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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886524444

From: linda Merle <>
Subject: Re: Linton Church - "The Sommerville Stone"
Date: Tue, 03 Feb 1998 08:47:24 -0800

Hi, thought someone might enjoy this from the Border list re the
Linton Worm. But ...we don't have worms in America like these
Border worms, nosuree! Not even in Texas.

Oh for the days when we could rove out and slay dragons, er, worms.
All I get to fight are tape worms -- of my dog, I might add.

> Hi Ian,
> >Does anyone know anything of the origins of the stone?
> I can only related second-hand information but it may be of interest
> to you nevertheless. There is a little bit about the stone in Charles
> Alexander Strang's "Borders and Berwick: an illustrated architectural
> guide to the Scottish Borders and Tweed Valley" (published 1994 by
> the Rutland Press, ISBN 1 873190 10 7). On page 120 it says:
> "The Linton worm (or dragon) was said to have been defeated by Sir
> John Somerville, knighted by William the Lion because of his feats
> of beast slaying. The weathered tympanum to the untutored eye would
> appear to confirm the worm-slaying. To the expert, though, the beastly
> target is a brace of bears."
> I'd recommend this book to anyone with an interest in this part of the
> Borders because it is full of photos and lots of interesting snippets.
> Other books in the series ("Architectural Guides to Scotland") published
> on behalf of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland cover
> other parts of the country (see
> The topic was also covered in the introductory article about Linton
> parish in Rutherfurd's "Southern Counties' Register and Directory"
> published in 1866 by J & J.H. Rutherfurd of Kelso. It was reprinted
> in facsimile form in 1990 by Borders Regional Library. Page 171 has:
> "Above the porch of the church is an ancient stone with a carving of
> a man on horseback, having a long spear in his hand, which is thrust
> into the mouth of an animal resembling a dragon. This stone is said,
> also, t one time, to have born the following inscription:-
> 'The wode Laird of Larieston,
> Slew the worm of Wormieston,
> And won all Linton parochine.'
> This refers to a monstrous serpent, wolf, or bear, which infested
> the neighbourhood and committed great devastation; its den is still
> point out, under the name of 'The Worm's Hole;' and the field in
> which it is situated, receives the name of 'Wormington'. The
> animal was killed by William de Somerville, ancestor of Lord
> Somerville, who obtained Linton as his reward, and the memorial of
> this event is still preserved on the crest of his arms, which
> retains, among other allusions to it, the following inscription-
> 'The Wode Laird.'"
> Well that's the legend anyway :) I'm sure that I have a small
> book somewhere about the legend of the Linton Worm - will have
> a look among my collection.
> Best wishes.
> Viv

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