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Bedtime story

Goddard Oxenbridge

This creepy dude is from the church of St George in Brede, where yesterday’s creepy box came from.

Things we know about him that are probably true: his name was Sir Goddard Oxenbridge. Known as the Giant of Brede, he was a powerful but a pious and peace-loving man. He was knighted by Henry VIII in 1509 and his daughter was the Princess Elizabeth’s governess. He died in 1531 and is buried in the church (presumably, right here under this thing).

Things we know about him that are probably not true: he was seven feet tall and he ate children. He had a crow for a familiar and was enormously strong. He could not be harmed by metal weapons.

Children from all over Sussex disappeared without a trace for years and reappeared on his table, but Oxenbridge was so powerful that no-one dared complain to the king.

So one day the children of the county took matters into their own hands. They rolled a huge barrel of mead (or perhaps beer) to the Groaning Bridge on Stubb Lane and lay in wait. The giant loved him some booze. He found the barrel, drank it up and passed out dead drunk in the middle of the bridge.

Then the children leapt out with a special saw they had made out of wood — the children of West Sussex took one end, the children of East Sussex took the other — and sawed that sonofabitch right in half. You can see the blood stains to this day.

Mmmmm…okay, it’s rust. And the story probably comes from the smugglers who used Oxenbridge’s old estate, Brede Place, to store contraband when it fell into disuse in the 18th Century. They put it about that Goddard’s ghost still haunted the place to keep people away.

But there he is in the church. And the Groaning Bridge is still there. And Brede Place is still there, and persistently reported to be haunted over many years. So hold a happy thought…


Comment from Gromulin
Time: August 31, 2010, 11:00 pm

Looks like 1537 on the stone behind, 6 years after his death?. Guess the smell wasn’t *that* big a deal back then, eh?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 31, 2010, 11:06 pm

I got several conflicting dates of death for him, Gromulin. I was tempting to go with the date on the stone. Actually, I cobbled together the whole story out of bits and pieces from various places; it’s clear this has been an oral tradition for a very long time.

Comment from Pavel
Time: September 1, 2010, 12:51 am

Creepy indeed. Around these parts, we’re all, “Hey, this building is nearly 120 years old. Celebrate the antiquity.”

Groaning Bridge is a lovely name. Was it designed by the Seldom-Fail Brake Company? I’m thinking there was an earlier use of groan that must mean something like “slightly curved” or “made of big stones” or something.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: September 1, 2010, 2:21 am

What Font is that date anyway? 🙂

Comment from Monotone The Elderish
Time: September 1, 2010, 2:26 am

Those darn kids, sawing people in half, At least around here the kids do constructive things. Like throwing cinder blocks off bridges at cars on the highway.

Comment from nbpundit
Time: September 1, 2010, 3:25 am

Hey Stoaty, just for you!

Comment from Mark
Time: September 1, 2010, 11:59 am

For Gromulin:
To me, the font closely resembles Early Stoned Anglican.

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