According to the National Trust website the dragons at Wallington were once part of a group of sculptures that stood on top of one of the gates that guarded the City of London, Bishopsgate. Too narrow for London’s growing traffic, the gate was demolished only thirty years after its erection in the 1730s.
Sir Walter Calverley Blackett, the owner of the Wallington estate, bought the dragons as architectural salvage, along with other bits of sculpture and shipped them as ballast on a coal barge up the coast to Newcastle.
They were placed in their present locations in 1928. They are Grade II* Listed Buildings protected by law.
I copied this about the sculpture on the Whitby Sculpture Trail “along the riverside where you’ll find Emma’s tribute to one of Whitby’s strangest legends – the Penny Hedge. The story goes that one autumn day in 1159, a group of noblemen were hunting nearby. Their hounds attacked a boar which took shelter in a hermitage, the hermit closing the door on the dogs. The enraged hunters attacked the hermit, leaving him for dead. On his deathbed he suggested that, instead of the death penalty for murder, they and their descendants should enact an annual penance – the construction of a woven ‘hedge’ from branches cut using only a knife ‘of a penny price’. The hedge needed to withstand three tides: if it didn’t, the lords would forfeit their lands. The planting of the Penny Hedge has continued every year at 9am on the eve of Ascension Day, 39 days after Easter. When the hedge is planted a horn is blown three times and “Out on ye, out on ye, out on ye!” is called out.”
Click the link above to find out more about other pieces in the Sculpture Trail
I saw this sculpture at Cragside House, a stately home in Northumberland. He is known as Douglas in the Valley and was created by Tommy Crags using what remained of a 170 ft high fir tree felled several years ago.