Byards Leap

Byards Leap is situated on the heath-land South of Lincoln at the crossroads of the Roman road known as Ermine Street and the Sleaford to Newark Road. It once formed the Southern most part of the lands coming under the control of the Temple Bruer preceptory of the Knights Templar. The place is famous for it's legend regarding the exploits of a marvellous horse named Byard. Over many years the legend has appeared in many different formats, however the central elements to the story are always retained. Some of the characters change and some are added but the key players remain present. Essentially the story goes as follows. There used to be a witch that went by the name of old Meg, she inhabited a cave in a wooded area close by the crossroads of Ermine street and the Sleaford to Newark road. In the cave she kept and nurtured her cubs (children). Unfortunately old Meg was want to harass passers by with her evil doing. Also she possessed the power to bring misfortune upon the crops and livestock of the local inhabitants. Well it came to pass that everyone was tired of the antics of Old Meg and a champion was sought to remove this unwanted lady. Duly one came forward, he was told , by whom we are unsure, that the only way to dispatch the witch would be run a sword through her heart whilst on horse back . So the brave unnamed young man set about choosing a trusty steed for the job. He knew he would need an alert and lively horse if he were to stand any chance of success. So that evening he went to the local pond where the horses gathered to drink. As they were all drinking he threw a stone into the pond and watched for the horse that had the most alert reactions. One horse stood out from the rest as having the necessary attributes. The horse was well known locally and was known as Blind Byard, he was strong , brave and fleet of foot. It was also considered by the young champion to be of benefit that he was blind, that way the sight of the ugly hag would not distract him from the task at hand. The champion mounted and set out for the cave of Old Meg. Outside the cave he shouted for Meg to come out and face him. Meg replied that he would have to wait while she finished feeding her cubs. The champion agreed. Next thing he knew Meg jumped up behind him. Startled he turned and struck out at her. Unfortunately he only caught her a glancing blow. Meg shrieked in pain and sunk her talons into the flank of Blind Byard. In order to escape her clutches Byard made his legendary 60 foot leap. Where he landed his hooves left impressions in the ground that could be seen for many, many years to come. Meg chased Byard and the champion back to the pond, where the champion regained his composure, turned upon Meg and stuck his sword through her heart. She fell into the pond and drowned. It was the end of Meg and all the local people were free at last from the reign of terror brought about by her. Byards famous leap went down into history. The site was ever since known as Byards leap. Today visitors to Byards Leap will see the mounting stone placed to commemorate the great story and the four horseshoes erected by locals on short posts to mark the spot where Byard landed and left his impression. In fact there used to be two sets of horseshoes, as in some stories Byard makes two prodigious leaps.

Byards Leap Horseshoes

Back to the other stuff main page