Coldham's Common: Flying Pterosaurs


Based on research by Helen Weinstein using the artefacts and resources at Cambridge University's Sidgewick Museum and composed collaboratively with CBBC's Horrible Histories Songwriter, Dave Cohen:

Fly-y-y-ing Pterosaurs, once soared over, Coldham's Common
They did number two-oos, and poo-oos on the Common
Dung, discovered hun-dred million, years ago on the Common,
Dinosaurs and Pterosaurs once lived on Coldham's Common.

Coldham’s Common by Michael Rosen

Poem devised collaboratively with Helen Weinstein who briefed Michael Rosen about the area and the local history & you can find the school powerpoint & summary info online about Coldham's Common history here & about the Coprolite (Pterosaur Poo) Mining rush in the Victorian period on Coldham's Common here

The years pass
and the grass grows,
the grass grows over
the years disappear...

clues are found.
Listen! And we can hear
across a hundred million years...

The sound of the sea
where now there’s a tree;
giant lizards in the sky
wide wings take them high
swooping on fish in the waves
gliding over rocks and caves
flapping and stopping
leaving their droppings
for millions of years
right here, just here.

The years pass
and the grass grows,
the grass grows over
the years disappear.

What were droppings and bone
turn to stone
deep down, day and night
silent, slow, out of sight
vast beyond measure
a secret treasure
deep in the ground
waiting to be found.

Up above people come and go
their pigs and cows moving slow
free to graze upon the ground
until a Lord puts fences round:
nowhere for the pigs and cows,
and with the people starving now
one Jack o’ the Style leads a revolt
with a hundred others they call a halt
break the fences and burst back through
with pigs and cows, their hens and ewes.

The years pass
and the grass grows,
the grass grows over
the years disappear.

One John Ball from Barnwell way
beneath the grass, said there lay
some sort o’ magical stuff
the which - if ye had enough,
mixed it right, made it just so,
it’d make any plant grow
and in a matter of just a few years
thousands came and dug right here.

Very few knew that all the while
they were free to do so, ‘cos of Jack o’ the Style
very few knew that the reason why
was down to lizards in the sky
for millions of years, leaving behind
what many years later, others would find.

The years pass
and the grass grows,
the grass grows over
the years disappear
and here we are:
we stand right here.

Michael Rosen's Pterosaur Poo Poem

Pterosaur poo, Pterosaur poo.
Thousands found it. Didn’t know what to do!
Pterosaur poo, Pterosaur poo,
Made of stone. Too hard to chew.
Ptesosaur poo, Pterosaur poo.
Near to where, the cows go moo.
Pterosaur poo. Pterosaur poo.
Now it’s ancient. Once it was new.
Pterosaur poo. Pterosaur poo.
Thousands came. Did they queue?
Pterosaur poo. Pterosaur poo.
In a poem by you know who!

By Michael Rosen

Coldham's Common: Flying Pterosaurs


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