4.11.09

~Granddad's Birthday~

The Swan, the Dog, and the Crusader. (wikipedia)
There is a lovely legend associated with the village of Wolverley, only a couple of miles north of Kidderminster which has several of the more romantic elements of medieval storytelling about it.The story goes that Sir John Attwood (whose family had once been the De Bois, but who had anglicized their name) left his wife to go on Crusade. The campaign went ill for him, as for so many others, however, and he spent years as a captive in a Saracen dungeon. With no news of her husband for year upon year the lovely Lady Attwood, with the family home Wolverley Court making her even more attractive as a match, was about to remarry. On the very morning of her wedding the dairy maid from the great house was walking in a meadow nearby when she saw a sleeping man, his hair matted and beard unkempt, his clothes in tatters and his feet fettered. The family dog with her rushed to his side and bounded around him in seeming delight as if it recognized the fellow. The girl rushed to the house to report the stranger. Lady Attwood arrived, and the now awoken figure claimed to be the long lost Sir John, proving his identity with his half of a ring the couple had split as a token of their love, this section fitting the one kept by Lady Attwood perfectly. All very touching, but his explanation was the stuff of miracles: in his prison Sir John had prayed to the Virgin Mary for help, and that night he was transported in a trance from the Holy Lands to Wolverley (by some accounts knocking a stone off the top of St John the Baptist church, as he flew just over it). In one version of the tale Sir John out of modest piety denied it was Mary who brought him, saying a swan carried him, and thus the Attwood crest bears a swan and a dog in memory of this legend. The meadow where he was found at one time provided a rent that was paid to the person who kept the fetters, stored in the church, clean and polished. A set of fetters is kept at Wolverley Court, but some dispute their authenticity, believing them of more modern design.

Our family on my father's side lived and worked in Wolverley for many years. My grandfather was born there, on this date in 1893, in an old public house called The Live and Let Live. The pub had been in the family for three generations as far as we can find out, and the name was later given to a new pub built in another location in the village. My father's elderly cousin recalls her grandfather telling of the time he watched his father count the takings and commenting on the amount of money. His father was furious and in his stern Victorian way reprimanded him.
Granddad died in 1962 at the age of 69. I have very fond memories of him. 
Happy Birthday Granddad.

4 comments:

  1. Oh, Sheila, what a fascinating story about Wolverley! I've always loved hearing various legends and I hadn't heard this one. I'm so glad you got to know your granddad and have so many wonderful memories of him. xoxo

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  2. What a lovely ledgen and told so beautifully. I love stories like this.

    Sheila I don't know why you are not on my facebook, as I do post quite often and comment. Knowing me I must have hit a wrong button since I don't have time to receive all the things that come across. Please request being a friend, if that's what happened.

    I will be back to enjoy your blog.

    Wanda

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  3. Oh my goodness, what an interesting story.

    Happy Birthday to your Granddad. It's nice to have these memories of him.

    Hugs,
    Donna

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