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The Grey Stone Sockburn

Standing Stone / Menhir

Nearest Town:Darlington (9km NW)
OS Ref (GB):   NZ346070 / Sheet: 93
Latitude:54° 27' 25.06" N
Longitude:   1° 27' 58.46" W

Added by fitzcoraldo


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Folklore

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With regard to the folklore below, it seems like Sir John and the Wyverne got about a bit. This is from Walter Whites 1861 book A Month in Yorkshire.
"And it was near Lofthouse the Sir John Conyers won his name of Snake-Killer. A sword and coffin , dug up on the site of an Old Benedictine priory were supposed to have belonged to a brave knight who "slew yt monstorous and poisonous vermine or wyverne, and aske or werme, overthrew and devoured many people in fight, for yt ye sent of yt poison was so strong yt no person might abyde it." A grey stone standing in a field still marks the haunt of the worm and place of battle.
Tradition tells, moreover, of a valliant youth who killed a serpent and rescued an earls daughter from the reptiles cave, and married her: in token whereof Scaw Wood still bears his name."
Lofthouse is Loftus, a small town on the coast about 30 miles from Sockburn.

The sword which Sir John slew the worm with, the Conyers Falchion, is now kept in Durham Cathedral and can be seen here http://bjorn.foxtail.nu/h_conyers_eng.htm

The above web page also mentions Lewis Carroll's connection with Sockburn.
"The Sockburn Worm itself was almost certainly immortalized by Lewis Carroll in his famous nonsense rhyme, "Jabberwocky", as he lived in Croft on Tees as a boy and it was there he wrote the first verse of the rhyme."
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
23rd February 2007ce

"Sockburn has its legend, one of those interesting dragon stories which enrich our northern folk lore. It is thus told in the Bowes MSS p.57: " Sir John Conyers, Knt., slew yt monstorous and poisonous vermine or wyverne, and aske or werme, overthrew and devoured many people in fight, for yt ye sent of yt poison was so strong yt no person might abyde it. But before he made this enterprise, having but one sonne, he went to the church of Sockburn in complete armour, and offered up yt his onely sonne to ye Holy Ghost. Yt place where this serpent laye was called Graystane: and thisw John lieth buried in Sockburn church in complete armour, before the conquest."
The Grey Stone beneath which the monster was buried, is still pointed out in a field near the ruins of the church."

Bulmers Directory of North Yorkshire 1890
fitzcoraldo Posted by fitzcoraldo
22nd February 2007ce