Legendary house put up for sale

By James HoreA SLICE of English history has gone onto the housing market, giving buyers the chance to make their home the place where legend has it that St George slew the dragon.

By James Hore

A SLICE of English history has gone onto the housing market, giving buyers the chance to make their home the place where legend has it that St George slew the dragon.

The four-bedroom Old Vicarage in Wormingford is up for sale, with offers invited in the region of almost £1million.

It includes 11.5 acres of land where a "long indentation" can be found - which is said to be the site where Sir George of Layer-de-la-Haye ended the life of the mystical creature that had made its home in the Stour Valley.


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The mark can be found in part of the grounds known as "bloody fields" and it has been suggested this became the legend of St George and the dragon.

The village's name has a link to the tale, as the historic term for dragons and beasts was "worm" - which was killed and then rolled into the mere water, the "ford". The 12th Century parish church of St Andrew's even has a stained glass window depicting St George slaying the dragon.

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Although the story goes that St George rescued the maiden, the church window shows the legs of a woman in the dragon's mouth.

However, people who doubt the legend look instead to the tale of a crocodile given to King Richard I and housed at the Tower of London.

The unusual gift, from the Muslim leader Saladin, managed to escape the tower and later appeared in north Essex, described in texts as a "green dragon" near Bures.

However, St George's Day Events, an organisation which believes St George's Day should be made into a bank holiday, said: "Although the story of St George and the dragon exists in a number of different medieval literary versions and artistic representations, it is without historical foundation and did not seem to have existed before the 11th Century."

The Old Vicarage itself is said to be in need of modernisation, but the grounds includes a pond, woodland, paddocks and sloping gardens that are filled with snowdrops, bluebells daffodils and chestnut trees.

It is a grade II listed building that has been in the ownership of the same family since 1956 and lies within a countryside conservation area and the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The Old Vicarage is being marketed by estate agents FPDSavills, which has invited offers in the region of £950,000.

n A house with a difference in the Saffron Walden area has been put up for sale with a price tag of £650,000.

The grade II 15th Century property is one half of what was once a much larger house - for the southern part was demolished in 1934 and rebuilt in West Sussex.

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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