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Knucker was the common name for a kind of water dragon in Sussex, England. The word comes from the Old English "nicor" which means "water monster" and is used in the poem Beowulf.[1] It was believed that knuckers could be found at knuckerholes, a spring-fed sinkhole often only 20 feet across and believed to be "bottomless". The most famous Knucker lived at Lyminster, but knuckerholes were known in various places in Sussex, including Lyminster, Lancing, Shoreham and Worthing.[2]

According to legend, the knucker at Lyminster caused a lot of trouble, consuming local livestock and even villagers, and so it was decided to slay the monster. A number of different legends recount how this was done. One version has the dragon slain by a knight-errant after the king of Sussex offered his daughter's hand in marriage to whoever rid them of the beast. Legend says that after marrying the princess the knight settled and later died in Lyminster.[1]

A medieval tombstone in Lyminster called the Slayer's Slab is believed to be that of the knight was killed the knucker. It contains no markings allowing the identity of the owner, but simply a cross which overlays a herring-bone pattern. Folklore holds that the pattern represents the sword of the dragon slayer lying on the ribs of the Dragon. The Slayer's Slab was formerly in the graveyard of Lyminster church in West Sussex, England, but has since been moved inside the church to protect it from weathering.[2]

An alternative legend has the dragon outwitted by a local farmer's boy, called Jim Pulk or Jim Puttock, said in some versions to be from Wick, West Sussex, after the Mayor of Arundel offered a reward. He killed the dragon by cooking it a giant poisoned pie, which he took to the knuckerhole on a horse and cart. The dragon ate up pie, horse and cart. When it had expired he returned and cut off its head. In some versions he then dies himself, probably of the same poison he used on the dragon, though this is probably a later addition designed to explain the Slayer's Slab.[2]


  1. ↑ Jump up to:1.0 1.1 Knucker by Wikipedia.
  2. ↑ Jump up to:2.0 2.1 2.2 Dragons & Serpents In Sussex Sussex Archaeology & Folklore. Accessed February 2010.