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The Tale Of The Lambton Worm

Do you know the tale of The Lambton Worm?

John Lambton, the heir of the Lambton Estate in County Durham was a rebellious character who missed church one Sunday to go fishing in the river Wear. He doesn’t catch anything until the church service finishes, at which point he fishes out a small worm-like creature with nine holes on each side of its Salamander looking head. Thinking he has caught what he thinks resembles the devil, he disposes of his catch by discarding it
down a nearby well. He then grows up and joins the Crusades, eventually forgetting about what he had found.


Many years later the worm has continued to grow and grow. Villagers start to notice livestock going missing and discover that the now fully grown worm has emerged from the well and is coiled around a local hill. The worm goes on to terrorise nearby villages before heading towards Lambton Castle. Lord Lambton manages to sedate the creature and a number of brave villagers try to kill the beast but fail.

After seven years John Lambton returns from the Crusades to find his father’s estates almost destitute because of the worm. He decides to fight and kill the beast, but first seeks guidance of a wise witch. She tells him about the responsibility he now has over the worm, and that if he is to conquer it, he must then kill the first living thing he sees or else his family will be cursed for nine generations; and will not die in their beds.

John agrees with his father that once the worm has been defeated, he shall sound his hunting horn three times to alert his father to release his favourite hound, which is to be killed to avoid the curse. John then goes on to fight the worm in the river…

John eventually slays the worm after a fierce battle, and sounds the horn. Unfortunately, John’s father is so excited that the beast is dead that he forgets to release the hound and rushes out to congtratulate his son. John cannot bear to kill his father and so, after they meet, it is too late.


It is said that nine generations of Lambtons are cursed so that they shall not die peacefully in their beds. This curse seems to have held true for at least three generations;

1st generation: Robert Lambton, drowned at Newrig

2nd generation: Sir William Lambton, a Colonel of Foot, killed at Marston Moor

3rd generation: William Lambton, died in battle at Wakefield

Finding The Lambton Worm

Based in Chester-Le-Street just outside of Durham, we’re not only easy to get too, but the perfect place to stay whilst visiting our large range of local attractions and events.  Jump in the car, and in under 10 minutes you can either be at Penshaw Monument, the iconic Angel Of The North, or the world famous Beamish Museum.  Make The Lambton Worm your base for your next trip away!