Wednesday, September 5, 2018
The Bisterne Dragon
As the legend goes, long ago a “devouring dragon” had settled into a lair in the New Forest near Burley Beacon, at the village of Burley. The dragon would fly each morning to the village of Bisterne to terrorize the villagers and exact his payment of milk (thought sometimes listed as a maiden). The villagers appeal to the Lord of the Manor to save them.
This third battle rages all around the New Forest, finishing up outside the village of Lyndhurst, where Sir Maurice managed to kill the dragon, whose body becomes a hill called Bolton’s Bench. In the process of vanquishing the dragon, the two dogs are killed and are buried on the hill.
Although not wounded physically, Sir Maurice does not escape unscathed. For thirty days and nights he cannot eat nor sleep, his mental faculties shattered by the battle with the dragon, and at the end of that time he returns to Bolton’s Bench and dies. From his body, and those of his dogs, there grow three yew trees that may be seen on the hill to this day.
I found this tale to be charming and utterly fascinating and my hero and heroine in my upcoming Christmas novella, A Match Made at Christmas, had a wonderful time talking about the legend and exploring Bolton’s Bench.