• Sompting's Dragon in the Knucker Hole Pond

    • In October 2014, Sompting Estate's Church Farm restored the Sompting Knucker Hole.  Possibly this was originally a sink hole but in any case it was later inhabited by these Sussex dragons. (Click here to read a Sussex Archaeological Society article by David Stavely on Dragons and Serpents in Sussex.)

      Like all knucker-holes along the coastal strip, Sompting's Knucker Hole pond is bottomless and perpetually springing. 

      The name 'Knucker' goes all the way back in Sussex oral tradition to our Saxon ancestors,  'nicor' was their word for any kind of monstrously scary water creature.  It was associated with this pond in oral tradition, never written down, all through the centuries until in the 1940s a young farm hand Bill Lindfield learned of its name as the 'nigger hole' - not in any offensive way just as usual people thinking they hear a known word rather than an unknown one - and perhaps relating the name erroneously to the darkness of its deep waters.  He told me this in the 1990s and also that his grandfather had told him of a man drowned in it, and of a cart that had been lost into its depths. 

      He told me the general area and I went and found it by pushing through the thick reed foliage and prodding at the ground until my ten foot long hazel rod poked through and went down - all ten foot - I peered through the reeds at a small puddle ahead, and stepped gingerly back!

      Here's what the Knucker Pond looked like before restoration in 2014, when the reed-root-mat had encroached so far from all sides you could almost walk across it (though it would have been fatal to cross the mouth of the dragon's underwater cave at the wrong moment):

      Here's what it looked like after we cleaned it out in autumn 2014:

      This is the profile our long-reach digger found:

      This is the view looking east across the Knucker Hole to an ancient willow

      In this view you can just see down into the green mouth of the dragon's funnel-cave:

      Ancient drinking vessels recovered from the depths of the pond may have been offerings to the dragon:

      We also found this curious metal object in the blue clay that came from the pond: a weapon from an early attempt to slay the dragon?  Perhaps put into a pie offered to the dragon, like Mr Pulk's poison-pie strategy to slay the Knucker of Lyminster?

      And was this a worked flint spearhead offered to the dragon in propitiation, or was it thrown at the dragon on a spear-tip by some brave Knight from long before Sompting's Templars?

      Or was it indeed a tooth of the Knucker?

      The answer lies waiting, perhaps, in the watery depths below ...

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