The Legend of the Deerhurst Dragon - or St George lived in Gloucestershire!

Once upon a time, a long time ago, the tiny hamlet of Deerhurst Walton was being terrorised by a fierce dragon or serpent, that some say had been swept up the Severn on the floods. Things were getting pretty desperate, they were running out of virgins to sacrifice, Kate Adey had come to commentate for News at 10, etc.

In response to an appeal to the King (some say), along came farmworker George Smith, who fed milk to the dragon, and then cut off its head with an axe whilst it slept! The people were very grateful, Saint George (as he was beginning to be called) married the farmer’s daughter, everybody lived happily after, and the Smith family still farm the land to this very day. The pond is still there, (Apperley Scouts sailed rafts on it years ago) but the axe which did the deed has disappeared. It was apparently put on display in Cheltenham for some time, then it was in the keeping of a member of the Smith family, but has now been lost.

There are several accounts of this story, from the 15th (Robert Atkins) and 18th centuries (Samuel Rudder), a famous poem by William Vizard, (Into the Valley of the Gods) and even a song, by local singer/songwriter Gwilym Davies. (Words & Music available on request)

There is also an article by local poet and storyteller Anthony Nansen  HERE

So when  it is April 23rd, St George’s Day, and you are wearing your red rose, and people talk about St George being a Roman cavalry commander from Asia Minor, (A plot to help Turkey to join the Common Market!)  you can say “I know differently! St George was English, and he lived in Deerhurst Walton!”

Peter Cripps

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