Shropshire History

Wild Edric

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Manors Owned by Edric in 1066

 

HAMPSHIRE

Andover Hundred

Amport – SU301442

Cholderton (now East Cholderton) – SU298452

Broughton Hundred

Wallop (now Over Wallop) – SU282383

Sherfield (now Sherfield English) – SU291223

Odiham Hundred

Elvetham – SU786572

 

HEREFORDSHIRE

Elsdon Hundred

Kinnersley – SO345495

Hezetre Hundred

Burrington – SO439720

Elton – SO456708

Staunton (now Staunton-on-Arrow) – SO370600

Plegelgete Hundred

Cuple (now How Caple) – SO603304

Stretford Hundred

Birley – SO454533

Wolfhay Hundred

Laysters (now Laysters) – SO559638

Leintwardine Hundred

Adforton – SO402709

Lingen – SO366670

 

LEICESTERSHIRE

Guthlaxton Hundred

Osbaston – SK425044

 

POWYS

Leintwardine Hundred

Ackhill – SO283649

 

WARWICKSHIRE

Bumbelowe Hundred

Stretton (now Stretton Baskerville) – SP420911

 

SHROPSHIRE

Alnodestreu Hundred

Eudon (now Eudon George) - SO685888

Middleton Scriven - SO680876

Baschurch Hundred

Berwick (now Berwick Wharf) – SJ543107

Loppington – SJ470293

Conditre Hundred

Cantlop – SJ521054

Catsley - SO725795

Cressage – SJ591039

Harley – SJ596015

Kenley – SJ560003

Overton - SO665868

Pitchford – SJ530038

Walton (now Walton Savage) - SO673811

Culvestan Hundred

Culmington - SO489820

Hope (now Hope Bowdler) – SO474924

Siefton - SO486829

Hodnet Hundred

Weston (now Weston-under-Redcastle) – SJ565282

Leintwardine Hundred, Shropshire

Acton (now Acton Scott) - SO454895

Alcaston – SO459860

Chelmick – SO467913

Lurkenhope – SO288741

Menutton – SO303774

Merset Hundred

Halston – SJ339316

Melverley – SJ333166

Wootton - SJ336276

Patton Hundred

Bourton – SO596965

Oxenbold (now Great Oxenbold) – SO592919

Reweset Hundred

Hanwood – SJ443096

Loton (now Pecknall) – SJ349141

Wattlesborough (now Wattlesborough Heath) – SJ355115

Yockleton – SJ401101

Rinlau Hundred

Clun - SO302808

Hopesay - SO390833

Hopton (now Hopton Castle) - SO366780

Lydham - SO335910

Wentnor- SO383926

Wittery Hundred

Middleton – SJ297993

Wrockwardine Hundred

Shawbury – SJ558213

 

 

 

History

 

Wild Edric (aka Eadric Silvaticus, Eadric the Wild and Eeadric Salvage) was an Anglo-Saxon noble who led a resistance movement against the Normans in Shropshire between 1067-70. He was a nephew of Eadric Streona, a Mercian ealdorman, and was one of the wealthiest noblemen in Shropshire. Like many of his kind, he spent most of his time drinking or hunting around the Long Mynd, Stiperstones and Forest of Clun. In total he ruled over 56 manors and around 3,500 people, from who he collected annual rents that totalled the equivalent of £585,600 in today’s money.

 

1066 – there is no evidence that Edric took part in the Battle of Hastings and it is highly unlikely that he did, since King Harold relied on his professional army. However, like most of the Saxon nobles, his manors were confiscated by King William and distributed to Norman lords and members of his army. Large areas of land were allocated to important nobles in return for military service or to abbeys. These were called Tenants-in-Chief and they used the rents from some of the manors to support themselves. Other manors were sub-let to Normans who became the Lords of the Manor. Large manors were sometimes split between two or more Lords. The manors that Edric had confiscated were :-

 

Tenant in Chief

Lord

Manor

Chertsey Abbey

Hugh of Port

Elvetham

Earl Roger of Shrewsbury

Self

Berwick

Culmington

Loppington

Lydham

Siefton

Aldred brother of Siward

Acton

Gerard of Tournai-sur-Dive

Self

Shawbury

Helgot of Holdgate

Self

 

Alcaston

Harley

Oxenbold

Hugh of Port

Self

Amport

Sherfield

Wallop

Ralph

Cholderton

Hugh son of Thorgisl

Self

Chelmick

Hope

Norman the Hunter

Self

Cantlop

Osbern son of Richard

Self

Ackhill

Picot of Sai

Self

Hopesay

Hopton

Lurkenhope

Menutton

Gislold, Picot of Sai & Walter

Clun

Ralph of Mortimer

Self

Adforton

Burrington

Elton

Eudon

Staunton

Ingelrann of Amport

Overton

Walton

Richard of Bramton

Birley

Kinnersley

Roger of Baskerville

Osbaston

Stretton

Turstin of Wigmore

Lingen

Ulf

Catsley

Ranulph Peverel

Self

Cressage

Weston

Reginald the Sheriff

Self

Halston

Melverley

Albert Grelley & Alchere Le Pin

Middleton Scriven

Odo of Bernieres

Kenley

Robert the Butler

Wootton

Robert son of Corbet

Self

Middleton

Roger son of Corbet

Self

Hanwood

Loton

Wattlesborough

Wentnor

Yockleton

Turold of Verley

Self

Pitchford

 

