Legend: Linton Worm

During the twelfth century a legend existed of a worm which lived in a hollow on the Northeast side of Linton Hill. From its lair it roamed the countryside, devouring livestock and laying waste to the land. The landscape around the area became desolate and derelict, avoided by the local population, who were in fear of the worm.

One Sommerville of Lariston, came to the village of Jedburgh where many of the country folk had fled, and heard many conflicting tales about the dragon. Some said the dragon was sprouting wings, and others said that the dragon had fiery venomous breath that could kill from afar.

He decided to go and see for himself, searching out the worm’s lair, and waited, for his prey.  It was not long before he caught the scent, and the worm exited his lair, and stood gazing at him with its mouth hanging open, but did not attack. He watched the habits and movements of the dragon.

Sommerville went to the local blacksmith and had a long lance forged, a small iron wheel stood a foot from the point of the lance, and the barest touch would cause the point to drop.

On the point of the lance he placed a burning peat turf, dowsed in pitch and brimstone. With this he practised riding in joust position, until his horse had become used to the acrid smoke blowing in its face. He then told the villagers he intended to slay their dragon, but they laughed in his face.

The next day at sunrise he went with a servant to the worm’s lair. He sat on his horse in readiness, and when the beast lumbered forward from out of its cave the servant set fire to the peat. Sommerville spurred his horse forward and in one swift movement shoved the burning peat into the worm’s gaping mouth. Thus was delivered a fatal blow to the Dragon of Linton. Sommerville was knighted and made a royal Falconer, he became the first Barron of Lintoune.

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