According to local legend, there was once a terrifying mythical creature that tortured the village of Wherwell, Hampshire, England. The quiet village, which is located along the River Test, only has about 500 residents. But this small little village is also famous for a creepy monster that allegedly lurked around at one time.
The legend states that a duck laid an egg in Wherwell Abbey but it was hatched by a toad and the baby turned into a cockatrice that had several different animal body parts. It appeared as a two-legged dragon-like monster with a rooster’s head and body, the wings of a bat, and a snake’s tail. Locals cared for the baby creature until it grew to a massive size and began feeding on the villagers by flying over the land and grabbing people with its claws before bringing them to its lair where it would feed on them.
Villagers were so scared of the beast that they offered four acres of land to anyone who could kill it. While numerous people died while attempting to rid the land of the monster, one local apparently accomplished the task as described, “A man named Green polished a piece of steel until it gleamed like a mirror and lowered it down to the beast’s lair. On seeing its reflection the cockatrice fought until it was exhausted, and then Green ran the beast through with a javelin and claimed his reward. Today in Harewood Forest there is still an area known as ‘Green’s Acres’.” Oddly enough, trees don’t grow at “Green’s Acres”.
This legend affected the locals so much that up until the 1930s the older villagers wouldn’t eat duck’s eggs.
Interestingly, the cockatrice has been mentioned in the Bible, as well as by Shakespeare and even in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Those living in Wherwell won’t soon forget the legend of the terrifying cockatrice as there was a weather vane in the shape of the monster that was on the church of St. Peter and Holy Cross which has since been moved to the Andover Museum. There are other references of the creature such as on Andover High Street in addition to two cockatrices decorated with the coat of arms of Aelfred of Wherwell.
It’s a good thing that the cockatrice was allegedly killed as the legend has described it as being one terrifying monster.