Friday, 14 April 2017

L is for Legendary Beasts of Britain …




Legendary Beasts could include Dragons, Wyverns and Worms … or Big Cats and Black Dogs …


Illustration of a Winged Dragon by
Friedrich Justin Bertuch (1806)
- mainly Celtic

… most cultures have some sort of dragon and tales about its slaying … or tall tales … but though each story often shares broad features … the aspects will be adapted to fit the local people and their landscapes.




Folklore influenced many of the myths recorded in medieval texts or papers today … some of which were probably recorded as genuine history by earlier antiquaries …



Aberdeen Bestiary: Folio 5 -
Adam names the animals


Bestiaries are the most important of the early, more literary texts … various versions occurring after the loss of the original text.




Ashmole Bestiary

These works describe the natural world and include both real animals and creatures that we would now consider to be mythical …




Bestiaries were beautifully illustrated and are enormously popular and influential … recording our accepted views of animals we do not see … dragons, wyverns, unicorns …



St Bees Priory - Cumbria (1120)
showing St Michael fighting a dragon

… yet they are recorded as carved images or sculptures throughout our history … so we feel they are real … or are sightings of 'beasts exactly unknown' ...




That is L for Legendary Beasts from Literature or Literally thought of as real … from Aspects of British County Rare Breeds …


Counties with the letter L …
(note some Counties have been retired!, or amended over historical local government … but some I’ve included)
England:  Lancashire; Leicestershire; Lincolnshire; London
Northern Ireland: Londonderry
Scotland:  Lanarkshire
Wales:  None


Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

54 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

I long for dragons NOT to be mythical. And unicorns, but particularly dragons.

Marcy said...

I just noticed your ending notes of counties beginning with the letter of the day. Very clever! Thanks for sharing your knowledge of these legendary creatures. Very interesting.

Toni said...

Dragons are my favorite legendary beast but I've never seen one while awake.

I did have a Brownie that lived near our home when we were in the countryside. He didn't move into town with us.

Yes, I have taken my meds today!

Curtis Bausse said...

The alphabetical bestiary gets richer each day. Could make a wonderful illustrated book.

Mike@Bit About Britain said...

Fabulous, Hilary. This is a wonderful series you are doing. Here there be dragons!

Anabel Marsh said...

What, Nessie didn't make the cut? Poor Nessie!

Sue Bursztynski said...

I think Nessie may be more recent, Anabel, though Susan Cooper's novel The Boggart, or the sequel, suggests Nessie is a shape-changing Boggart stuck in its shape when its human family is killed.

Medieval Bestiaries are gorgeous - I love them!

Patsy said...

Oh! I hadn't realised a wyvern was a creature. Our local pub is The Wyvern, named after the plane, but I'd never considered what the plane was named after.

Kim Blades said...

Very interesting pos. I have never heard of Wyverns before. Kim

Vinodini Iyer said...

These legendary beasts seem mystical to me. There's something so unreal and magical about them. :)

Elsie Amata said...

I went through a dragon phase about two decades ago...might have had something to do with D&D (I'm a closet nerd...kinda). As a result, I have some tiny statues of the majestic beasts around the house. :)

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I always find it fascinating how normal animals and legendary beasts were often treated the same in ancient texts, as if they are all equally important.
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings - Shapeshifters and Werewolves
P.S. Sorry for being absent most of the week - it's been so busy.

Nilanjana Bose said...

Dragons are my all time favs. Centaurs don't count, because they are human, right? :)

Nila
Madly-in-Verse

Michelle Wallace said...

I've never heard of Wyverns before. Interesting.

Susan Scott said...

Lovely Hilary thank you. Unicorns - the stuff of legend. We had breakfast this morning with some friends. He flies planes in his spare time and said about getting beyond the dragons in the clouds ...

FinnBadger said...

Great legends. Amazing how these are part of culture, from stories to coats of arms.

That stamp sheet is phenomenal. A red bus for riding back to your 'hood.

