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Mordiford


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In the 17th century, the village church at Mordiford, Herefordshire, had on its exterior wall a large picture of a dragon with four pairs of wings, which was repainted several times before being finally erased when the church was repaired in 1810–12. It was locally taken to be proof that a monster had once lived there, and been killed—though as to how, and by whom, stories varied. The hero was usually said to have been a criminal who volunteered to fight the dragon instead of being hanged; he hid in a cider barrel, and either shot it dead through the bunghole or tricked it into attacking the barrel, which was studded with knives, so that it wounded itself mortally. But the dragon's deadly breath poisoned him, so he never enjoyed his victory.

J. Dacres Devlin, The Dragon of Mordiford (1848/1978);Simpson, 1980.


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