw injustice,
He would knock down that brick wall,
Now Alice Hawkins was the same,
Her patience had run out,
In the drive to make sure 
That women got the vote.
All manner of reasoned argument,
Had given no satisfaction,
So in the end she felt the need 
To resort to direct action.
Not just with written words would she mount her attacks,
But stongly reinforce her points with heckles and brickbats.
Now Alice was a working girl,
Down at the Equity,
Not like those Pankhurst sisters,
In posh society,
She was no shrinking violet,
But took to the grandstand,
And grabbed the bull by the goolies,
Squeezing tightly with both hands.
Showing fear of no man,
No matter the reputation,
And bravely faced those prison walls,
In the cause of emancipation.
So let’s sing in praise of Alice,
Raise our voices to the skies,
To the strains of this old tune
That you might recognise...

Rum Weather - well loved local character

So Alice now holds her place with pride,
Courtesy of time and tide, 
But now we come to one who might be,
Within our living memory,
One of those characters you see around,
The streets of many an English town,
Whether by choice or by fortune,
Or by the phases of the moon,
Who tramped around the Leicester streets
Well known to those that he would meet,
And many stories were attached 
To how he came to find that patch,
And even though his clothes were creased,
He meant no harm to man or beast,
And though limited in elocution,
Became a local institution,
So we will use our best endeavour,
To tell you all about Rum Weather:-

“The Leicestershire Miners”

So let’s move now to celebrate,
Not just one individual,
But ones to whom we owe a debt,
And need to praise them one and all
They toiled in darkness and in heat
900 feet below the ground,
And dug the coal out of the seams,
That drove the nation’s wheels around,
So let’s all sing a song of praise,
Of all those men we’ll celebrate,
And carve their names with pride in stone
Not those who brought about their fate.

Squire de Lyle - closing public footpaths:-

Now in the days of James Hawker
As  we’ve already heard
Those who owned fair England’s land
Saw fit to act like total turds,
We’d like to think that times have changed,
Since those  far off Victorian times,
And  that inflated sense of entitlement
Which caused those ancient crimes,
Had softened with the passing years,
And give way to better times,
And notions of a rigid caste,
And privilege had seemed to wane,
And those ideas of pedigree,
Had been discarded down the drain.
But enter stage right Squire de Lyle,
Who seemed to take perverse delight,
And like a mediaeval baron,
Show no respect for common rights.
A footpath ran across his land,
To the delight of ramblers all,
He chose to block the access though,
A right of way enshrined in law.
Said that the walkers damage caused,
Yet welcoming the local hunt,
And quarrying he said was fine,
To which we all say “what a cad!”
And so we’ll sing unto the Squire,
Like Ewan MacColl in times now gone
Raise a glass unto his health,
And celebrate his name in song.

Kun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha - much loved football club owner:-

And so, alas, our show must end,
But just before you go, my friends,
From Squire de Lisle we will escape 
And take you to a better place.
And try to finish on a high,
In fact we’ll reach out for the sky,
Throughout the years the faith we’d kept,
Yet disappointment must accept,
The ups and downs of fortune’s wheel,
That fate had chosen us to deal,
Yet those who follow the game will know,
That high would turn so soon to low,
We certainly learned humility,
By supporting dear old Leicester City,
So seasons come and seasons go,
But Nigel and then Claudio
Under the reign of King Vichai
Who said we should reach for the sky,
So many owners were of ill repute,
And target of the fans abuse.
But we were gifted with the best,
Who made the blueprint for the rest,
And defying all the longest odds,
Drank the nectar of the Gods,
Though taken far too cruelly,
Left an enduring legacy,
And your good karma will live on
From the father to the son.

Legends 3 - Characters:-

King Offa - ruler of the Midlands

Now we’ve all heard the tale of old King Lear
And of course of King Dick too
In legends 1 and Legends 2
We brought them both to you
But there’s another famous King
A man of power and fame,
And all throughout the Midlands
And further still stretched his domains
A mighty statesmen/warrior
Whose fame stretched far and wide
And even the mighty Charlemagne
Let his son become his daughter’s bride
In 757 he seized the throne
Of Mercia, where we live today.
And soon augmented his domain
All south of the Humber he held sway.
And all to him did homage pay
The penny he did introduce
A coin that we still often use
So when you to spend a penny go
Think of him when you're in the loo.
But more. of course, endures his fame
Because of his dyke we can see today
Extended over many a mile
And kept those Welsh at bay,
So let’s not cut a short story long
But celebrate Offa in a song.

