Legends of Great Britain
The history of nation is similar to the mosaic, created by wonderful combination of facts and myths. And the United Kingdom is not exception Since ancient times, Great Britain and Ireland have been amongst the most significant countries in the world for myths and magic. Legend meets the present in Great Britain... on the English flag, the Red Cross of St George, the legendary knight who slew the fire breathing dragon of a mystical past, and the proud dragon of the Welsh national flag. When it comes to myths and magic, Great Britain and Ireland have it all... ancient islands, steeped in ancient myths, fables, legends and history. Almost every town, city and village in Britain has its own secret history, be it Celtic legends, the magical Druids, King Arthur & the Knights of the Round Table, Merlin the Magician, Camelot, Dragons and Unicorns, sea monsters and faries, mermaids, folk tales and folklore, ghosts, goblins and leprechauns, haunted houses, mysterious mazes and ancient holy wells, Stonehenge, ancient Romans & pagan blood rites, witches and wizards, magic. Some of them are here...
The Red RiderBramhall, Cheshire On a night of dreadful storm, when the howling gale shook the stout timbers of Bramhall Hall, the bell of the portal gate clanged furiously. Into the courtyard rode a horseman clad in crimson, mounted on a coal-black steed, whose eyes shone with an unearthly glare. In spite of the horseman's sinister appearance, the Knight of Bramhall Hall made him welcome, and gave him food and lodging for the night. By morning the storm and subsided, and the sun rose peacefully in the clear sky. But the red rider and his coal-black horse had vanished, and upon his bed the Knight of Bramhall lay dead.
The Witch of WookeyWookey, SomersetDeep in the dark caverns of Wookey Hole dwelt at one time the Witch of Wookey - and dwells there still, if the gossips are to be trusted, though she, her pots and pans and horrid "familiars," are all turned to stone. A chagrined and disappointed woman, she used her merciless arts to blight girls' lives and keep them from the joys denied to herself. But she reckoned without a certain Holy Clerk of Glastonbury! With his Good Book he exorcised the Witch, and turned her to stone; he then cleansed from all evil the dreadful cavern.
The Glastonbury ThornGlastonbury, Somerset Great age is claimed for the Glastonbury thorn. When Joseph of Arimathea landed from his vessel, he and his company threw themselves down on a tall hill to rest. Joseph thrust his staff of dry hawthorn wood into the ground beside him. Miraculously it straight-way took root, an omen of the fruitfulness of his mission. The tree, always blooming on Christmas night, waxed great as the centuries passed, and its vitality was such that, when its twin stems were uprooted during the Civil War, even castaway fragments flourished where they fell.
The Fairies' ChangelingHerefordshireA mother was greatly worried over her child, for it never grew but lay in its cradle year after year. When her elder son, a soldier, returned from the wars, he refused to believe the child was his brother, declaring it was a changeling. To prove this, he blew out some eggs, filled the shells with malt and hops, and brewed them over the fire. "Though I've lived a thousand years," chuckled the changeling, "this is the first time I've seen beer brewed in egg-shells." He then rushed from the house. Shortly afterwards, a fine young man walked in - he was none other than the boy the fairies had been keeping for many years.
The Legend of Dozmary PoolBodmin Moor, Cornwall This pool on the Cornish moor, said to be bottomless, is haunted by the spirit of Tregeagle, a man of position and wealth. Having sold himself to the Devil in exchange for a life of unbridled excesses and crime, "he marked each day with some damned deed." Now he pays for his bargain, by day in the agonies of impossible tasks, and by night, with dreadful howls and roars, fleeing through the night-storms before his Master's hell-hound pack.
St. Patrick & the SnakesCarlisle, Cumberland Patrick, when a boy, was seized by pirates from his home near Carlisle and sold into bondage to an Irish chieftain. He escaped, and at length reached the Continent, where eventually he was ordained a bishop. Later he returned to the land of his former captivity, and by his preaching converted the Irish to Christianity. Legend says at that time the country was oppressed by great serpents and a host of loathsome, poisonous reptiles. Endowed with miraculous power, St. Patrick drove every snake from the land into that unfathomed pool, amid the Kerry Hills, from whence only the Last Trumpet may release them.
The Wizard of LincolnLincoln, LincolnshireA farmer of Lincolnshire, having suffered a great robbery, looked in vain for the culprits. In despair, he sought the aid of the Wizard of Lincoln, who flew to the farm in the form of a blackbird. In this guise he was perched in one of the farmer's rooms when a servant passed through. "That is one of the thieves," said the blackbird - "And there is the other," indicating the shadow of another servant on the wall. His work accomplished, the bird flew away. The two men were arrested, proved guilty of the crime, and the stolen money returned.
The Treasure of Callow PitSouthwood, NorfolkMany years ago, when Callow Pit was filled with water, people said that a chest of gold lay hidden in its depths. One night two daring men bridged the pit by ladders and, having found the chest, drew it up by a hook passed through the ring in its lid. In the excitement of their success, one of them cried: "Not even Old Nick can get it from us now!" Immediately the pit filled with a choking, sulphurous mist, and from the water sprang a black hand and arm. It grasped the chest and, despite their struggles, the men were forced to relinquish the treasure, which fell back into the depths, never to be seen again.
The White HareLooe, CornwallIt is whispered that the spirit of a broken-hearted maiden cannot rest; it appears as a white hare to haunt her deceiver and, invisible to others, follows him always until he meets his end. But down among the fisherfolk of the west this ghostly visitor plays a more kindly part. After sundown it will flit, eerie but harmless, among the up-drawn boats by the water's edge, or through the still byways of the port, a warning to all sea toilers of tempests that will surely follow, to the destruction of the heedless.
The Legend of Sir TarquinManchester, LancashireFor many years Sir Tarquin held the Castle of Mamecestre against King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. On a tree outside the gates he hung the shields of his prisoners, together with a copper basin, which all who would challenge him must strike. But none could vanquish the haughty knight until Sir Lancelot de Lac resolved to put an end to Sir Tarquin's power, and release the threescore knights and four whom he held in prison. Sir Lancelot shattered the basin with a blow. Never again was it needed, for in a desperate combat Sir Lancelot finally overcame Sir Tarquin.