1067 – Although Edric lost control of his manors outside Shropshire, he refused to submit to the Normans and came under attack from forces based at Hereford Castle, under Richard FitzScrob. They were trying to take control of the land in Shropshire that King William had given them but which Edric was refusing to hand over. The Normans suffered heavy losses in these incursions. In retaliation, Edric raised a rebellion and joined with Welsh forces under Bleddyn ap Cynfyn, Prince of Gwynedd and his brother Riwallon, Prince of Powys. They raided Herefordshire as far as the River Lugg at Leominster but could not capture Hereford Castle. The city of Hereford was devastated instead and they retreated to plan further raids. Skirmishing continued between Edric and the Normans but they were unable to defeat him.

 

1069 - King William had to take an army north to defeat a rebellion by the Saxon Earls of Northumberland and Mercia, Morkar and Edwin. Edric took the opportunity to raid Norman lands in the north of Shropshire and burned the town of Shrewsbury, although he was unable to capture Shrewsbury Castle. He was helped in this by rebels from Cheshire and his old Welsh allies. As soon as he heard this, King William headed south again and Edric wisely retreated to his lands with his Shropshire and Herefordshire men. The Welsh and Cheshire rebels, however, did not retreat and they were defeated by King William in a battle near Stafford. He then proceeded to devastate the lands held by Edric, who finally surrendered and swore allegiance to King William. William left Edric with only 3 manors so he could support himself and his family. These included Bourton Manor in Shropshire, which in 1066 had belonged to Edric’s father Aelfric. Edric now leased it from Much Wenlock Abbey and it provided him with rents of £2.5s.0d a year. He also had the rents from 2 small manors in Herefordshire, Cuple which gave him 3 shillings a year and Laysters which gave him 8 shillings. In total he now had to live on rental income of only £2.16s.0d a year compared to the £½ million he had received before the conquest.

 

1072 – Edric accompanied King William when he invaded Scotland and forced King Malcolm to pay homage to Norman rule.

 

Myth

 

 

Edric’s surrender and support of King William did not please his local people who are said to have placed a curse on him as a punishment. Under the terms of the curse, Edric was imprisoned in the Stiperstones lead mines with his wife Lady Godda and his men. It is said that, when danger threatens England, Edric and his men are released from the mines so that they can fight again, only to return underground once the danger is passed. He cannot die until all wrong is made right and England is returned to the state it was before the Norman conquest. Mortals watching them would be killed on the spot. People tell of seeing Edric and his followers galloping across Shropshire on several occasions, including in 1853 before the Crimean War, 1914 before the First World War and 1939 before the Second World War.


On the occasion of the Crimean War appearance, a girl from Rorrington told how she and her father had seen Edric and his men. Upon hearing the blast of a huntsman’s horn, the girl’s father told her to close her eyes and stand still until they had passed. She disobeyed, however, and was able to recount how she had seen Wild Edric and Godda riding overhead. He had short dark hair in which he wore a green and white feather. His coat and cloak were also green and a horn and sword hung from his belt. Godda’s long blonde hair fell to her waist and she wore a green dress with a white linen band around her forehead and a short dagger at her waist.
Despite her father’s warning, she suffered no ill effects from witnessing Edric’s wild ride.

 

The story of Wild Edric’s ride probably arises from the legend of the “Wild Hunt”, an ancient myth prevalent across Northern, Western and Central Europe. In this, a phantom group of huntsmen with horses and hounds in mad pursuit, rides across the skies or just above the ground. The hunters were lost souls and anyone getting in their path would be kidnapped and taken to the land of the dead. Others believed that people's spirits could be pulled away during their sleep to join the Hunt.

 

Miners working in the Stiperstones lead mines have claimed to have heard Edric knocking from below, telling them where to dig for the best deposits of lead. This, however, is a common belief amongst metal miners across Britain. The “knockers”, as they are usually called, are said to be the souls of dead miners who direct the living miners to where the best ore is by knocking on the rock. One thing miners must never do is whistle underground, since this annoys the knockers and they will either steal away the lead ore or cause a roof fall.


There is a legend about the Monster Fish of Bomere Pool. It was said to be bigger than any fish that ever swam and it wore a sword by its side. No man can ever catch it and once, when it was nearly netted, it drew the sword and cut itself free. The fisherman then made a net of iron links and caught the fish. When it was brought to land, however, it soon freed itself with the wonderful sword and slid back into the water. The people were so terrified by the sight that they never tried to catch it again, though it was seen in the shallows of the pool with the sword girded around it. It is said that it will one day give the sword up but not until the true heir of Condover Hall comes to take it, for it is none other than Wild Edric's sword which was entrusted to its keeping and can only be restored to his heir. According to the story, Wild Edric was born at Condover Hall and it ought to belong to his descendants but his children were defrauded of their inheritance and the place is unlucky.