Ivo de Grandmesnil - the "Ropedancer".

Now, if there’s one date in history
That most immediately springs to mind,
That famous one ten sixty six
Will pop up first most of the time.
Now this fella called Hugh de Grandmesnil
Helped the Conqueror with his sword
And in thanks for assistance with the conquest
Got most of the Midlands as his reward.
Now he had a son called Ivo
Who inherited his father’s lands
But all too soon the family fortune
Was flushed and vanished down the pan.
Now Will the Bastard had 3 sons
William Rufus, who was next the King,
Robert Curthose who got Normandy
And young Henry waiting in the wings.
But brotherly love existed not
With machinations and with plots,
Robert, ambitious, had big plans
To hold all England in his hands,
And Ivo went and lost the plot
When with Robert he thew in his lot.
But Robert proved a choice not wise
Being far too disorganised
And with Will Rufus peace he made
Leaving poor Ivo all red-faced,
To make amends a decision he made
To go off on the First Crusade,
And to pay for all his actions rash,
Mortgaged his lands to get the cash.
But his fortunes soon did hit the rocks
At the Siege of Antioch, 
Where his actions brought him shame
And brought down that illustrious name
And when the battle reached its height,
Slid down a rope and took to flight
Hence “Ropedancer” he was painted
His reputation forever tainted
He went on a pilgrimage to make amends
Where finally he met his end.

The Grey Sisters - Catherine and Mary Grey:-

Now, Lady Jane Grey, as is well known,
For nine days wore the English crown.
But political  plots and machinations,
Led her to her ruination.
And 16 years after she was born,
Became a sacrificial pawn.
Now Jane had younger sisters two.
Who may not be so familiar to you
But of this pair we’ll tell the tale,
Both equally tragic in their own way.
Now Catherine, she was a passionate lass,
And very soon it came to pass,
With Edward Seymour in love fell she
And they were married secretly
And in nine months  a son was born
But there was little joy to come
But when you are so close to the throne,
These choices they are not your own.
And Good Queen Bess was a hissyfit throwing
That all this was done without her knowing.
And immediately she dictated
The couple should be separated
And in the Tower were kept apart
With no sympathy for affairs of the heart.
But a kindly jailer moved by their plight,
Allowed the pair to share a night
And after this one night of joy
There soon was born another boy.
But when Liz heard of this get together
Decided to split them up forever.
Poor Catherine pined now they were apart
And they say she died of a broken heart.

Now younger sister Mary was a different tale.
So small, barely five feet tall
She thought she would avoid the fate.
Of her unhappy sister, Kate.
By an affair with one of low degree
A porter by the name of Thomas Keyes.
In contrast to Mary being so small,
He was nearly 7 feet tall
Moreover he was twice her age,
They must have looked a couple strange.
Now when the Queen she heard the news
She was clearly not amused
As Mary and  Thomas, alas, alack
Had done all this behind her back.
And just like her sister it was deemed fit,
The couple forever more to split.
Poor Thomas he was close confined 
In  a cell that was too small for his size.
And though released in course of time,
His health was truly undermined
And soon after all this pain and strife
His soul departed from this life
Leaving poor Mary to grieve and mourn
To spend her last days a figure forlorn.
To prove that only grief and distress
Could come from crossing Good Queen Bess.

John Cook - man who prosecuted Charles l:-

Now the Civil War was a dreadful thing,
Between our Parliament and King
And John Cook he took up the yoke,
Of defending us poor common folk.
At Hogue Hall Burbage he did dwell,
And so his story we will tell
All from injustice and from wrong
So he’s the subject of our next song:
Now Charles the First the reigning King
Was brought to trial for many a sin,
And John Cook used his lawyer’s guile
To prosecute him at his trial
And would refuse to scrape and bow
Before Charles in his royal power
The rights of the people were the thing
More important than any King
So Charles was to the scaffold led
And parted company with his head,
And for a while in this country 
We were without a monarchy.
But his son Charles who had fled abroad
Back to the kingdom was restored
And John Cook now was to be tried
For the crime of regicide
And though he made a stout defence
He could not prove his innocence
And so upon the appointed date 
He suffered a grisly traitor’s fate
But lets’ all honour his memory 
As one who fought against tyranny.

