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St Leonard, the Dragon and Lilies of the Valley

This stunning woodblock print is by Eric Gill and is taken from one of his books on the folklore of England and shows St Leonard fighting Dragon which was believed to have lived in East Sussex.

The legend (another version places it in France) tells of a huge Dragon that was terrorising the inhabitants of East Sussex mainly around the area now known as (surprise surprise) St Leonards.

St George obviously wasn't the only person who went round killing dragons and they seem to have been quite widespread. St Leonard fought with the dragon and although wounded he won and was successful in killing it.

So where, you are wondering do lilies of the Valley come into this?

Well according to the legend where St Leonard's blood spilled after he was wounded by the dragon, Lilies of the Valley sprung up,

However, as can be seen from this it does seem as though perhaps the dragons returned during the early 17th century.

There were certainly reports of a strange and threatening animal at that time but dragon?

Perhaps not.

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