British Dragons in History
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.


The Greek word drakon meant "large serpent" as well as "dragon." In both Old and New Testaments of the Bible, dragons represent evil and the devil. The serpent in the Garden of Eden has, on occasion, been depicted as a dragon, but Old Testament dragons inhabited the sea. They are distinguished from the monster, Leviathan (Psalms 74: 13-14). Dragons are also mentioned in Isiah (27:1, 51:9) and Job (7:12, 26:12-13).

The concept of the Dragon in Celtic mythology emerged directly from the holy crocodile (the Messeh) of the ancient Egyptians. The Pharoahs were anointed with crocodile fat, and attained the fortitude of the Messeh (thus Messiah = anointed one). The image of the intrepid Messah evolved to become the Dragon, which in turn became the emblem of kingship(Gardner, Lawrence. Bloodlines of the Holy Grail. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996).

The Celtic kings in Britain were called "dragons" in the ancient Messeh tradition as intrepid guardians. The first Pendragon (Head Dragon) or High King, was Cymbeline.

Vortigen of Powys in Wales married the daughter of the Roman governor, Magnus Maximus. Vortigern was the Pedragon of the Isle in 425 and his emblem was the red dragon (the national flag of Wales)(Gardner, Lawrence, Bloodlines of the Holy Grail. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1996).

St George is the patron saint of England and was reputed to kill a few dragons in his time. He once battled a dragon in Selene, Libya (Africa). The dragon lived near this city in a lake or marsh and ate flocks of sheep. The people decided to feed him two sheep daily, from various herds. When the sheep ran out, they sacrificed two children a day, chosen by a lottery. Finally the lot fell to the king's daughter, Cleolinda, who the king had to send to her fate. As Cleo approached the dragon's lair, St. George was riding by and found her weeping. He felt great compassion for this poor soul, and he decided to save her from her most horrible fate. He girdled the dragon and towed him back to the village. He told the village that his faith in God had helped him in his victory, and thereby converted the entire village to Christianity.

St. Margaret of Antioch was devoured by a dragon in her cell, but the cross she held punctured the dragon from the inside out, and she emerged unharmed. St. Martha travelled to France where she defeated a dragon at Tarascon by sprinkling it in Holy Water. St. Catherine of Alexander and St. Michael also were reputed to have killed a dragon. So Christianity helped slew the beast known as the dragon(Cherry, John, Mythical Beasts. San Francisco: Pomegranate Artbooks, 1995).

Almost every culture in the world has dragon tales. Below I list dragon sightings in Great Britain:

Many think the Loch Ness Monster ("Nessy") is a holdover from the age of the dinosaurs


