Bel the Giant
Long ago before the race of giants had died out inBritain, one of their numbers lived in Leicestershire. His name was Bel and he lived four or five miles north of Leicester. Bel was a great boaster and claimed he could reach Leicester on his sorrel mare in three huge leaps.
His boast was challenged and Bel accepted a wager. He mounted his sorrel mare at a place now called Mountsorrel. His first leap took him high over Rothley and he landed at a spot now called Wanlip (one leap). His second mighty jump broke his harness and burst the heart of his gallant steed. His second leap took Bel to the place now called Birstall. Bel forced his mare to her feet and made her undertake one final effort. The horse and rider landed about a mile short ofLeicester, but both were killed by their fall. They were buried together in one grave in a place now called Belgrave. There is a rhyme about the story that goes like:
Mountsorrel he mounted at
Rothley he rode by
Wanlip he leaped o’er
At Birstall he burst his gall
At Belgrave he was buried at.
The Villages of Mountsorrel, Rothley, Wanlip and Birstall form roughly a straight line between Loughborough and Leicester. Belgrave was once a village in its own right but now is part of the city ofLeicester. So if Bel had made his wager today he would have won it as he did make it into Present day Leicester in three leaps, just as he boasted he would!!