Mordiford lies by the River Lugg at the foot of a beautiful wood some 4 miles from Hereford, and was once an important mining village. A rather lovely 9 span bridge over the river was once a useful source of silver spurs for the king………apparently every time a king crossed the bridge the local lords of the manors had to give him a pair!!
The legend of the Mordiford Dragon
Mordiford had its very own dragon, although the legend has varied over the years as did the painting of it in the church. Sometimes it was shown as green with two wings, and sometimes red with four wings or variations on the theme. The first part of the story has always remained much the same, in that a little girl in the village, called Maud, discovered a baby dragon and took it home to care for it. Her parents were naturally not best pleased, and told her to get rid of the creature but she didn’t, and secretly fed it milk. After a bit of course, as is the way with dragons, it needed more than milk and started raiding the local livestock and then people. It eventually left Maud and made a home in the woods but it never forgot her kindness and was good enough not to eat her. From here on the story varies widely; one version was that a member of a local family, the Garstons (whose family crest includes a Wyvern – a sort of dragon) killed the dragon. Another version maintains that a prisoner facing execution was given the chance of freedom if he slew the dragon…….he managed to do this, but died anyway because the dragon breathed fire on him. The final version of the dragon’s demise involved the flooding of the River Lugg which caused the death of some cows…….the dragon gorged itself on these carcasses and fell fast asleep, whereupon the villages all clubbed it to death.
An 18th Century Version of the Tale of the Dragon of Mordiford
“At a remote period, very far beyond the memory of man and very obscurely ascertained by tradition, there lived in the woody steep not far from Mordiford a monster with prodigious wings, which committed various and alarming depredations among the cattle, and even the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. The monster was wont to resort to a particular spot for the purpose of allaying his thirst, and this was at the confluence of the Wye and the Lug.
Many and great were the rewards which the good people of Mordiford offered to anyone who should destroy the dragon, but it seems that no man was found of sufficient courage to engage in so perilous an adventure.
At length, a malefactor who had been condemned to die, undertook to kill the serpent and relieve the Mordifordians from their daily and nightly fears, on condition of receiving his pardon as the reward of his valour. The condition being granted, the hero concealed himself in a barrel at the water’s edge and lay in ambush for his dreadful foe. The barrel was formidable, bristling with long sharp pointed pieces of steel.
The wiles of the serpent being thus overcome, when he came to drink as usual the contest began; it lasted for a considerable time, but as the dragon lashed in furious anger at the barrel with its tail, it managed to severely injure itself on the steel spikes, and eventually retired, blood soaked and weak, to the bank of the river. The hero boldly approached the dragon, sure of victory, but just as he struck the fatal blow, in horrible spite at the triumph about to be obtained over it, the dragon lifted its head one final time and poisoned the man with its breath.
Thus they lay dead, side by side.
Churches of Mordiford
- Holy Rood church - Mordiford
This is the only church dedicated to The Holy Rood in Herefordshire.
The church of the Holy Rood suffered flooding in 1811, after which it was modified and then further restored in the late 19th century.Read More >
News from the Past Mordiford
- Mordiford News from the Past
Riotous behaviour, a naughty policeman. assault and much moreRead More >