Nick Wilford said...

Interesting to think about how these creatures came to be and how they took such a hold in our imagination. It's lost in the mists of time but clearly those scribes took them very seriously!

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

The buildings today are sleek with little adornment. They are beautiful, but I rather the artful buildings of yesteryear when creatures were built into the architecture and stories were told.

Christine Rains said...

Maybe those beasts were real! ;) I do love the old bestiaries. So lovely and fascinating. And a great inspiration to us writers!

Jean Davis said...

Legendary animals are some of my favorite animals. Thost old bestiaries are pretty neat!
Discarded Darlings - Jean Davis, Speculative Fiction Writer, A to Z: Editing Fiction

bookworm said...

Imaginary? Some kind of reality we aren't aware of? Aliens? Who knows. It's all wonderful. The Unknown Journey Ahead agingonthespectrum.blogspot.com

Out on the prairie said...

The dragon tales crossed the ocean, but no sightings recorded around me. I still believed them possible as a child.

Joanne said...

I believe St. George slayed a dragon. Don't tell me it's myth.
If nothing else, the legendary beasts are cause for lovely art pieces.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It makes you wonder what animal they did see if not the mythical beast depicted.

Deborah Weber said...

Oh how I love bestiaries - such rich delight. Now I know what I'll be looking at today. Thanks Hilary!

Bob Scotney said...

When at school I thought a wyvern was a make of fountain pen. The unicorn is always the first that comes to my mind.

Sara C. Snider said...

I've always liked to entertain the thought that if enough people believed something to be true, maybe it really was (or is)... ;)

Keith's Ramblings said...

St George slew a dragon and that's all the proof I need that they existed! End of!

Another day in Amble Bay!

Jo said...

Of course there used to be dragons Hilary, how could you doubt it?

Amazing that dragons are "recorded" from ancient history in so many parts of the world which did not have contact with one another in those days.

Kristin said...

I would not be surprised if it didn't turn out that some of these beasts were real. Dragons especially.
Finding Eliza

Ann Bennett said...

I have always thought it was interesting that these mythical creatures such as the dragon are known through most cultures. I'm looking up wyverns.

Dipanwita Chakraborty said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dipanwita Chakraborty said...

Dragons have always been fascination. I love unicorns too. Mostly mystical but then, I love everything that is mystical.


http://www.dipanwita.com

Laurel Garver said...

"Beasts Exactly Unknown" --that would make a fantastic book title.

Richard Gibney said...

Great stuff, H!

Emily Bloomquist said...

I love that these mythical beasts are so beloved by those of us who can never meet them. Fun creatures (on paper)!

Emily | My Life In Ecuador

Jacqui Murray said...

Excellent choice. The more I get to know 'beasts', the less beastly they are. Usually, it becomes a clash of cultures or someone's fears brought to a sentient life. Good insights into the Brit background.

Andrea Ostapovitch said...

Here I was, stumbling along in blog-land, looking for unique and interesting blogs, and I found you. So glad I did. I must have read about 2o posts already, rainy day privilege - and am enthralled. I fell in love with fantastical beasts, particularly dragons, when my daughter became fascinated with them and drew me in with her artistic skills.
Thank-you for the entertaining visit, I'll be back soon.
Andrea

Lenny Lee said...

hi grandblogmum!

i love this post. lots of cool creatures of old. i watch the sifi channel on tv and there's a lot of movies with dragons and other medieval beasts as the scary main characters. i saw one called the wyvern and another one called the griffin. they've come a long way. for sure im a fan of all things beastly.

Botanist said...

With all the advances in science and knowledge today, the world has lost a lot of its mystery which is kinda sad in some ways. I would love to think that dragons still exist out there somewhere.

Liz A. said...

There's a theory that says that mythical beasts are what ancient peoples came up with when they found dinosaur fossils. And fossils of other extinct creatures. So, in a sense, dragons did exist. Sort of.

Sylvia van Bruggen said...

