This is Mullein, and I found it growing on the steep slopes of Thetford Castle motte. This is one of the highest man-made mounds in England and I was relieved that modern steps have been built to its summit.

Thetford Castle was a place of incessant conflict. The site was originally an iron-age fort, which the Romans doubtless attacked. The current motte was built by the Norman Roger Bigod, who sought to dominate the local Saxons. In the 1170s, it was part of internecine civil wars, and was eventually seized by the king and destroyed, leaving only the looming mound.

Mullein, on the other hand, is a plant known for medicinal uses, used in ointments and compresses. It may also be used internally for the treatment of cough or asthma, pneumonia, colds, and sore throats. Alternatively, a tea can be made from its leaves, which is medicine enough for we English.

So there we have it- a plant known for healing growing in a place known for discord and violence. Here is a reminder of the Lord Jesus Himself. The One with healing in His wings, the great Physician, was born on our bloody and war-torn earth, in a country devastated and terrorised by successive invaders and violent, homegrown tyrants. Wherever there is pain and loss, there is also the Lord Jesus, quietly watching, gently holding forth His arms to save, comfort, heal and renew.

But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. Malachi 4:2