Wormingford - St Andrews - East Window, North Aisle
This window inside St Andrews commemorates the battle between Sir George Marney and a dragon which occurred in Wormingford around 1200 AD. After the Siege of Acre, and the end of the Jerusalem Crusades, Richard the Lionheart embarked for the Adriatic, taking with him a 'cokadrille' which was given to the King (together with other gifts) in return for the support given to the claim of Lusignan to the throne of Jerusalem. The gift of this serpent or 'worm' with "great nails and talons" was at the time thought to be a dragon The King brought the beast to England in 1194 and lodged it in a strong cage at the Tower of London. Over the years the beast grew huge, smashed its cage and escaped into the Thames. Eventually it found its way to that small settlement on the banks of the Stour called Withermundford, devouring livestock and villagers along the way. The villagers were terrified at the new arrival and a rumour spread among them that it could only be pacified with human sacrifice and so long as the supply lasted they fed the creature with virgins to keep it happy. However, even in those days, Essex virgins were an extremely rare find and so the supply of food gave out. The villagers, in desperation, pleaded with Sir George Marney (of Layer de la Haye) telling the gallant knight that a fierce dragon had settled with them and which they had tried, in vain to slay with arrows which bounce from its hide and then had pacified it with virgins but, alas, there were no more virgins in the hundred. The brave knight attacked the dragon with his lance and slew it, and from then to this day, the Parish has been called Wormiton, Wormington and Wormingford in memory of the 'Worm', an early word for Dragon.