When I was writing the horrible first draft of a fantasy book set in Wales, I did lots and lots of research into dragon lore and especially the red and white dragons :) During that quest I fell in love with bestiaries :)

The examples you have found are divine!


¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.•` ¤ Good luck on the rest of your A to Z challenge

Sylvia @ The Creative Life

Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

Unicorns have my vote for most cuddly of the bestiaries, but I'm not quite sure what wyverns are. To me, dragons are the most entertaining, however.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ EC – it would be fun if there were (perhaps) mini dragons wandering around … and unicorns … ok definitely dragons!

@ Marcy – glad you noticed the counties … just a little addition. Am happy you enjoyed the post … and thanks for coming by …

@ Toni – oh it’s sad they don’t stick around for us isn’t it … pity about your Brownie staying put in the country – he probably needed the space … glad you’ve had your meds!

@ Curtis – yes I guess lots of beasties going into legendary times … and illustrated books are amazing to see …

@ Mike – thank you so much … it was fun to write and I’m so glad everyone’s enjoying it …

@ Anabel – nope didn’t think about Nessie – he must be too modern!

@ Sue – as you say – Nessie is too recent … though reading about Susan Cooper’s novel The Boggart … sounds an interesting read … I shall remember. Thanks re the Bestiaries – they are stunningly beautiful …

@ Patsy – live and learn … you’ve obviously been imbibing too much in the pub! Thinking about your plane – I think there was a car type too (yes) … in fact looking up Wyvern I could have expanded a bit more … but these are meant to be short!

@ Kim – Wyverns lots of interesting information around about them …

@ Vinodini – they are wonderful creatures mystical or otherwise … but are just so inviting to read about … magical world …

@ Elsie – oh D&D is a game … and lovely you’ve some fun statues around at home …

@ Tasha – it is interesting how the ancient texts seem to give us mythical and real creatures together … I suppose they simply didn’t know – and myths can take on reality over time …

@ Nila – they are fun creatures … and centaurs didn’t count here – because they’re not British! Never got to the point as to whether they’d fall into the human category or not …

@ Michelle – Wyverns are fascinating legendary creatures …

@ Susan – oh I love Unicorns always have done … George with his Dragon has ruled for ever … how interesting to read about your pilot’s friend goal to get above the dragons in the clouds …

@ Phillip – thank you … legends are wonderful to read about as too reading our culture and the coats of arms …

@ Nick – it is interesting how the ancients’ minds gave us these creatures and as they are ‘seen’ we hold them in our imagination as real … the scribes might have had a lot to answer for …

@ Arleen – some buildings are sleek aren’t they .. but I love seeing the incredible stone carvings that adorn so many of our buildings … as you say where stories were told …

@ Christine – they might have been and they still inspire our imagination to wander along legendary paths …

@ Jean – legendary animals are just wonderful … and so useful to us in so many ways – art, sculpture, ideas …

@ Bookworm – we can take our imagination and wander along the legendary journeys full of exciting and wonderful beasties ..

@ Steve – oh dear I’m sorry the dragons haven’t yet ventured to your side of the world … your grandson would love to find a wee dragon with you out on your prairie …

@ Joanne – no of course not: St George is mighty clever and held onto his dragon for us all to believe in! They are just beautiful aren’t they ..

@ Diane – imagination wandering in the dark, forested nights … beasts they had never seen – real or otherwise …

@ Deborah – bestiaries are special aren’t they – I too am always beguiled to look at them …

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Bob –oh yes something else (a pen) that was a wyvern … along with a car, plane, a few pubs et al … The Unicorn is a special legendary beast …

@ Sara – it could well happen couldn’t it … it’s a lovely thought … one day!

