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Myths and Folklore Wiki

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The Stratford Lyon (or Stratford Lion, or Red Lion) is a monster from the folklore of the New Forest area of South-West England. The story was first documented in the 18th century, in the marginalia of a family bible believed to have belonged to the Stratford family.

The Legend

In the New Forest village of South Baddesley, in the late 14th or early 15th century, a landowner by the name of Stratford was walking his grounds when, sticking from the earth, he found a huge pair of red antlers. Intrigued, he pulled at them. They didn't budge. He pulled harder, putting all his effort into it; finally they started to give, but attached to the antlers he found a huge red head - a lions head. Before long he'd pulled the whole giant creature from the earth. Kicking and bucking, the beast ran at him, but Stratford gripped tight to the antlers and leapt onto the lions back. The rampaging lion ran three times around the forest, doing all he could to throw his rider, but Stratford held tight and eventually brought him to heel. Having tamed the thing, it pledged its servitude to Stratford and his kin, and always to rise up and aid the family in times of great need. The Stratford Lyon itself is still said to walk the forest, and some sightings include the ghostly figure of Stratford sitting atop its back.