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The Lambton Worm


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Daniel Parkinson's picture
Daniel Parkinson
User offline. Last seen 2 years 3 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 22 Jul 2008

We have received an e-mail request from a student from the
University of Chester studying Radio Production and Media Studies,
who is currently creating a feature about the Northeast myth of The
Lambton Worm.  She is looking for anyone who can talk
about the topic in a phone interview at some point in the
near future.

If anyone can help we would be grateful to hear from you.

Danny JP

Urisk's picture
Urisk
User offline. Last seen 30 weeks 6 hours ago. Offline
Joined: 15 Oct 2008
Lambton Worm

I would love to help, but I only know the basics of the story. Sorry, Dan.

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jordanbenidict's picture
jordanbenidict
User offline. Last seen 3 years 35 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 24 Feb 2010
Re: The Lambton Worm

The story states that the young John Lambton was a rebellious character who missed church one Sunday to go fishing in the River Wear. In many versions of the story, while walking to the river, or setting up his equipment, John receives warnings from an old man that no good can come from missing church.

John Lambton does not catch anything until the time the church service finishes, at which point he fishes out a small eel- or lamprey-like creature with nine holes on each side of its salamander-like head. Depending on the version of the story the worm is no bigger than a thumb, or about 3 feet long. In some renditions it has legs, while in others it is said to more closely resemble a snake.

At this point the old man returns, although in some versions it is a different character. John declares that he has caught the devil and decides to dispose of his catch by discarding it down a nearby well. The old man then issues further warnings about the nature of the beast.

John then forgets about the creature and eventually grows up. As a penance for his rebellious early years he joins the crusades
Eventually the worm grows extremely large and the well becomes poisonous. The villagers start to notice livestock going missing and discover that the fully-grown worm has emerged from the well and coiled itself around a local hill.

In some versions of the story the hill is Penshaw Hill, that on which the Penshaw Monument now stands, but locally the credit goes to the nearby Worm Hill, in Fatfield. In most versions of the story the worm is large enough to wrap itself around penshaw hill 7 times. It is said that one can still see the marks of the worm on Worm Hill.

The worm terrorises the nearby villages, eating sheep, preventing cows from producing milk and snatching away small children. It then heads towards Lambton Castle where the Lord (John Lambton's aged father) manages to sedate the creature in what becomes a daily ritual of offering the worm milk of nine good cows, twenty gallons, or a filled wooden/stone trough.

A number of brave villagers try to kill the beast but are quickly dispatched. When a chunk is cut off the worm it simply reattaches the missing piece. Visiting knights also try to assault the beast but none survive. When annoyed the worm would uproot trees by coiling its tail around them. It then created devastation by waving around the uprooted trees like a club.

this should help!!

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