Recreated by Jamie O’Neill
I have always been fascinated with local folklore, myths, and legends. Jersey’s history is a treasure trove of stories of magical beasts, mysterious figures, and curious creatures. While some stories, like the notorious Black Dog of Bouley Bay, are widely known among Islanders of all ages, others linger in the shadows, awaiting discovery, such as the tale of the ferocious dragon who roosted in the St Lawrence countryside, terrorising the island and leaving destruction in its fiery wake.
It’s these sorts of captivating stories that have fed my imagination over the years, and have influenced my love of storytelling which is always at the heart of my illustrations. Initially trained in traditional animation production and later contributing to several children’s illustration books, I love weaving the narrative within my art, to create a scene with layers and depth.
Now a resident of St Lawrence myself, I couldn’t resist delving into the folklore specific to my Parish, and one that came up time and time again through my research was the tale of the Dragon of St Lawrence. Although the story’s location is more closely tied with the mound at La Hougue Bie, it is said that the more remote countryside of Jersey’s most central parish, was where the beast preferred to roost, surrounded by fields of tasty sheep and cows to feast upon.
With this year’s Lunar New Year being the Year of the Dragon, it felt like the perfect occasion to recreate a scene from this lesser-known legend, to share the captivating tale of Jersey’s very own dragon.
Legend says that a fearsome dragon once lived in St. Lawrence, killing people and burning houses all over the Island.
The noble knight Sir Hambye heard of this dragon and travelled to Jersey, defeating the beast in battle!
Exhausted and wounded from the battle, Sir Hambye lay down to rest, watched over by his trusty squire.
The squire – who wanted all the glory for himself – killed his master before burying the body and returning to France.
He told Sir Hambye’s wife that his master had been killed by the dragon that he, the Squire, had avenged his death by killing the dragon, and that the dying wish of Sir Hambye was for the Squire to marry his Lady wife.
One night after they were married, the Lady overheard the squire talking in his sleep, he admitted killing his master back in Jersey. The Lady had the Squire sent to trial and sentenced to death.
In memory of her husband, the lady travelled to Jersey and built the mound at La Hougue Bie. On a clear day, you can see right across to France.
The Creative Island Partnership
The Creative Island Partnership (CIP) has been established by the Government as a forum for individuals interested in working together to deliver the objectives of the Arts Strategy. The CIP provides a space for knowledge exchange, ideas generation and direct engagement with Government. The network includes leaders from arts and cultural organizations, anyone directly engaged and involved with the arts, and lead partners in sport, education, business, health, tourism, and the environment. Members will be a part of developing the pillars of the Arts strategy. If you would like to know more about becoming a CIP member click here.
This year the Creative Island partnership is excited to bring back the Lunar New Year festival for the second year in Jersey. Lunar New Year, also known as Chinese New Year and Spring Festival, is celebrated in East-Asian communities around the world. This cultural celebration will feature two weeks of spectacular events. Check out the full list of events and activities: gov.je/LunarNewYear.