@ Keith – yes St George slew his dragon and left us a few pubs and stone sculptures to remember that day by …

@ Jo – I don’t doubt it … I just needed to write about it. It is interesting how much interlinkage there is across the various continents of legendary beasts …

@ Kristin – who knows … we’ve yet to find bones or remains … which makes me suspect that it be not so! But would be fun …

@ Ann – there was quite a lot on Wyverns .. but theoretically I needed to keep the post short … and as you say it’s interesting how these mythical creatures can be found in many cultures …

@ Dipanwita – lovely to meet you …. Mystical creatures seem to attract us all in one way or another …

@ Laurel – I’m not sure where I saw that description “Beats Exactly Unknown” – but it resonated with me … as it has with you.

@ Richard – good to meet you here and am glad you enjoyed the post …

@ Emily – sadly it’s unlikely we’ll never see them … but the sculptures on the churches, castles etc might (might) come to life one day! They are fun though …

@ Jacqui – thank you … there’s a lot to be said for these mystical and mythical creatures … and our feelings depend on where we find them in culture and our own time of life …

@ Andrea – nice to meet you … thank you so much for the wonderful introductory comment – I’m delighted I match up. Oh lucky you having a daughter with artistic skills … something I’d love to have (a daughter and the art ability!) – and then she introduced you to dragons and mythical beasts … they are creatively inspirational …

@ Lenny – wonderful to see you again … and yes lots of mythical and mystical beasties … I didn’t know you were into ‘beastly things’ … creative imaginative mind you have! There are lots of movies and tv programmes to satisfy that SciFi brain of yours …

@ Ian – sadly yes you’re right … we are losing some things – but I must say I love the new things we can find out … I suspect most things have been found … but this morning I heard that an unique snail has been found here at Newhaven on the South Downs …so little critters are still being found, while ancient bones are also being found …

@ Liz – it’s very probable – there would be some logic in the creation of these ‘beasts’ … woolly mammoths, birds etc – I’m sure dragons existed (sort of!) …

@ Sylvia – that’s great that your research brought you into the land of the bestiary – they are extraordinary books to see …

@ Gail - Unicorns are wonderful I’ll give you that – the tapestries always spring to my mind; wyverns are worth looking into further … but dragons seem to hold most people’s attention …

Cheers to you all – thanks so much for visiting … Hilary

DeeDee said...

Dragons remind me of Game of Thrones
And this post was really informative. I wasn;t aware of any
Thanks for sharing :-)

Cynthia Rodrigues Manchekar said...

The amount of research you put into each one of your posts is amazing. There's always tons of new stuff that we can learn.

Heather M. Gardner said...

Love these! Dragons are pretty awesome.
Heather

Rebecca Douglass said...

I do love dragons. They can do so many things in a story, and because they are mythical, you can have both things that everyone understands about them--and things you can change for a good surprise.
Rebecca at The Ninja Librarian

Sharon M Himsl said...

What child has not heard of a legendary dragon? Dragons rule. That winged dragon looks part dog.

Deniz Bevan said...

I love seeing images from bestiaries :-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ DeeDee - I've never seen the Game of Thrones .. but I'm glad you found the post informative ..

@ Cynthia - I just enjoy doing what I do - and getting comments like yours makes the A-Z and writing posts worth doing ... thank you ...

@ Heather - thank you ... dragons are always fun ...

@ Rebecca - dragons certainly tell a story one way or the other, or sometimes from both sides of the real and mythical fence (so to speak) ... as you so rightly day ...

@ Sharon - exactly ... Bertuch wrote and drew for children, and obvious was to a point transfixed with dragons ... trying various ways of depicting them - so perhaps this one was of a 'dog variety' ... see Wiki for further info ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Justin_Bertuch

@ Deniz - I agree bestiaries are the best - amazing depictions in them ...

Cheers - dragons have much to offer the world and its imagination .. thank you ... Hilary

Truedessa said...

I've seen dragons and unicorns in my dreams. Does that count? I really enjoyed this post and dragons are legendary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Truedessa - if you have seen dragons and unicorns in your dreams - then to you they are as real as they can be for now ... delighted you enjoyed the post - thanks so much ... cheers Hilary