Famous Dragons From the UK
28 July 2021
From fierce fire-breathers to magical shape-shifters, dragons have been at the centre of British folklore for centuries. They’re in fairy-tales, movies and children’s shows and are often portrayed as scaley winged creatures with enhanced senses and supernatural powers. They guard princesses in towers and terrorise villages. So let’s take a look at the most famous dragons from the UK.
The Welsh Dragon
Ever wondered why the Wales flag has a red dragon on it? Or how the red dragon came to be associated with the country? Well the story goes like this:
According to legend, a Celtic king by the name of Vortigern was looking for the perfect place to build a castle. He came upon a spot he liked on the hillside of Dinas Emrys. All seemed good until a young boy (who is now believed to be Merlin the magician), warned Vortigern that underneath the hillside was a lake where two dragons lay sleeping.
Vortigern went ahead and dug up the hillside anyway, only to discover the two dragons fighting fiercely – one red and one white. The red dragon won and was then thought to represent Vortigern’s people. While this may all sound like a far-fetched mystery, an excavation of Dina Emrys in 1945 showed evidence of a lake and a fortress dating back to Vortigern’s time. So maybe dragons are real, after all…
Common Welsh Green Dragon
Set in Britain, Harry Potter has captured the imagination of kids and adults alike, with the books and movies featuring a whole host of formidable dragons including the Common Welsh Green Dragon. Residing in the mountains, this creature is well-known for its identifiable roar and typically preys on sheep or small mammals. According to Rowling, a Welsh Green may well have been responsible for the Great Fire of London in 1666. Fleur Delacour faced the breed during the Triwizard Tournament and was able to snatch the Golden Egg by enchanting the dragon until it fell asleep.
The Dragon of Longwitton
British folklore wouldn’t be the same without a good old dragon story. Every part of the UK seems to have its own story to tell, with the inhabitants of Longwitton in Northumberland believing a dragon stopped people from using holy wells. This wasn’t because there was anything wrong with the water, but because the dragon was evil.
After years of tiptoeing around the dragon and being denied water, Sir Guy, Earl of Warwick, accepted the task of killing the dragon. The pair fought for three whole days, but the dragon simply repaired its wounds every time it was struck. The Earl then realised that the dragon’s tail was constantly dipped into the holy water, and it was this that gave the dragon powers. So the Earl lured the dragon away from the well and eventually managed to slay it.
Legend has it that the water in Northumbria has long had healing powers. Many people think that the Earl covered himself in water to protect himself from the dragon’s fiery breath.
If you and your kids love everything about dragons, don’t miss the fantastic Dragon’s and Mythical Beasts children’s play showing this summer. As one of the best family shows in London, you can enjoy spectacular puppetry live on stage. Book now.