This article was originally posted on #FolkloreThursday.com on 27/06/2019 titled British Legends: Wild Edric, the Wild Hunt and the Bride from the Otherworld by zteve t evans.
Wild Edric was an Anglo-Saxon earl from Shropshire who was also known as Eadric Salvage, Eadric Silvaticus and Eadric the Wild. He was one of the wealthiest men in Shropshire and the lord of fifty-six manors. Tradition says he was a great huntsman, hunting areas of the Forest of Clun, Stiperstones and the Long Mynd. Although he was a real person many myths and legends became attached to him such as the Wild Hunt, his faerie bride and the monster fish of Bomere Pool.
The Norman Conquest
Wild Edric was not believed to have fought at the Battle of Hastings,
but most of his manors were taken by King William to be given to his
own barons. Therefore, between 1068-70 he allied himself with Bleddyn
ap Cynfyn, Prince of Gwynedd, and his brother, Riwallon, the Prince of
Powys, who were Welsh resistance leaders opposed to William. They
attacked the Normans in Herefordshire, devastating Hereford, but, unable
to capture the castle, they retreated. In retaliation, the Normans
attacked Edric many times, but could not defeat him.
In 1069, William led his northern army to put down a rebellion led by
the Earl Mokar of Northumberland and his brother Edwin. While William
was preoccupied, Edric and his Welsh allies joined with rebels from
Cheshire, attacking Norman lands in northern parts of Shropshire. They
burnt Shrewsbury, but were unable to take the castle.
When news of the assault reached William he turned his army around and headed south. Instead of confronting William, Edric retreated back to Shropshire. The Welsh and Cheshire rebels fought William but were defeated near Stafford. William was not satisfied with this victory and proceeded to attack and lay waste the land. Eventually, Edric was forced to make peace and swear allegiance to King William who took all but three of his remaining manors. In 1072, Edric supported and accompanied William in an attack on Scotland.
Bomere Pool is situated in the English county of Shropshire about 4.7 miles (7.5 km) south of Shrewsbury between Condover and Bayston Hill. The pool has several legends attached to it and presented here is a version of a tale that tells how a monster fish acquired the sword of Wild Eadric, an Anglo-Saxon war leader who had fought against the Norman Conquest of Britain.
The Fish and the Sword
The story tells how the squire of Condover was out with his friends in a boat on Bomere Pool enjoying a day of fishing. One of them hooked an enormous fish and it took the help of all of the party to pull it into the boat. The squire and his friends were astounded by the sheer size of the fish and a heated discussion arose concerning the girth of the monster. A wager was then placed betting that the fish was bigger around the waist than the squire. In a bid to compare the diameter of the fish to himself the squire took off his belt and with a lot of squeezing managed to fasten it around the girth of the fish.
This caused the huge creature some discomfort and it began to flap about and struggle and managed to flip itself out of the boat and back into the water still wearing the squire’s belt and sword and swam away. Those who fish the pool say that if the giant fish was ever hooked it would draw the sword and cut itself free before it could be netted. Legend says that it was once netted but drew the sword and cut the net to pieces and escaped.
A net was made of iron links and the fish was caught and after a struggle brought to the land. However, once on land, the fish drew the sword and cut itself free slipping back into the pool. This frightened the fishermen so much no other attempts were made at catching it. Every now and then it was hooked but it quickly drew the sword and cut itself free. Sometimes it was seen lurking in the shallows near the banks with the sword and belt still firmly attached to it.
Legend tells that there will come a day when the fish will willingly give the sword up but only to the true heir of Condover Hall. The sword is said to be none other than the sword of Wild Eadric who fought against King William the Conqueror for many years. He was said to have been born at Condover Hall and was the true heir to the hall and its land and only he, or his descendant, could claim the sword. The story tells that he was defrauded out of his inheritance and ever since the hall had been unlucky to its owners. The monster fish was waiting dutifully for the return of the true heir to return the sword to its rightful owner.