The original Blenheim is a village in Bavaria
, 50 km north-east of Ulm
. The modern German name for it is Blindheim
, but in the form Blenheim it became known to the English-speaking world on 13 August 1704
, with the great victory
of English and Austrian
forces against those of France and Bavaria. It was one of the main engagements of the War of the Spanish Succession
The English commander was the Duke of Marlborough, and the Austrian commander was Prince Eugene of Savoy; the French were under Marshall Tallard. The Battle of Blenheim crowned Marlborough's ascent as a general, and among other rewards he was given a new palatial mansion near Oxford, to be called Blenheim Palace.
Probably the most famous poem of the dreadful poet laureate Robert Southey is called The Battle of Blenheim (1798), in which he ironically says "'twas a famous victory".
It was a summer evening,
Old Kaspar's work was done,
And he before his cottage door
Was sitting in the sun,
And by him sported on the green
His little grandchild Wilhelmine.
And this clunking rubbish goes on for another ten verses, with little Peterkin
discovering a skull
. The old man explains that Marlborough and Eugene had a famous victory there, despite all the dead people and burned houses, but he can't now tell them what it was all about.