From mythical legends - dragons, unicorns, mermaids, sea serpents, griffins, yales and wyverns - to contemporary tall-tales such as big cats on the moors and the Loch Ness Monster, the British imagination has ever been stalked by fantastic beasts. These creatures find their origins in folklore, literature, heraldry and religion and are vividly transmitted to us in countless manuscript illuminations, woodcuts, sculptures, engravings, carvings and paintings. Julia Cresswell here outlines and investigates the legendary beasts of Britain, including famous examples such as St George's dragon alongside more local traditions such as the Laidly Worm, a princess turned by an evil stepmother into a monster that terrorised the countryside. It is the perfect guide to a heritage of creatures that range from the ugly and malevolent to the beguiling and benevolent.
Julia Cresswell is a writer and tutor specialising in the medieval world, mythology and the history of the English Language. She is the author of over a dozen books, and lives in Oxford where she tutors regularly for the Oxford University Department of Continuing Education and Stanford University's Oxford Centre.
Introduction / Dragons, Wyverns and Worms / Big Cats and Black Dogs / Mermaids, Selkies and Finn-folk / Nessie and Her Kin / Griffins, Unicorns and Yales / Further Reading / Index