Georg Friedrich Handel - his visit to our area:-

Now those of you who sing in a choir
Will be familiar with Handel’s Messiah.
But that fine piece of musical perfection
Has a good local connection
As in the year 1741
A bloke whose name was Jennensen
Said to Handel “Come to these shores, 
So you can complete your musical score
The libretto I’ve already done
So off you go! At The Rising Sun 
There you can enjoy your stay,
And at your masterpiece work away.
I have a temple in a glade
Where you can compose in the shade,
Together with the excellent crew
Of musos you have brought with you.
I’m sure this rural situation
Will give you total inspiration!
So Handel, delighted at the news,
Gave free reign unto his muse.
His masterpiece for to produce.
Later on, in seventeen fifty nine
At Church Langton came the time
For the first performance locally
Arranged by the Reverend Hanbury
Whose main interest was growing trees,
But also had other big ideas,
Who of Handel’s music was a fan so big
And so arranged this famous gig.

John Flower - Leicester artist:-

There was a man by the name John Flower,
A framework knitter by calling,
But he discovered he had the knack
Of doing very fine drawings.
And soon Miss Mary Linwood
Took him under her wing,
And said “you must develop your talent, 
It is a precious thing.
In London he did study
His artist’s skills to hone,
And after this one year well spent
Came back to his Leicester home.
In 1826 appeared 
His book of local views
Which preserved for us forever
That we might never lose.
The vision of a fine old town
That he saw every day
Before the factories came along
And swept it all away.
And so we celebrate John Flower
And those old views so fine
Almost as if he knew
He was running out of time.

Susannah Watts - writer and anti-slavery activist:-

Susannah Watts lived by her pen
In a world dominated all be men
And when family fortunes took a dive
By her writing must now survive,
She earned some good remuneration
By taking on Italian translation
And in the year 1804
Wrote Leicester’s very first  guided tour.
But as women writing was frowned upon
It had to be published as “anon”.
But undoubtedly her greatest cause
Was to try to change the slavery laws,
So she began a long campaign
That no one should lead a life in chains,
With Elizabeth Heyrick she worked well
To ring aloud that freedom bell.
(Elizabeth’s story equally bold
Has in “Legends -1” been told)
They harried Wilberforce to change his position
And demand immediate abolition.
They made local people well aware
That the sugar trade was so unfair
Led a big campaign for to persuade
Folk to boycott that awful trade;
So we’ll take you on a tour round town
As it was when Susan wrote it all down,
And compare it to the modern day
As round the city centre we make our way:-

James Cook - last man in England to be gibbeted:-

Now James Cook was a bookbinder,
His living thus was made,
In a workshop found in King Street,
Taking over his father’s trade.
Now something must have gone amiss
And somehow he did let,
What should have been a steady trade,
Get badly into debt.
A Mr Paas arrived from London
And at his door he showed
Demanding of a sum of money,
He said that he was owed.
And as a result of this conversation
A row did soon explode.
It all became so heated 
That in the end it led,
To Cook taking up an iron bar,
And cracking open Mr Paas’s head.
The blow proved to be fatal
And Cook now realised
That he would need some desperate measures
To cover up his awful crime.
He would cut the body into bits
And then he did conspire
To burn the body parts in his stove
And some upon an open fire.
But this was not a simple task
And the work proceeded slow
(Just here I’ll issue a cautionary note
-Don’t try this one at home!)
He worked away both night and day,
But progressed none too well,
And when it came to the innards
It made an awful smell.
The neighbours were suspicious
And enquiries were begun,
But Cook said it was horse flesh 
That he’d bought off a man,
But soon the awful truth it dawned 
That this was a human trunk,
At which James Cook did panic
And decided to do a bunk.
To America he would embark
And board upon a ship,
So to Liverpool he caught a coach
And would give his pursuers the slip.
But Officer Cummins was soon on the trail
In hot pursuit he went
And Cook was brought back a prisoner
To face trial and punishment.
He was, of course, found guilty
And would hang for this dreadful crime,
And his carcass would be gibbeted
(For this was still done at this time)
But those who were living near Saffron Lane
Were clearly not amused
And demanded the gibbet be taken down-
The last time in England this was used.
So the rather dubious honour
To James Cook on this date.
In the year of 1832 the last 
To suffer this gruesome fate.

