The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian

Whitley Church



A description of the supposed scene of the ballad, which was communicated to the Editor in 1767, is here given in the words of the relater:

"In Yorkshire, six miles from Rotherham, is a village called Wortley, the seat of the late Wortley Montague, Esq. About a mile from this village is a lodge, named Warncliff-lodge, but vulgarly called Wantley: here lies the scene of the song. I was there above forty years ago; and it being a woody rocky place, my friend made me clamber over rocks and stones, not telling me to what end, till I came to a sort of a cave; then asked my opinion of the place, and pointing to one end says, Here lay the dragon killed by Moor of Moor-hall; here lay his hea; here lay his tail; and the stones we came over on the hill, are those he could not crack; and yon white house you see half a mile off, is Moor-hall. I had dined at the lodge, and knew the man's name was Matthew, who was a keeper to Mr. Wortley, and, as he endeavoured to persuade me, was the same Matthew mentioned in the song: in the house is the picture of the dragon and Moor of Moor-hall; and near it a well, which, says he, is the well described in the ballad."
The ballad is here in Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry. It's a humorous take on old ballads of chivalry, and the dragon tries to put off Moor of Moor-hall (in his Sheffield steel armour) by firing dung* at him. But Moor is not deterred and kills him with a kick up the behind, or Arse, as it actually says in the poem (*and worse). The first edition of 'Reliques' was published in 1765.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th May 2014ce
Edited 8th May 2014ce

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