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The Lampton Worm

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posted on May, 11 2013 @ 05:09 PM

Today I have a local myth of a beastly worm that once terrorized both sides of the river Wear and the local countryside in then county Durham England around 800 years ago.

The story starts with a young boy called John Lambton who on one Sunday morning decided to skip church so he could go and fish in the Wear, on route to getting there an old man tells him "no good can come from missing church" untroubled the young lad went along anyway and fished away.

The fishing must have seemed a wasted idea because young Lambton didn't catch a thing until the church service finished and what he did catch must have been a sight. The stories vary on what it is he caught but they all agree it was a snake or eel like creature with 9 holes on either side of the head, some say it was the size of a thumb others say it was about 3 feet and some have even said it had legs. Anyway after catching this queer looking worm/fish thing the old man appeared again and mentions "no good will come from what you've hooked laddy". Maybe John believed the old man or maybe he was sick of the sight of the thing but on the way home he decided to throw the beast down a well.

Now time past quickly and the worm down the well was forgotten about and pretty soon young Lampton wasn't so young anymore, in fact he was a young man and he's time to go and fight in the Holy lands with his brethren knights had come.
But little did John know that the little worm in the well had been growing and growing while he was away and eventually it grew large enough that it was able to escape it's prison and begin it's reign of terror upon the local countryside.

Now for the locals this really was a terror, it scared the local wildlife off, stopped the milk cows produced (because of fear) and had free pickings at the local farmers market as it were. The worm now had a good diet and the size of it accounted for that, it's said that it could wrap it's tail 7 times around a hill (Penshaw hill though most likely Worm hill) and it could uproot trees with it's tail and use them as clubs.

Pretty soon the local snacks were running out and people were living in real fear now as children had went missing and the only livestock left was those that were kept inside, terrified and desperate the locals turned to Lord Lambton (John's father) and demanded something be done.
Lambton knowing his cattle will be next agrees something has to be done and sets up a raiding party to find and kill the wicked beast a costly mistake as many lifes were lost in the attempts to kill it, whenever the beast was cut it simply and hacked apart the pieces that were decapitated simply re-attached itself to the worm.
Knowing now that this worm cannot be killed the only viable solution Lambton now has is to simply give offerings to this monster and so he did, milk of nine good cows, twenty gallons, or a filled wooden/stone trough was daily given to hopefully quench the beasts verocious hunger.

So now seven years had past since young John went off to fight the crusades and was now quite the established knight, upon returning home however he is greeted by a destitute land ravaged by what ultimately was he's own sin.
Horrified by what he has seen and caused John naturally decides that he must face his demon and destroy it once and for all, knowing the fate of many before him however John decides it would be wise to seek guidance on this noble quest.
And so he seeks the help of an old and wise witch who lived in a small shack on a hill upon the outskirts of his father's kingdom.

The witch confirms that this is John's own curse and only he can lift it from the land and she also goes into great detail of how it must be killed. She tells him to cover his Templar armor with spearheads and that he must lure the great worm to where you found it where it basks around a nearby hill overlooking the Wear, the witch also tells him that once the beast is vanquished that he must kill the first living thing he sees after or his family will be cursed for 9 generations and not one of them will die in their beds.

John then prepares for the battle, setting up a plan with his father to release the hounds after he killed the worm so that the curse can be lifted with the blood of the humble hunting dogs.
The day of battle was here and John knew what he must do, upon sighting John the worm must have recognized him because he didn't even have to provoke it. The worm tightened it's grip on it's resting rock it was wrapped around and angrily displaced earth, rocks and trees as it snapped like a whip and came charging towards Lampton, Lampton who smartly chose his spot backed off towards and into the river in a shallow but yet fast-flowing rocky crossing and thus the battle began.
The fight raged on for hours with John slashing here and there and the worm giving equally as much, wrapping it's body around John like an Anaconda smothers it's pray but this just made the spearheads dig deeper and bit by bit the worm was washed away by the currents it once swam in.

It took time but pretty soon the worm was dead and was most likely well on it's way to it's watery grave in the north sea never to hound the life of Wearsiders ever again, John struggling to catch his breath sounded the hunting horn 3 times, this was the sign for his father to release the dogs... but he never.
In his excitement and happiness to hear his son alive and the worm gone he rushed to John and embraced him like you would wit anyone who has saved everything you have, unable to kill his father the curse was to live on for nine generations.

Hope you enjoyed this local myth, I though I'd add it on here for some reading pleasure as I have always like this story and thought the ATS community may like it too.

I'll add some local facts and pictures about this story too in another post below.

posted on May, 11 2013 @ 05:10 PM
The theorised locations of where the worm rested:

Penshaw hill, Sunderland

Worm Hill, Washington

Here is something to ponder about on if a curse actually existed

This curse seems to have held true for at least three generations, possibly helping to contribute to the popularity of the story.
1st generation: Robert Lambton, drowned at Newrig.
2nd: Sir William Lambton, a Colonel of Foot, killed at Marston Moor.
3rd: William Lambton, died in battle at Wakefield.
9th: Henry Lambton, died in his carriage crossing Lambton Bridge on June 26, 1761.

(General Lambton, Henry Lambton's brother, is said to have kept a horse whip by his bedside to ward off violent assaults. He died in his bed at an old age.)


The Penshaw monument is a freemason built monument to a member of the Lampton family who was influencial person in setting up the nation Canada his name was John George Lambton, first Earl of Durham and the first Governor of the Province of Canada.

Penshaw Monument
John Lambton 1st Earl of Durham

And here is a folk song about the Lambton Worm, apologies if you can't understand the local accent

edit on 11-5-2013 by RAY1990 because: (no reason given)


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