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Bromfield Barrow Cemetery

Barrow / Cairn Cemetery


In Beowulf the treasures of ancient days which the dragon guarded, are represented as lying in a chamber or cave underneath the low. An old historian of the fourteenth century, Thomas of Walsingham, has preserved in his chronicle a curious legend relating to the village of Bromfield, near Ludlow.

In the year 1344, he says, a certain Saracen physician came to Earl Warren to ask permission to kill a serpent or dragon, which had its den at Bromfield, and was committing great ravages in the Earl's lands on the borders of Wales. The Earl consented, and the dragon was overcome by the incantations of the Arab; but certain words which he had dropped led to the belief that large treasure lay hid in the dragon's den. Some men of Herefordshire, hearing of this, went by night, at the instigation of a Lombard named Peter Picard, to dig for the gold; and they had just reached it, when the retainers of the Earl of Warren, having discovered what was going on, fell suddenly upon them, and threw them into prison. The treasure, which the Earl took possession of, is said by Walsingham to have been great. It is very probable that this treasure was a deposit of Roman coins, &c. found in the neighbourhood of the Old Field; and one of the barrows or lows there may have been the reputed dragon's home.
A bit speculative but seems reasonable enough? From p28 of 'The history of Ludlow and its neighbourhood' by Thomas Wright (1852).

-stop press, folklore confusion shocker- Ms Burne says it's the wrong place. Though it's probably better to leave this here as I bet it's repeated in countless books. And anyway, who knows.
The story of the Dragon of Bromfield .. does not refer to Bromfield in Shropshire at all, as Mr Wright supposed, but to Bromfield in Denbighshire, formerly in the Marches of Wales, which came into the hands of John Earl Warren in the 13th century; whereas Bromfield belonged to the canons of Bromfield, and after them to the monks of Bromfield Priory, from (at least) the time of the Confessor onwards.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
8th May 2011ce
Edited 16th May 2011ce

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