These days Durham is a tranquil city, but back in the sixteenth century it was ‘invaded’ by a fearsome and ‘monstrous’ man-eating dragon from Ethiopia, sixteen feet long. This was brought to Durham by an Italian showman to thrill local people. According to the 1569 parish register of St Nicholas’ Church, the dragon:
was taken & killed by speciall pollicie in Æthiopia within the Turke’s dominions. But before it was killed, It had deuoured (as it is credibly thought) more than 1000 persons And also destroyed a whole Countrey.
This is just one of many dragon and worm stories found in the archives of the North East – the most famous of course being the Lambton Worm.
There will be a dragon inspired by this and other local worm stories prowling the streets throughout Theatrum Mundi.