Thursday, 9 February 2017

The Dragon of Glastonbury Tor

Glastonbury Tor ,a hill topped by a tower,stands out in the landscape and on misty mornings you can imagine being the gateway to another world. Around the sides of the Tor is terracing .It is much weathered but still visible.There are seven terraces cut deep into the hillside. Some say it was used for farming,others that it was part of a maze.Legend whispers  it was where a huge wyrm or dragon wrapped itself around the hill.
There are lots of stories of dragons in the Somerset area over the ages so stories of a  dragon  on the Tor would not be out of place.
Shervage Wood between Crowcombe and Holford was said  to be the haunt of at least one dragon. In one story it was a long dragon hacked to death by a forester from Holford.Another story states two men from Crowcombe engaged a double-headed winged lizard that terrorised the area, winning the battle by forcing the creature to eat burning pitch. Carvings on the benches in the Church of the Holy Ghost show some of the battle.
At Clevedon,  between Dolebury Hill and Cadbury Camp a dragon was reported to guard a secret stash of treasure concealed in this area. The same  story is associated with Castle Neroche south of Taunton where treasure is reputed to hidden around the iron Age Hill Fort. On Castleman’s Hill another dragon is supposed to have been vanquished.   Stapley Farm near Churchstanton, a dragon was killed by a knight and the swinging  of its tail carved out a hollow in a field known as Wormstall.
Kingston St.Mary, near Taunton,a fire-breathing dragon terrorized the region. A local hero rolled a boulder up a hill opposite the dragon’s lair and rolled the boulder down into the dragon’s gaping maw, choking it.
In Low Ham church is a spear supposed to have been used by a local  to kill a dragon that lived in the Athelney Marshes and fed on local livestock.
The village of Aller is reputed to be named after a local hero, John Aller, who slew a dragon. In one version of the story he was poisoned by the creature’s dying breaths, while in another he found a brood of hatchlings in a cave and blocked it up.
After a battle at the hill fort at Norton Fitzwarren, a dragon appeared and began to  devour children and destroying crops. Fulk Fitzwartine fought the creature  and after a long  struggle ,put a spear in its heart and cut off its head. In All Saints Church, a 16th-century rood screen depicts the story. 
In Wells the cathedral is built on the area where the villagers were afraid to access seven holy springs because of a wyvern, which was driven away by Bishop Jocelyn. At Wiviliscome  in the late  1820s, when the church was being constructed , the devil riding a green dragon is supposed to have thrown rocks at the reconstruction work until driven away by St. Andrew.

So could a dragon have wound itself around the Tor leaving the terraces? Well that depends on you and if you believe in dragons. 

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