To provide some inspiration for those who are involved, or who might want to be involved, in the trail this year, we are going to post a series of inspirational posts on Tuesdays and Thursdays from now until 2nd May.
And what better to start with than Dragons!
English folklore with Dragons sometimes calls them serpents, and sometimes wyrms. There’s a lot of variant St George’s, with knights slaying dragons.
We’ve had a few people question how relevant Dragons are to Lancashire folklore, but the fact is, Lancashire does some folk lore stories featuring these beasts.
This story is associated with ‘a strange skin formly displayed in Farnworth church’, and found in Terence Whitaker’s Lancashire’s Ghosts and Legends (1980).
The area was once plagued by a flying dragon, which came from the woods to pray on cattle. A blacksmith took it upon himself to destroy the dragon and forged a case large enough to fit in himself and disguished it as a cow. When the dragon carried him off, he wounded it, then slew it when they landed. He was knighted in reward, and the marked cow hide was displayed in the Church.
The Unsworth Dragon
This is the better known of the two stories.
The Unsworth family, linked to the ‘chief mansion’ of this small village have a number of carvings depicting the dragon of Unsworth and their ancestor who was said to have slain the dragon.
There are some variants on this one, most have Thomas Unsworth slaying a maneating dragon that had a hide too tough for any bullet to pierce. He either loaded a dagger into his gun, or used an axe. The story appears in Harland and Wilkinson’s 1873 collection of Lancashire Legends.
The locals still talk about this one: http://unsworth-primary.co.uk/the-unsworth-dragon/
Other Lancashire Dragons
There’s also a dragon tale for Silverdale, relating to the Buck Stone/Rocking Stone – https://lancashirefolk.com/category/dragons/
And Runcorn is said to have had a tiger striped dragon!
Neighbouring Yorkshire and Cumbria also have some dragon tales of their own.
Westwood & Simpson – The Lore of the Land