The legend of the Lambton Worm has been around for centuries in North East England, and it was turned into a popular song in the 19th century. The traditional version of the song only really works if read with a broad (19th century) North-East accent, so here, for the first time, is a "translated" version for 21st century readers.
Both the original song and our updated version tell the story of the monstrous worm that terrorized County Durham in the middle ages, but they do miss out a few aspects of the original legend. The most notable omission is a deal that Lambton struck with a witch, and its tragic consequences.
If you would like to find out more, we recommend Monstropedia.
Hush now, shut your mouths.
I'll tell you all an awful story.
Hush now, quiet please
I'll tell you about the worm!
One morning John Lambton went fishing
In the River Wear.
He caught something upon his hook
And gave a little cheer.
What sort of fish, or worm, it was,
Young Lambton could not tell
He couldn't be bothered to carry it home
So he threw it down a well.
Now Lambton thought he would like to be
A soldier, and fight in wars.
He joined a group of knights so tough
They didn't mind wounds or scars.
They travelled far and had adventures
Lots of stories he could tell.
Very soon he forgot about
The strange thing in the well.
But the worm got fat and grew and grew
And grew an awful size.
It had great big teeth, a great big mouth,
And great big goggly eyes.
And when at night it crawled about
Having a little browse
If it felt thirsty on the way
It milked a dozen cows.
This scary worm would often feed
On calves and lambs and sheep.
And swallow little kids alive
When they were fast asleep.
And when it had eaten all it could
And it had had its fill
It crawled away & wrapped itself
Ten times round Penshaw Hill
The news of this awful worm
And its strange goings on
Soon crossed the seas, and got to the ears
Of brave and bold Sir John.
So home he came and caught the beast
And cut it in two halves
And that soon stopped it eating kids
And sheep and lambs and calves.
So now you know how everyone
On both sides of the Wear
Lost lots of sheep and lots of sleep
And lived in mortal fear.
So let's say thanks to brave Sir John
Who kept the kids from harm
Saved cows and calves by making halves
Of the famous Lambton Worm.
If you would like to hear the original 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.
If you would like to see the lyrics of the tradional version, click here