Lambton Castle is on the banks of the River Wear near Durham. Long, long ago, John, Lord Lambton's spoilt young heir, was fishing for trout in the river. It was Sunday. He put a grub on the hook and cast his fishing line again. It hit the water with a plop.
The Lambton Worm - origins
The story is centered around John Lambton, heir of the Lambton Estate, County Durham, and his fierce battle with a gigantic worm dragon that had been terrorizing the local villages. Details of the story have changed over time with each telling, as with most myths of this kind. The story reveals that a young John Lambton, was very defiant who missed church one Sunday to go fishing in the River Wear.
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The North East is awash with folk stories, songs and lore which hark back to a murkier time and place in the past, often beyond record. An extremely rare surviving account of a dragon in County Durham comes from the St. Nicholas Church in Durham city, where the parish register for records that:. But before it was killed, It had deuoured as it is credibly thought more than p er sons And also destroyed a whole Countrey. Yet accounts of this Italian traveller and his curious creature feed into a folk tradition of foul serpents, worms, and dragons active in the county since before the time of the Norman Conquest.
The early Egyptians worshipped a holy crocodile the Messeh. Over the years, this became a Dragon, which, in turn, became the sign of kingship. This eastern idea of a dragon influenced the Celtic tribes who invaded Briton and the Celtic kings in Britain were known as "Pendragons". Heroes in Roman and Greek mythology fought with dragons. The Greek word drakon meant "one who sees" or "sharp-sighted one" and at first was a large serpent as well as "dragon". The ancient Norsemen carved dragons on their ships and dragons were drawn on the shields of Anglo-Saxon tribes.