The story so far.....share your thoughts and photos about St George and dragons along the Trail to help us create a community Top 50!

According to legend, the place where the patron saint of England famously killed a dragon was Dragon Hill near Uffington, Oxfordshire, and to this very day the hilltop remains bare of grass where the dragon’s blood was spilt. Read on below to find out more….

Thanks for contributions to this Top 50 from D Gibbons and U Marsden.

Banner image ‘Dragon Hill’ by David Gibbons

St George is sometimes called ‘King Gaarge’ in Uffington, Oxfordshire and he stands as a victorious knight over the dragon at the main entrance to St Mary’s church in the village (see image gallery above). The legend has been linked to Dragon Hill near White Horse Hill for hundreds of years, maybe more, just as the bare chalk patch on the hilltop where dragon blood poisoned the ground persists. In memory of this legend, Morris Men danced on Dragon Hill on St George’s Day in 2023 (see image gallery above).

The legend of St George bravely defeating a dragon to save a princess evolved over the centuries and across the globe (see this video), but Ridgeway visitors are invited to read this modern telling of the Uffington legend here. The story goes that the dragon was drawn to the hill by the smell of gold and silver….

Across the world, dragons have been associated with treasure and Saxon myths, including Beowulf, describe dragons guarding burial places rich with grave goods. In 1670, the pioneer archaeologist John Aubrey wrote that King Arthur’s father Uther Pendragon had been active in the Uffington area and so it may be possible that Dragon Hill is Pendragon’s burial place….and the adjacent chalk figure with a ‘beak-like mouth’ on White Horse Hill portrays a dragon not a horse (see image gallery above)….or perhaps it is St George’s horse Bayard?

Such legends have attracted writers and artists to The Ridgeway area, including J.R.R Tolkien. When writing ‘Lord of the Rings’, Tolkien was apparently inspired by Dragon Hill to imagine the Weathertop where Frodo was stabbed by a Ringwraith. In the image gallery above, the painter David Gibbons has blended the real landscape feature of Dragon Hill with a mythical dragon. And so legend continues to evolve….and this place along The Ridgeway plays a role in England’s cultural heritage.

Notes: More information about chalk marks, King Arthur legends, writers, artists, archaeologists such as John Aubrey and other myths is available in other Top 50 entries.

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