 

Another legend is that Wild Edric haunts the Stretton Hills as a large black dog with fiery eyes.

 

 

Wild Edric's Lament

by Deborah Gaudin

 

Godda, we are here forever,

trapped in the resinous amber

of the past, honeyed flies,

carved faces staring each to each across

the arc of time.

 

I see you standing wind whipped hair in your mouth,

seeing me mouthing words of treaty

while you hear betrayal.

I wanted a firm fist against them,

not fragile fingers poking sores.

 

I thought I’d got you, my Godda

but you were wort wise full of cunning,

while I a wild dog roved the kingdoms.

Sometimes it’s like that, all your pigeons flocking

home under one eave, the crux

of house Carls holding homes together against the storm.

 

Now I understand, you were retreating,

an anchoress to the cell of the wild wood.

And we needed hope, a cruel way to give it, prisoned in rock

your sweet revenge.

I cannot catch you now.

 

So, near to where Arthur bore all before him,

drawing his sword from the stone of standing,

your forebears wounding mine, I sleep, waiting

for danger to wake me.

We’re all a little tender by night.

 

Like a fetch off Marsh Pool,

you drift over my out crops

softening the strongest jerkin,

touch a deft magic in the rain,

love bite of frost shattering.

 

Muscles crack against confinement,

hands drumming the tap tap of impatience

knowing full well that the horn’s winding

cannot tear time.

As sure as swallows in summer,

I will be a revenant.

 

Godda

 

 

There is a legend that Edric’s wife Godda was a fairy. It all began one day when Edric had been out hunting, alone. On his way home through the Clun Forest he found himself in an unfamiliar part of that great woodland tract and realised he was lost. Looking around for any signs of life he saw lights burning in a large and ancient dwelling deep in the forest and heard sounds of wild music and singing. Edric made his way towards the place and, dismounting, went to a window and peered inside. What he saw there took his breath away. Inside the house six maidens were singing and dancing in a ring around the seventh of their number. The girls in the ring were the tallest and fairest that Edric had ever seen, but none of them could compare with she whom they danced around. The maiden who stood smiling in the centre of the circle was simply the most beautiful girl imaginable.

Edric’s heart was immediately lost and he knew that this maiden must be his bride. Without further thought he rushed into the room, swept her into his arms and made to leave with her. But the love-struck thane had reckoned without her sisters. In an instant they turned from being gorgeous young ladies arrayed in graceful linen garments to seemingly become vengeful screaming harpies with angry blazing eyes and talons fit to tear human flesh. Edric clutched his chosen bride close to him and backed away across the room. Tattered and bleeding he reached the door and staggered out into the forest, surprised to find that the terrible sisters had not followed him over the threshold. Throwing his beloved over his horse’s crupper he leapt into the saddle and sped through the forest until he found some familiar landmarks and was thus able to make his way home.

During her abduction and the headlong ride through the forest the young lady, whom Edric now realised was from the faerie realm, had neither struggled nor uttered a single sound. When he took her into his mead hall she simply sat demure and silent and watchful of his every move. He brought her finest food and drink, but she would partake of neither. He spoke heartfelt endearments to her, but she answered not a word. And so it continued for a three whole days and three whole nights. Then, suddenly, on the fourth day the faerie maiden broke her silence. In sweet and honeyed tones she spoke to Edric, calling him “her love” and saying that he was a lucky man, that she would indeed become his faithful bride, and that his good health and good fortune would last for ever. Forever that is unless, unless he should break one rule which was that he must never, ever, on any account utter any criticism of her sisters or of the place from which he had stolen her away.

Of course the delighted thane swore to be ever faithful and promised that he would never, under any circumstances or for any reason, hazard his happiness health and fortune. The handsome pair were married with great pomp and solemnity in the presence of all the local nobility, and the fame of their nuptials spread even as far as London so that William the Conqueror heard the story and was desirous to see the happy couple for himself. They were invited to his court, and thence they travelled with a great entourage of lords and ladies from the Welsh Borderlands. King William gazed upon Edric’s bride and wondered greatly for he knew from her bearing and beauty that she was undoubtedly of supernatural origins. After much feasting and jollifications the party returned home and thereafter Edric and his wife lived in great prosperity and happiness. Until one day he returned tired from the hunt to find that his wife was not at home. When she returned a little later he forgot his promise to her and blamed her sisters for enticing her away from home and delaying her return. Even as he spoke she turned to gaze at him sadly, and then just disappeared as she had said would happen.

Edric was grief stricken. He called to her, but there was no answer. He went back to where he had first seen her, but the ancient dwelling had disappeared as if it had never been. For weeks his tears watered the ground. Day after day his laments filled the air. But of his faerie bride there was no sign.
Godda vanished from his sight and he never saw her again.