  1. DORNOCH (Scotland) ... A dragon attacked the town, and was eventually killed by St. Gilbert with an arrow.
  2. LOCH NESS (Scotland) ... Loch Ness has clearly been an ancestral breeding mere for eons, and is still sighted today.
  3. LOCH ARKAIG (Scotland) ... has had sightings of a horse-like serpent observed by John Stuart in October 3, 1857. This creature has the head of a horse and the hind quarters of an aquatic beast.
  4. LOCH BEISTE (Scotland) ... has had sightings.
  5. LOCH OICH (Scotland) ... has had sightings of a horse-like serpent.
  6. LOCH QUOICH (Scotland) ... has had sightings.
  7. LOCJ TREIG (Scotland) ... has had sightings of a horse-like serpent.
  8. LAKE MORAR (Scotland) ... 1969, 1996, the monster Morag was sited in this Loch.
  9. BEN VAIR (Scotland) ... This dragon preyed on travellers using Ballachulish crossing. He was killed by a spike-covered raft baited with meat.
  10. LOCH SHIEL (Scotland) ... Seileag was chronicled by Father Cyril Dieckhoff of the Benedictine Abbey. His books recorded from 1905, until his death in 1970. Loch Shiel is Scotland's fifth largest loch. It is 17 miles long and can be from 100 yards to a mile wide. It has a depth of 420 feet. Father Cyril interviewed Ian Crookback, Ewan MacIntosh, and two young boys that have seen unknown things in the lochs. They all reported that whatever they saw had three humps that showed above the water's surface. One of the times they were on a mail steamer named Clan Ranald.
  11. LOCH LOCHY (Scotland) ... is said to be the home of Lizzie. Lizzie was in September 1996, 30 years since the last sighting. This was seen by guests at the Corriegour Lodge Hotel, that looks out over the Loch. In July 1997, members of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club used sonar to spot the 15-20 foot long Lizzie.
  12. LOCH LOMOND (Scotland) ... On easter in 1980, a family was camping near Loch Lomond at Luss when the 5 foot head of that Loch's "monster" was spotted.
  13. KIRKTON OF STRATHMARTINE (Scotland) ... This dragon ate girls as they came to gather water at a local well. The dragon was killed by a young peasant with a club.
  14. LINTON (Scotland) ... The dragon ravaged farms. It was killed by a fire-ball attached to the end of a lance. This lance was thrust down the dragon's throat.
  15. LONG WITTON (England) ... An invisible dragon lurked near a well. A knight used a magic ointment to see it, and then he killed it with his lance, as he lured it from the water.
  16. SPINDLESTON HEUGH (England) ... The laidly worm (a loathsome dragon) lived in a cave and it poisoned the countryside. This dragon was a maiden transformed by sorcery, and she was rescued by her brother, who had come to kill her, but she persuaded him to kiss her and thus broke the spell.
  17. BISHOP'S AUCKLAND (England) ... Pollard of Pollard Hall killed a dragon in an oak-wod (woods). His descendants had to present the falchion, that slayed the dragon, as each new Bishop of Durham was elected, to prove their right to their land.
  18. LAMBTON (England) ... The heir of Lambton fished a vile worm out of the river and threw it into a well, where it grew into a dragon. He returned from a trip to foreign lands to discover it was now a dragon, and he killed it using spiked armour as his defense. He had been fighting the Turks, so a dragon was of no consequence and he killed him with his lance.
  19. SEXHOW (England) ... There was a dragon in the woods here. This dragon was killed by a brave farmer and his dog.
  20. WELL (England) ... Another dragon who dwelt in a well. He was killed by a young man in a spiked barrel.
  21. NUNNINGTON (England) ... A very dangerous poisonous and self-healing dragon was killed by a knight in armor covered with razors. He was also helped by his faithful dog.
  22. FILEY (England) ... This lived in a gulley on the seashore. It was killed by being given a sticky cake, which glued his jaws together, while villagers attacked it.
  23. WANTLEY (England) ... This Dragon lived in the woods by a well. He was killed by More of More Hall, in spiked armor, who kicked the Dragon in one vulnerable spot after a two-day battle.
  24. ANWICK (England) ... A Dragon guarded treasure under an immoveable stone.
  25. PENMYNNEDD (Wales) ... This Dragon was killed by being lured into a pit containing a bronze mirror. The Dragon was exhausted by fighting its own reflection.
  26. DENBIGH (Wales) ... The Denbigh Dragon devastated the country. It was killed by a knight with two thumbs on each hand.
  27. LLANRHAEDR-YM-MOCHANT (Wales) ... This Dragon was killed by wrapping itself around a stone studded with spikes and then draped with red cloth.
  28. LLANDEILO GRABAN (Wales) ... A Dragon roosted in the church tower. It was killed by a wooden dummy set with sharp hooks.
  29. BROMFIELD (England) ... This Dragon was overcome by the spells of a Saracen sorcerer. A huge treasure hoard was found.
  30. BRINSOP (England) ... St George killed a well-dwelling Dragon here.
  31. MORDIFORD (England) ... Several Dragons were reported here. One was killed by a knight, one by a band of villagers, and one or more by barrels set with spikes.
  32. DEERHURST (England) ... A poisonous, man-eating Dragon was killed while sleeping.
  33. CHIPPING NORTON (England) ... This town was visited in 1349 by a two-headed, bat-winged beast.
  34. UFFINGTON (England) ... St George killed another Dragon here in Dragon Hill, and the hill is bare to this day from the posionous blood that flowed there.
  35. BRENT PELHAM (England) ... The devil demanded the soul of a knight who had killed a Dragon, but the knight was saved by being buried half in and half out of Holy Ground.
  36. WORMESGAY (England) ... A one-eyed Dragon was killed by a knight after intervention of St. Guthlac, who dazzled the monster with a lightning flash, enabling the knight to reach one vulnerable spot (a wart).
  37. LUDHAM (England) ... A noturnal Dragon laired in the cellars of a ruined abbey.
  38. ST OSYTH (England) ... A vast Dragon appeared in 1170, setting houses alight as it passed.
  39. BURES(England) ... This Dragon was attacked by peasants, who drove the Dragon into the swamp.
  40. ST LEONARD'S FOREST (England) ... A saint drove the Dragons into the forest after a prolonged battle. This Dragon was last seen in 1614.
  41. KNUCKER'S HOLE (England) ... A Dragon was killed by a wandering knight, who was rewarded with the hand of the king's daughter. Another was killed by a wandering local lad who gave a Dragon some indigestible pudding.
  42. BISTERNE (England) ... A knight killed this Dragon by fighting it in armor covered in ground glass. The knight also perished,
  43. ALLER (England) ... A bog-dwelling Dragon devastated the countryside until he was speared by villagers.
  44. KINGSTON ST MARY (England) ... This Dragon choked by having boulders rolled into its mouth.
  45. CHURCHSTANTON (England) ... This Dragon was killed by a wandering knight.
  46. CARHAMPTON (England) ... A Dragon was tamed by St. Carantoc, who layed his stole upon its neck.
  47. EXE VALLEY (England) ... This Dragon flew across the valley at night. He guarded treasures at Cadbury Castle and Dolbury Hill.
  48. HELSTON (England) ... The town bombarded this Dragon with red-hot stones. I guess you could say they were fighting fire with fire (Dickinson, PeterThe Flight of Dragons New York: The Overlook Press, 1998, 74-75).

Medieval churches thought of the Dragon as a symbol of paganism and non Christian beliefs. The vision of a knight slaying a Dragon represented the victory of Christianity over paganism. There were 40 Dragon-Slaying saints of the western church.

[Dragon Slaying Saints |Chinese Dragons|Krak and the Polish Dragon.

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