Bevois and Ascupart
of Bevois and Ascupart used to be well known in Southampton, and
have given their names to many place names in the city, such as Bevois
Town, Bevois Valley and Ascupart Street. Inside the Bargate (shown left),
which used to be the main entrance to the city there are two wooden
panels showing these two mighty heroes dressed in Roman apparel, looking
rather like they're wearing mini-skirts.
Recently the city council, at not inconsiderable expense,
decided to erect a statue of Bevois' sword, Mortglay, at the top of
Bevois Valley. They then thought a sword might not be appropriate, and
decided to make it a semi-abstract sort of a sword and call it "Shear"
(cutting edge?), and decided it should be very tall, so as to rival
The Angel of the North. There were objections to this, so our valiant
councillors modified it, and finally had a strange object erected that
has since then been popularly known as The Cheese Grater.
has had some trouble in his stories with Sir Bevois grating the fearsome
dragon into parmesan.
The stories are usually traced back to some medieval
romances which have Bevois as a rather thuggish crusader, stories somewhat
lacking in subtlety and charm. However around Hampshire and Sussex there
are Neolithic sites with names such as Bevis'
Thumb or Bevis' Grave, and Mike likes to trace the legends back
before medieval times. In the council estates below Portsdown Hill,
children tell stories of a wild spectral horse that gallops around the
hill on stormy nights. There is a Bevis' Grave on Portsdown Hill and
Bevois's horse, Arundel (or Hirondelle) is a major part of the legends.
So Mike likes to connect these stories, and many a strange tale unfolds
which Mike swears are all true. Bevois slumbers under Portsdown Hill,
or was it Bevois Mount in Southampton? The dragon flies low over the
Isle of Wight, or crawls from the Knuckers Hole, a strange lake at Lyminster,
near Arundel. The lady Josian walks the Forest of Bere, or draws water
from a New Forest Well.
These are local stories
for the Hampshire/Sussex area. But whatever area you're in there are
stories. You may be surprised what fragments you already know of such
stories - the Hagstone Storyteller is
always willing to help you find them; they're your stories.