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Wednesday, 31 October, 2001, 06:47 GMT
Villagers prepare to slay dragon
A dragon
A dragon terrorised people in Somerset
Villagers in Somerset are preparing themselves for a battle with a dragon.

Their traditional clash with the giant beast takes place every 50 years.

Legend says that if they fail to keep up the custom, a dragon that ravaged their villages will return.

The ritual is due to be re-enacted at the weekend at Dinder, near Wells.


Bishop Jocelyn went out and slew a dragon that was ravaging the countryside - very simple, matter-of-fact, as if it was a day to day chore

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People in the area have been making their own dragon out of withies, bamboo and masking tape.

It will be carried through Dinder on Saturday before being stabbed "to death".

One villager said: "The story goes that the people of Dinder, Dulcote and North Wootton were plagued by a dragon.

"It began with eating the children, and it seemed it was only when it started eating the stock they got really worried."

The weekend's ceremonial recreates the slaughter of the dragon by Bishop Jocelyn of Wells, around the year 1240.

No witnesses

Villager Michael Comber says the story is well documented in ancient papers, held at Eton College after being retrieved from Somerset monasteries.

Mr Comber said: "It says that Bishop Jocelyn went out and slew a dragon that was ravaging the countryside - very simple, matter-of-fact, as if it was a day-to-day chore on the bishop's diary.

"In those days bishops did have a small garrison of their own, but he fought this one single-handed, so there are no actual witnesses.

"But the legend has come down that the event has to be celebrated every 50 years to prevent the dragon from coming back to life."

See also:

15 Dec 99 | Wales
Dragon dream is realised
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