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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886895436

From: Randell Summerville <>
Subject: Re: Linton Church - "The Sommerville Stone"
Date: Sun, 08 Feb 1998 10:50:36 +1100

The Last Dragon in Scotland.
> 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.
> Linda
Great are a few more details.

The Killing of the Serpent in Linton, Roxburgshire, Scotland.

The inhabitants, and the crofters and especially the farmers
in the district
of Linton in Roxburgshire , were greatly annoyed and alarmed by
the appearance
of a Serpent:- It may have been a wild boar or a wolf or bear.
The author of
The Memorie calls it " a monster in the shape of a worm, or
serpent. In lenght
,3 Scots yards, and bigger than an ordinary man's leg, with a
head more
proportionable to its length than its greatness".
The farmers and crofters had to keep their flocks and herds
far from its
haunts, and so were put to much inconvenience and annoyance.
Many attempts and
schemes were tried to kill it. but all failed until John
Somerville, the King's
favourite , made an attempt and succeeded. Armed with a
specially designed ,
strong, long, iron-bound spear to which was attached a small
wheel, and burning
peat which had been saturated with pitch, he mounted a powerful
and swift pony,
and after practicing well to accustom his pony to the fire,
etc, and to steady
his aim, he rode to the Serpent's den. As the knight waited
until its head was
well raised, and its mouth open to sieze him. He then spurred
his pony and
advanced at full gallop, ran the spear with the burning peat
down the throat of
the monster and left it there to die.

He thus became benefactor and hero of the district.
He was knighted in 1174.
The place is still known as Worm's Glen, and there is a rude
representation of
the act in the form of a mounted Knight, with a falcon on his
arm. An animal
which in no way resembles a serpent is seen with its mouth open
wide, receiving
the thrust of the charging Knight. This monument is of stone
and is placed over
the door of the Church of Linton.
The King was so pleased ,that he not only honoured him with a
knighthood, but
rewarded him by a grant of lands and barony of Linton.
Sir John settled there, for we read that he built the Tower for
a residence,
and he was constituted Sheriff of the County of Roxburgh. 1214.
It was here that his father sought refuge when he fled
Sir John spent most of his early manhood at Court, or on his
attendance upon
King William, with whome he was a special favourite.

The house of Somerville, in allusion to this exploit, and the
means employed
by their ancestors upon this occusion, bear for a crest,-
awyvern (or heraldric
dragon) "vert", perched upon a wheel "or".

He was 1st Baron of Linton and 6th Baron of Whichenour.

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