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Bloody Corner, Northam, Devon

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Ian Topham
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The following was e-mailed in by a reader:

Bloody Corner is thought to be the spot at which either King Alfred the Great or the Earl of Devon slayed Hubba the Dane. A plaque is now situated at this spot.

As a child in school, I remember hearing that you should always take off your shoes and tiptoe past Bloody Corner when passing after midnight. No-one ever said exactly how long after midnight it was safe to walk past with shoes on, or indeed what would happen if you didn't take your shoes off.

A friend of mine's dad once told us that he saw the ghosts of 3 monks walking past Bloody Corner late at night.

Ian Topham's picture
Ian Topham
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Re: Bloody Corner, Northam, Devon

I found the following on

Ancient records of Northam exist from around the 10th/11th Century and the story of the battle with “Hubba the Dane” at Bloody Corner in the late 9th Century. Tradition says he landed at what is now Boathyde (Hyde meaning a Cove) with a fleet of 33 ships and marched to attack the “Hill Fort” at Kenwith. The legend is that they were defeated by Odun, Earl of Devon. He and 1000 of his men were killed: the men were buried at Bonehill (Bunhill was the old name for a burial ground) and he was buried in a Cairn, in the area now known as Hubbastone. There is a stone tablet at Bloody Corner in Northam, erected by Charles Chappell, which reads:

“Stop Stranger Stop,
Near this spot lies buried
King Hubba the Dane,
who was slayed in a bloody retreat,
by King Alfred the Great”

We shall probably never know what really happened or who was really involved. There is also an area in Northam Woods called 'The Copse', known as King Alfred’s Cave, and is reputed to be where King Alfred hid from the Vikings/Danes.

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Re: Bloody Corner, Northam, Devon

I've cross-checked a few things.
Hubba the Dane appears to have been a Viking warlord named Ubba Ragnarsson of which very little is known. He was the son of Ragnar Lodbrok, the leader of the great Norse army which besieged Paris in 845 and which retreated only after an enormous danegled was paid to them.
Ragnar is said to have been shipwrecked on the coasts of Northumberland where he was taken prisoner. King Aella condemend him to a particular brutal death: being thrown in a pit filled with poisonous snakes.
Recent research hint that this is most likely complete invention and he was probably murdered by a personal rival.
Two of his sons, Ivar and Halfdan, led the Great Heathen Army which laid waste to England and was only defeated by Alfred the Great at Ethandun in 878.
Hubba led a subsidiary operation in Devon and here he was defeated and slain by earl Odda at the battle of Cynuit. The location of the battle itself  is much disputed but the present favored location is Cannington Hill in Somerset.
The victory was particularly significant not only because it was the first important victory over the invading Danes (Alfred had won many skirmishes and minor engagements but was still to win a pitched battle) but also because Odda captured a Raven Banner, something very few, if any, had managed to do to date.


"Louhi spoke in riddled tones of three things to achieve: find and catch the Devil's Moose and bring it here to me. Seize the Stallion born of Fire, harness the Golden Horse. He captured and bound the Moose, he tamed the Golden Horse. Still there remained one final task: hunt for the Bird from the Stream of Death"

-Kalevala, Rune XIII-



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