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Lyminster Knucker, Sussex

The village of Lyminster, sitting placidly between Arundel and Littlehampton, does not seem the sort of place where tales of horrific beasts belong. But it does have just such a tale associated with it, or rather several versions of one master tale.
At the heart of the story is the Knucker Hole near the church, a water source reputed (naturally) to be bottomless, or to stretch all the way to the sea at Littlehampton. The water there never warms in summer nor freezes in winter. The place still retains a certain suggestion of strangeness, but once it was not suggestion but grizzly reality: the bones of sheep, cattle and even men strewn around it. For in the hole lived a terrible dragon, or in old English a knucker (water beast) emerging at night to hunt its prey.
That much is common to the story, but thereafter it splits into two versions, one of which splits again. The first has a brave and bold knight (what other sort is there?) returning from war or the crusades, and learning that the King of Sussex has offered a reward (treasure, land, his daughter, take your pick) for whoever can slay the beast. And slay it he does, after a long and close fought battle all through the night, the dragon weakening as daylight and hope creep over the horizon.
The second strand is enjoyably different. This has a local lad named Jim ridding the place of the knucker by brain not brawn: either by Jim (Pulk in this rendition) feeding it a poisoned pie, but sadly forgetting to clean his hands after making the thing and dying when his own lips touch the poison on the back of his hand as he is about to have a celebratory pint; or feeding it a pie so heavy and indigestible that the poor dragon is rendered immobile and clever Jim (Puttock this time) can cut off its head with an axe, this time living to enjoy the reward offered to the slayer by the mayor of Arundel.
Few dragons live in Sussex nowadays, but memories remain. Local company Arundel Brewery even makes Old Knucker ale to celebrate the story.

2 Responses to Lyminster Knucker

From rachel on 18th February 2011
i think this is an fantastic article because it's really helpful with my home work good luck xxxxx

From Valerie Martin on 12th January 2011
I am searching for the whereabouts of the site of the Worthing Knucker Hole and the Shoreham Knucker Hole. See my article... I would be interested to receive suggestions on this. Valerie.

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