Semerwater, Simmerwater

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A lake called Semer or Simmer Water near Askrigg (North Yorkshire) is said to cover the site of a lost village, submerged as a judgement on the wickedness of the inhabitants, according to a tale first recorded in the 19th century. A weary traveller, who was really a disguised angel (or Christ, or St Paul, or Joseph of Arimathea, or a witch, according to various versions), went from house to house begging food and shelter. All refused, except one poor widow in the last cottage of the village; in one version (Addy, 1895: 61), the kindly widow was a Quaker, and the traveller a witch, who waved an ash twig over the village, saying:‘Simmerdale, Simmerdale, Simmerdale, sink,Save the house of the woman who gave me to drink.’

Thereupon water filled the valley, drowning all the houses but one; on fine days the ruins can still be glimpsed under the lake.

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