Tom Barclay - Irish immigrant and pioneer Socialist:-

Now one of the most shameful parts 
Of our country’s history
Is that dreadful famine that occured
Across the Irish Sea.
When a million fled their homeland
From hunger and disease
And to the Earth’s far places
Crossed oceans wide and seas,
Now here in Leicester at that time
Lived a family struggling to get by,
Tom Barclay was born into darkness
Seen through a child’s eye.
His father gathered rags and bones
To try to make ends meet
Or sometimes chopped up firewood
Which he sold in the street
Hounded by the English kids
Resentment every day
Many were the sticks and stones
That were hurled his way.
Yet Tom he proved a clever lad
And my some means he learned
The skills of how to read and write,
And the ways of the world to learn.
He found out all about history 
And of the lives of men
And very soon did start to write
With a persuasive pen. 
Fighting for the working class
Trying hard to give them hope
That they would soon cast off the chains
That bound them to the yoke.
Tom produced “The Pioneer”
And gained a reputation
As one who would advance the cause 
Of the workers’ situation.
He’d take any job he could 
To help him to get by
And earned respect from all he met
For his sincerity
At times though he felt very sad
Around him all to see
His fellow working men resigned
In political apathy
The pub and the 'free and easy',
Temptations hard to resist
And served so well to soften the edge
Of the way they had to exist.
And yet he never got bitter
Or gave up his Socialist cause
But in the hearts of his fellow men and women
Only the good he saw.

Tanky Smith - famous Leicester detective:-

Now Leicester often has produced
Some fine upholders of the law,
Including Tubby Stephens 
Who we’ve dealt with before.
Now Frances Smith was a clever soul
And would uphold those laws,
By using a range of clever means
To catch those criminals.
He got the nickname “Tanky”
As “tanking” it was called,
To give a forceful tap on the head,
To villains large and small.
And Tanky took on many roles,
A master of disguise
To infiltrate those dens of vice
Without being recognised.
He really did clean up the town
Kept the baddies off the streets
So all the folk of Leicester
Could sleep safely between the sheets.
He even chased down missing persons
All the way to Germany
To track down a prominent member
Of the Win stan-e leys
Though he couldn’t bring the poor lad back,
Because he’d sadly drowned,
At least he found what happened 
And the family closure found.
Now Tanky is remembered
Thanks to efforts by his son
Who decided on a permanent way
To celebrate what his dad had done.
In Top Hat Terrace on London Road
Where Tanky used to dwell
Are sixteen gargoyles carved in stone
The story for to tell
Of the disguises Tanky used
Those villains to waylay
And to this day they can be seen
If you’re passing by that way.

Muggy Measures - another much loved local character:-

Now going back through Leicester’s past
Those streets did once resound
With street cries of those a – selling their wares
All around the town.
Now it’s of one such as here we sing
George Measures was his name,
Known to all as “Muggy Measures”
Who lived in Loseby Lane.
His speciality muffins
But other stuff as well,
Like sausages and buns 
And minted peas he’d sell.
He’d often walk to Syston
Where the kids would gather round,
This well known local character
Who was so well renowned.
But he was still remembered
For many years to come
After he passed away
In the year nineteen o one.
So we’ve put him in a song
To preserve him for all time,
The chorus being a modified form 
Of a famous nursery rhyme.

