Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Myths of Britain - Herne The Hunter

The United Kingdom has a long and,quite often, bloody history, which has lead to many myths and legends becoming associated with historical places. Windsor is one of the oldest castles in England, and along with its extensive Great Park, is well known for hauntings and paranormal events.  One of the most famous legends associated with Windsor Great Park is that of Herne the Hunter and his Wild Hunt.

The legend goes that during the reign of King Richard II, Herne was a conscientious keeper on the Windsor Estate. In fact he was so good at his job that the other keepers were all resentful of his success.  One day Richard II was hunting in the park when he was thrown from his horse and then attacked by a white hart (stag). Herne managed to rescue the stricken monarch and slit the white hart's throat, but was fatally wounded in the process.

As Herne lay dying, a mystery man called Philip Urswick appeared with an offer to heal Herne, while hiding the fact that he has already made a pact with the other keepers that on his recovery Herne would no longer be any good at his job. Urswick chopped the antlers off the dead white hart and place them on Herne's head, where they stuck as though they had always been there. After his recovery Herne lost his position as predicted, and in despair hung himself from an oak tree. Although his swinging body was seen, when it came to be recovered his corpse could not be found.

The other keepers mysteriously also lost their powers and when they consulted Philip Urswick, he advised them to meet that night at the oak tree where Herne had been seen swinging.  When they arrived they were met by the horned Herne, who forced them to go hunting with him in Windsor Great Park.

The legend of Herne the Hunter and the Wild Hunt was born, so read on to find out more

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