|A confusing tangled tale revolves around a bell here. Offa was supposed to have lived in Sutton Walls, or alternatively down in Marden below. As mentioned, there is a church on the spot where Offa murdered St. Ethelbert, and a few yards away, a pond. When the pond was being cleaned out, a bell was found, eighteen feet below the level of the adjacent ground.
The Dean of Hereford said (in the 1840s) that the bell "was formed of a sheet of mixed metal, which had been hammered into shape: it is four-sided.. riveted together on each side.." The Herefordshire SMR says it was of iron and bronze, and calls it 'Celtic', but it is surely newer - and where is it now?
He also said, "There is a tradition at Marden among the common people that there lies in the river Lugg, near the church, a large silver bell, which will never be taken out until two white oxen are attached to it, to draw it from the river."
and elsewhere (eg at the Hereford Times ) there's talk of a mermaid - the oxen had a go pulling the bell out, but the mermaid dragged it back.
It seems like one of those chicken-and-egg situations (like with the Mold cape) where you can't tell how much story there really was before the discovery.
See the Archaeological Journal for 1848 (v5) p330
Posted by Rhiannon
26th January 2008ce
Edited 26th January 2008ce