Larry Gains - brought boxing glory to Leicester:-

Now folk in Leicester have become well used
To knowing sporting success,
And in that period between the wars,
There was certainly some of this.
A boxer who was called Larry Gains
Though Canadian by birth,
Came to live in Leicester,
And there to prove his worth.
He won himself many titles
Put many an opponent down,
Including two world champions
But he’d never get to win that crown.
Because his skin was coloured black
The powers that be decreed,
That he couldn’t fight for the world heavyweight crown
Where only white men could succeed. 
In Wharf Street he trained very hard
And all his mettle showed
When he won the Empire Title
Down the Welford Road.
With an open top bus tour
He made his victory parade
Became a local hero,
As history was made.
But still it left a bitter taste,
That he was to be deprived
Of that golden opportunity
To fight for that biggest prize.
But as a local hero 
He passes all the tests
And so we’ll celebrate his life
A Leicester legend among the best.

(Johannes) Matthaeus Koelz – painter and anti-war campaigner:-

Now Matthaeus Koelz was a German soldier brave
Who fought in the Great War.
Won the Iron Cross for bravery
For actions above the call
Yet, he was totally outraged 
By the horrors he had seen
Became an advocate of peace,
Saying "all war is obscene."
And only serves for profits 
To those who weapons made
Ignoring all the grief and loss
And misery and pain. 
To make it worse those priests of God,
All this slaughter blessed,
Encouraged men to go and fight
And walk the road to death.
Now Matthaeus was a painter
Who used his artistic skills
To paint a giant Triptych
Called “Thou Shalt Not Kill”.
It showed up all the horrors 
In scenes most graphically
A powerful visual protest
For all the world to see.
But life it was now dangerous
Due to the new regime
That cast a giant shadow
Over thirties Germany.
When asked to paint the Fuhrer
He really could not bear
To put on that awful brown shirt
Upon his back to wear.
So he decided to take flight,
To avoid almost certain arrest,
And sawed up the giant Triptych
Into squares he left with friends.
In various places  so one day
It might be reassembled
And hopefully go on display,
When the world became more settled
From having lost its way.
But, as soon as he went to a new country
He’d have to move on fast,
As the Nazi war machine,
Extended its evil grasp.
'Til he arrived in England,
But still no peace found then
As he was incarcerated
As an enemy alien.
And shipped across to Australia,
Just like a poor convict
And by a German U-boat
Narrowly missed being hit.
Eventually he did return
To a world to be soon at peace
And saw out his final days quietly
In well deserv-ed ease
Now the pieces of the Triptych 
Were scattered all around
And the pieces of this jigsaw
Would never all be found.
But some postcards had been made
That showed the work complete
And from the pieces that remained 
Was reconstructed the masterpiece.
And so in the New Walk Museum
This fine work was displayed,
In its full size so the full impact
Of the painting was surveyed.
His life was an incredible  story,
We’ve left out some details
But if you read the book by Simon Lake
It’s a really well told tale.
And so we’ve written here a poem
That’s really rather long.
Will celebrate this great mans life
In a shortish song.

Jamie Vardy - Leicester City goal machine:-

Now let’s speak more of that sporting success
For which our city is renowned,
And go back to that famous season 
When the Foxes won that crown;
The Premier League title
In two thousand and sixteen
At odds of 5,000 to one,
Another “impossible dream”.
Now of that amazing team of players
One story we’ll relate,
Because it tells the moral
That it really never is too late.
In Sheffield he was born,
That town of tempered steel,
And proved to be the sharpest knife
From the grinding wheel
Jamie Vardy played for local teams
Usually part time
Working in a factory
At the daily grind.
For Fleetwood Town he made a mark
And soon the eye he caught
Of scouts from Leicester City,
Who a new striker sought.
And from the bargain basement
Was plucked this famous prize
Who’d been told he’s never make it
Because of his small size.
He helped the team do the “Great Escape”
Avoiding relegation
And very soon turned out to be
A goal scoring sensation.
He helped the team to win the League
Which could not have beed foreseen,
And then went on from strength to strength,
A goal scoring machine.
Lethal in front of goal he proved
Many records he did set,
He terrified defenders
Before putting the ball in the net.
He played for his country
Though loyal to our team he stayed.
To become a Leicester legend
A master of his trade.
So our final song we’ll sing 
Even raise a glass of wine 
To the amazing Mr Vardy
A true legend of our time.

Legends of Leicestershire.