Step into Canterbury Cathedral – through the south west transept – and turn sharp right.
Stroll up the south isle, oohing and ahhing at a building which began its days around 1070, and then experience a sharp intake of breath.
For there, lying on his stone mausoleum in eerie stasis: there on your left sleeps The Black Prince.
A person of such stature that he has remained there in his resting place for 637 years, his figure sets the storyteller itching to create fine cobwebs of myth around him, across that fine burnished armour and the little dog that sleeps at his feet.
What a man the black prince must have been, with such a name and such a splendid eternal resting place. With that fearsome headgear, a great oval prison of a helmet with a great lion sitting atop scowling at his enemies.
And, indeed, he was a great warrior.
He never made it to be king. He died the year before his father. But he was the first ever Knight of the Garter, an order which endures today and of which the British queen is a part; he was the last of the chivalrous princes, the first of the knights to turn away from the crusades and focus on England and its power. He fought many brave battles across France, but was always scrupulously courteous to his enemies. Eldest son of Edward III and father to King Richard II, the man squandered an opportunity to make a politically astute union with a foreign land to marry his cousin Joan, known as The Fair Maid of Kent.
By all accounts, it was a love match.
He looked after the country ably in his father’s absence on campaigns; served as the King’s representative in Aquitaine, running a dazzling court which attracted foreign royal celebrities aplenty. He trounced France and Castile to reinstate Peter of Castile on the throne in a deal for a Lordship, which that Castilian bounder did not honour. And at the age of 45 he brought back a nasty case of Spanish dysentery and died.
The pomp of his burial was unprecedented. A hero cut off in his prime.
Let us reel forward six hundred years or so.
On October 2, 1950, folks all over America opened their papers to find there was a new dog in town. Snoopy, the canine hero of Peanuts, was not the only creature who was made popular by Charles M Schulz. My favourite arrived in the early sixties; a small self-possessed yellow scruffbird with anger issues.
He began as a flying ace’s mechanic; continued as Snoopy’s arm wrestling partner; and established himself as the little dog’s best friend.
But he didn’t get a name for a good while. Finally, Schulz cast around and settled on the name of one of the most iconic events of the decade: Woodstock.
Woodstock: an aquarian exposition; three days of peace and music. Three days which rocked the world. Things were as free as they could be; tickets had been billed at $18 in advance and $24 on the day. Around 186,000 tickets were sold in advance, and organisers reckoned about 200,000 would turn up on the day.
The rest is history. 500,000 turned up at the dairy farm owned by Max Nasgur.
I have tried in vain to find out how the American town of Woodstock got its name. Created in 1787, it was the next step in settling a brave new world. It is possible it was chosen by those who knew another Woodstock; one in Oxfordshire, England, home of the magnificent Blenheim Palace.
And birthplace of The Black Prince.
No-one called him that during his lifetime. His life was spent as the more prosaic Edward of Woodstock. It was the historians and storytellers that took one look at his stuff and his resting place and coined the fearsome name which has lasted for centuries.
Angry birds, Aquarian expositions and a fearsome mediaeval warriors.
There’s no shortage of material for our myth-weavers here, is there?