The Lambton Worm

Here is an old legend from Northern England, about a giant "worm" that terrorized County Durham in the middle ages.

The legend was turned into a popular song in the 19th century, and that is what is reproduced below. To really appreciate it, you need to read it with a broad (19th century) Sunderland accent.

If you can't manage that, why not try our "translated" version for 21st century readers.

If you would like to hear a recording of the original version, scroll down to the bottom of this page.


The Lambton Worm

John Lambto



One Sunday mornin' Lambton went
A-fishing in the Wear;
An' catched a fish upon he's heuk
He thowt leuk't vary queer.
But whatt'n a kind ov fish it was
Young Lambton cudden't tell-
He waddn't fash te carry'd hyem,
So he hoyed it doon a well

Chorus
Whisht! lads, haad yor gobs,
An' aa'll tell ye aall an aaful story,
Whisht! lads, haad yor gobs,
An' Aa'll tel ye 'boot the worm.



Noo Lambton felt inclined te gan
An' fight i' foreign wars.
He joined a troop ov Knights that cared
For nowther woonds nor scars,
An' off he went te Palestine
Where queer things him befel,
An varry seun forgat aboot
The queer worm i' the well.

But the worm got fat an' growed an' growed,
An' growed an aaful size;
He'd greet big teeth, a greet big gob,
An greet big goggle eyes.
An' when at neets he craaled aboot
Te pick up bits o' news,
If he felt dry upon the road,
He milked a dozen coos.

This feorful worm would often feed
On caalves an' lambs an' sheep,
An' swally little bairns alive
When they laid doon te sleep.
An when he'd eaten aall he cud
An' he had had he's fill,
He craaled away an' lapped he's tail
Ten times roond Pensher Hill.

The Lambton Wor

The news ov this myest aaful worm
An' his queer gannins on
Seun crossed the seas, gat te the ears
Ov brave an' bowld Sor John.
So hyem he cam an' catched the beast,
An' cut 'im in twe haalves,
An' that seun stopped hes eatin' bairns
An' sheep an' lambs an' caalves.

So noo ye knaa hoo aall the foaks
On byeth sides ov the Wear
Lost lots o' sheep an' lots o' sleep
An leeved i' mortal feor.
So let's hev one te brave Sor John
That kept the bairns frae harm,
Saved coos an' calves by myekin' haalves
O' the famis Lambton Worm.



If you would like to hear the song sung by our friends in an authentic Sunderland band (20th century Sunderland is the closest we could manage) click play in the bar below.



Back to Myths and Legends.


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