The Dragon of Wantley is a legend of a dragon-slaying by a knight on Wharncliffe Crags in South Yorkshire, recounted in a comic broadside ballad of 1685, later included in Thomas Percy’s 1767 Reliques of Ancient Poetry, and enjoying widespread popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries, although less well-known today. The ballad tells how the Falstaffian knight, Moore of Moore Hall, obtains a bespoke suit of spiked Sheffield armour and delivers a fatal kick to the dragon’s “arse-gut,” its only vulnerable spot – as the dragon explains with its dying breath. The topography of the ballad is accurate in its detail as regards Wharncliffe Crags and environs, but the story, and its burlesque humour, has been enjoyed in places far from the landscape from which it appears to derive and has been used to make a number of points unrelated to it.
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