closing address to Red, White and Blue Festival-goers, the host village of Codnor-Denby might not be a popular tourist destination but it IS in the heart of a rural district whose ancient history and cultural heritage exemplify all that is steadfastly and typically Anglo-Saxon.
One year on, as a legion of BNP members and supporters again prepare to return to Codnor-Denby, the BNP News Team recalls Nick Griffin's 2007 festival speech and its socio-historical overview of that part of Derbyshire. We also add some interesting historical detail to reinforce Nick's resounding 2007 history lesson.
As our Chairman noted, the Codnor and Denby area has a charm and appeal which is worth preserving and defending against the encroaches of urban society. Ethnically it remains, as the BBC would have it, “hideously white”. On both fronts local residents could be forgiven for not wanting to lose such cultural and social assets.
In his speech Nick highlighted the region's agricultural and industrial profile with an emphasis upon the coal-mining, potteries and textiles industries, including educational insight into how (i) medieval strip-farming communities, ravaged first by the mass death of the Black Plague and later by technical inventions steadily gave way to field enclosure and commercial farming and (ii) the area's cottage-based weaving industry gradually died out as the Industrial Revolution centralised production in often gruesome urban factories and attracted landless and jobless farmhands to the grim tenements of Britain's sprawling towns and cities.
Long a major crossroads, Codnor, say local historians, stands at the confluence of roads to Ripley, Alfreton, Langley Mill and Heanor. Named in the Doomsday Book of 1087 as Cote Novre, Codnor was probably a village in Saxon times. In terms of local defence and political dominance its hilltop castle was, by the 1100s, already a strategic and controlling military fortress.
Militarily the village's native population defended their homes and families firstly against the Romans then the waves of Continental invaders who ravaged central England. Through time, the conquering Saxons assimilated into native society and built the dynasties and military alliances which were to see that people produce the first of England's enlightened warrior kings. Also mentioned were the bloody years of the English Civil War and how, though no major conflicts occurred in the area, villagers and townsfolk would have been conscripted into fighting on behalf of their local nobles.
Continuing his well-memorised historical study Nick also described the important heritage gifted to future generations by early cave-dwellers at Cresswell Crags. Celebrating the DNA and spiritual links between those early hunters and their cave art and modern ‘Brits', he reminded us that, long before the Romans and the native tribes which variously resisted or embraced them, native Britons inhabited nearby hills and valleys and migrated across ancient Britain at the start of a genetic chain irrevocably linking them to us, their New Millenium descendants.
In combating present-day multi-culturalism and mass, often illegal, non-white immigration, Nick concluded, the BNP is therefore defending not just the rights and welfare of recent generations of Native Britons but an unbroken blood line stretching back 15,000 years to the cave-dwelling nomads of Cresswell Crags and other mists of time native peoples.
As noted, Nick last year referred to the Romans, the Saxons and the Normans and how each wave of invaders contributed to Codnor's heritage.
Just a few miles from Codnor is a Roman road, hinting at a Roman military presence and to Romano-British habitation.
A short drive from the Red, White and Blue Festival site is Codnor Castle. When the Normans arrived at Cote Novre, already the site of a Saxon earthwork (one of many erected in the valley to hold off marauding Danes and Vikings), in the late-11th century, the local baron William Peveril built a mote and bailey wooden fortress standing upon and defended by a new earthwork. By the early 1200s, the location of the castle, overlooking the Erewash Valley, gave the Lord of Codnor a commanding position over the surrounding countryside.'
Two centuries after the Normans built their wood and earth structure Richard de Gray constructed Codnor's first stone-built citadel. By the 14th century the castle had acquired a 3-storey chamber block, a lodging house and rectangular turrets while the other half of the structure had a twin-towered gateway and round towers. The ruined castle also has a 17th-century farmhouse. The castle remained in the Grey family until the 1496 death of Henry de Grey. It passed to the Zouch family generations of which lived in the building. In 1634 the castle was sold to the Archbishop of York, Richard Neile. IN 1692 the Neiles sold it to Sir Streynsham Masters, the €˜last known person to actually reside there.' In the early-1800s the surrounding land was sold to a quarrying company.
As we saw above, for Nick Griffin, Codnor's importance goes back not just to medieval times but to Neolithic and earlier times at Cresswell Crags. Five-hundred yards long, the ancient Ice Age melt-water valley of Creswell Crags is still has a small stream and a picturesque lake between its natural limestone ramparts. Archaeological evidence shows that early Britons inhabited the Crags' many small caves some 15,000 years ago. Other evidence places humans in the caves 45,000 years ago.
Victorian excavations unearthed €˜the remains of Neanderthals and modern hunters, Ice Age animals and rare Old Stone Age engravings. Most sources say that nomadic deer hunters visited Cresswell Crags between 12,000 and 30,000 years ago. Recent finds suggest much earlier use of the caves, i.e. 45,000 years ago. Our ancestors' rock carvings have led to the place being classified as a World heritage site.
Those earliest hunters, Nick Griffin last year repeated, may not have had our present day concept of nationhood but they surely understood tribal kinship, blood bonds and territoriality. They instinctively banded together and they protected their common bond against strangers and aggressors. They were among our earliest racial ancestors and the BNP is proud to celebrate and defend such a long lineage.
So! As you explore and enjoy the many social and political treats and meetings on offer at the 2008 Red, White and Blue Festival in Codnor-Denby think proudly of the above lineage.
Join us in celebrating its importance in the face of our opponents' efforts to deny us our right to gather together as a Nationalist family and to pledge ourselves to supporting the struggle to keep alive the voice of protest in an era of mass immigration and the constant erosion of our political freedoms.