Tag Archives: Elmer of Malmesbury

The First Flight

This week’s prompt from Charli at the Carrot Ranch is; August 13, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a first flight. It can be anything or anyone that flies. What is significant about the first? Go where the prompt leads!

As readers of my blog will realise, I am fascinated by the early history of flight, so could hardly pass on this prompt. So here is the story of what was probably the first serious attempt to fly, certainly in Europe.


He stood on the edge of the tower, checked his linen covered wings, took a deep breath and jumped.

They worked! He glided for nearly two hundred yards before the gust hit him, he struggled as he dropped, his wings broke his fall.

He awoke in the infirmary with a broken leg. The Abbot beside the bed.

“Brother Elimer, my old friend, there must be no more flying. I don’t wish to bury you next time.”

“But if I had a bigger tail I could fly”

“Not now.” The Abbot was firm, “One day perhaps.”

The year was 1005.



All true, the story is recorded by the historian William of Malmesbury, who was a monk at Malmesbury Abbey just like Elimer. He almost certainly knew people who had known Elimer in old age.


Filed under Flight, Historical tales

Five Photos Five Stories – day two Bold Sir George

Featured image
A reconstruction of Cayley’s 1804 glider in flight

The Ballad of Bold Sir George

When bold Sir George was a little boy
He looked up in the sky
He told his parents, teachers, friends
He wanted to learn to fly.

‘Oh No, Oh No’, The wise men said,
With their wisdom quite profound,
‘Those who have tried, have ended up dead,
So keep your feet on the ground.’

Elmer the Monk once made a jump
From the Abbey in Malmesbury Town
His wings collapsed and he broke his leg
As he tumbled to the ground.

Bold Sir George took his first machine
‘I have built it from a kite,
Across the field, for a score of yards
Watch it take its flight.’

‘Oh No, Oh No’, The wise men said,
‘That thing is but a toy
Nothing of any interest
Just a plaything for a boy.’

Abbot John had feather wings
And from Stirling Castle sprung
His wings came from a flightless bird
So he tumbled in the dung.

Bold Sir George took his next machine
With wings near ten foot wide
‘For half a mile across the vale
Watch my beauty glide.’

‘Oh No, Oh No’, The wise men said,
‘T’would do for a county fair
To amuse the folk, but a learned man
Would find nothing of interest there.’

Wise Leonardo, years ago
Wanted to learn to fly.
But if even he could not succeed
Why should we bother to try?

Bold Sir George took his last machine
Like a boat beneath a sail
A brave man held the tiller rod
This time he wouldn’t fail

‘Oh No, we were wrong,’ the wise men said,
As it rose into the sky.
On the Yorkshire Wolds long time ago
Man finally learnt to fly.

Remembering Elmer of Malmesbury, crashed about 1010, John Damian de Falcuis crashed at Stirling Castle in 1507, and Sir George Cayley (1773 – 1857) – who flew!


Filed under Historical Reconstructions, Picking Darcy's Pocket, Regency