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Edric the Wild


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A Saxon lord owning land along the Welsh Border at the time of the Norman Conquest, who became a focus for several legends. According to Walter Map, he kidnapped a most beautiful fairy woman, whom he saw dancing and singing with her sisters in a hall in a forest. She agreed to marry him, on condition he never alluded to her past; some years later he broke this promise, and she vanished instantly. Soon after, he died of grief.

In later folklore, Edric himself took on supernatural characteristics. Charlotte Burne was told that he and his fairy wife and all their followers were still alive, deep in the Shropshire lead mines, and would not die till all the wrongs done by the Normans are righted. Miners would hear them knocking where the best lodes ran. ‘Now and then they are permitted to show themselves. Whenever war is going to break out, they ride over the hills in the direction of the enemy's country, and if they appear, it is a sign that the war will be serious’ (Burne, 1883: 25–9). Charlotte Burne's informant, a miner's daughter, said her father had seen Edric riding out in Napoleon's time, and she herself before the Crimean war. More modern books on Shropshire lore mention people who claim sightings in 1914 and 1939.


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