Dragon of Mordiford
From early life, the dragon, green in colour, was said to have loved a small girl named Maud who resided in Mordiford and had nurtured it from infancy. When it grew into adolescence and adulthood, she remained the only person safe from its reign. Only she could soothe it, by gently stroking its claws and cuddling with it.
The legend explains that the dragon was found by a little girl from Mordiford, Maud, who had desperately wanted a pet. While wandering the forest adjacent to her village one day, Maud had found a small bright creature with a snout and small, translucent wings prowling around a small group of flowers. Excited by the creature, the girl took it home to show to her parents. Immediately her mother and father realized it a wyvern and commanded Maud to take it back to where she had found, lest it cause trouble in the village. Maud, indignantly resisting, agreed but instead brought the infant dragon to a hiding place in the forest. There she nurtured her "pet" with milk, playing with it and watching it try to fly. Yet the dragon matured vastly over each month, eventually reaching an emerald tone and developing thick, powerful wings.
In the legend, after reaching maturity, the dragon's hunger could not be satisfied with milk anymore—it now had an enormous hunger for meat. Soon, it began to plague the local farms, killing their livestock, especially cows and sheep, and farmers were intolerant. These men tried to stop the beast by extermination, but it soon feasted upon them, finding human flesh delicious. Maud implored the beast during her visits afterward to stop its rampage. Still the beast, now fully mature, killed everything in its way except for Maud, its only friend.
The townspeople in the tale grew exhausted of the constant attacks from the dragon and desperate, sought help from the noblemen of Mordiford. A man from the local Garstone family set out in full armour to end the beast's life forever, finding the beast nearly camouflaged into the forest's many plants. The dragon almost instantly released a blast of fire, Garstone barely deflecting it. He aimed a lance at the wyvern's throat, releasing it and fully penetrating through the dragon. Maud, insane with rage, burst from the surrounding forest and came to mourn her past pet.
The story of the dragon remains part of Mordiford's culture: it is continually mentioned in modern records of the town. From the time the dragon was said to have lived until 1811, a portrait of the dragon appeared on the wall of the main church of the village. In 1811, however, a vicar ordered it destroyed because dragons were considered "a sign of the devil".
- Dragons of the Marches
- St George and other dragon tales from Chambers' Book of Days
- Helps to Hereford history, civil and legendary, in an account of ... The Mordiford Dragon and other subjects by James Dacres Devlin - 1848
- The Hereford guide: containing a concise history of the city by William Jenkins Rees - 1808
- Picturesque views on the river Wye by Samuel Ireland - 1797
- History from Marble by Thomas Dingley - 1868 (images earlier - 1696)
- Hereford, cathedral and city: a handbook for the public buildings by Joseph Jones - 1858
- Britannia by William Camden - 1695
- Journey into South Wales: through the counties of ... Hereford in the year 1799 by George Lipscomb - 1802
- Notes and Queries, compendium - 1865