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The Worm Lambton

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#1    andes_wolf


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Posted 01 February 2013 - 04:01 PM

The Lambton Worm is a legend of Country Durham in the North East of England. Originating in oral tradition, the story was eventually captured in written form before being adapted in a music hall song in the 19th century.  The legend of the Lambton Worm is one of the area’s most vivid pieces of folklore

The story centers on John Lambton, a young member of the Lambton family, powerful landowners in County Durham.  Lambton was a rebellious youth who habitually missed church on Sunday mornings in order to go fishing in the Wear, the river that runs through the county.  In many versions of the story, Lambton is admonished by a sage-like old man who warns him that no good can come from missing church.
Lambton fails to catch a fish, but just as the church service is finishing he catches a grotesque worm-like creature with nine holes on either side of its head. Lambton declares, ‘I think I’ve catched the devil,’ and decides to dispose of the creature by dropping it down a well. Lambton puts the creature out of mind and eventually joins the crusades, fighting in the Holy Land as a penance for his youthful transgressions.

Worm Hill in Fatfield.

Penshaw Hill.

Meanwhile, strange things are happening deep down in the well.  The worm grows to a great size, with a large head an ‘great big goggley eyes.’  Venturing out of the well, the worm roams around the countryside.  Villagers notice that livestock is going missing and that children are disappearing from their beds.  The fully-grown worm terrorizes the region and takes to coiling itself around a local hill.  It the original legend Worm Hill in Fatfield is the worm’s chosen location.  However, the 19th century music hall song relocates the action toPenshaw Hill, where Penshaw Monument now stands.  Penshaw Monument was built in 1848 as a memorial to John George Lambton, a descendent of the protagonist of the Lambton Worm


#2    Queen in the North

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 06:55 PM

Nice, Penshaw monument is a lovely spot. I was told this cool bit of folklore as a child. Didn't know it was originally a different spot from Penshaw though, thanks!

Wouldn't go so far as to call it a cryptid though, lol.

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#3    Urisk


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Posted 01 February 2013 - 08:45 PM

Great tale :) Oft associated with ancient dragon legends; worm being an old term for large serpent :D

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#4    Rafterman



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Posted 01 February 2013 - 09:12 PM

Cool story - fairly standard morality tale though.  I used to be warned that I would catch the devil if I fished on Sunday - never could reconcile that with the notion that you had to what you had to do to eat.

"You can't have freedom of religion without having freedom from the religious beliefs of other people."

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