It is from the Anglo Saxon times that one of the great legends of the area arises, the legend of the Laidly Worm.
King Ida the Flame-bearer rules the kingdom of Northumbria with his queen. Together, they have a daughter Margaret famed for her great beauty and a son, Childewynd.
But Ida's wife dies and he becomes besotted with an evil witch Behoc and marries her. Whilst the King’s son Childewynd is travelling overseas Behoc becomes deeply jealous of her beautiful step-daughter. She casts a spell on Margaret turning her into a ferocious fire-breathing dragon known as the Laidly Wyrme.
“I weird ye to be a Laidly Worm,
And borrowed shall ye never be,
Until Childe Wynd, the King’s own son
Come to the Heugh and thrice kiss thee;
Until the world comes to an end,
Borrowed shall ye never be.”
The dragon terrified the people of the kingdom, to appease her they left tributes of cattle and milk by the heugh at Spindlestone where the dragon often lingered. The King offered rewards to slay the dragon but none could defeat it. Eventually news of this terrifying dragon reaches Childewynd, along with troubling tales of the new queen Behoc. When he learnt of her cruelty towards the people and the power she held over King Ida he had a new ship built, with its keel made of the rowan tree; a sure protection against dark magic.
As Childewynd lands on the beach near the castle he finds the dragon raging, but as raises his sword to kill it when he hears it speak in his sisters voice, begging him to kiss her.