Potter Thompson

I’m not sure how King Arthur ended up there, but there are at least a couple of stories that suggest there are tunnels under Richmond, hiding a secret army.

Richmond Castle

Once upon a time, in the town of Richmond, lived a man called Potter Thompson. Generally a cherry soul, and well-liked by most people, but his wife was not ‘most people’. She rarely had a good word to say to him, scolding him whatever he did, or didn’t, do.

One evening, after a long and tiring day making pots, his wife was in a particularly bad mood. Potter was in no mood to spend any time in his own house, but instead wandered off down to the river, even considering throwing himself into the waters below the castle.

As he walked along the bank of the river, he spotted an opening in the cliffs that somehow he had never seen before, and, his wife forgotten, climbed into it. He went slowly and cautiously down the passage revealed, with the darkness slowly swallowing him, until a faint glow appeared ahead.

Turning a corner, this faint light revealed itself as a vast lamp, hung in the centre of a huge chamber. Immediately below the lamp was a stone table, with a great sword within its scabbard and a richly decorated horn.

Coming up to the table, he spotted statues lining the far side of the chamber. They looked like mighty stone warriors, lying on the floor in a row, with one wearing a simple crown of gold. Increasingly nervous now, Potter Thompson walked closer to them and realised they were not made of stone, but were sleeping men, breathing heavily and more slowly than normal men normally do.

Nervously he returned to the table, his hands attracted remorselessly towards the sword and horn. He put the horn around his neck and picked up the sword. As he started to draw the sword from its scabbard, the knights stirred slightly in their magical sleep. He lifted the horn to his lips, and again they stirred before he could blow.

This so terrified him, that he dropped them straight back onto the stone table and turned to run from the secret chamber. Immediately a strong wind rushed through, as though speeding him on his way, and an unearthly cry sounded around him:

‘ If thou hadst either drawn

The sword or sound that horn,

Thou hadst been the luckiest man

That ever was born.’

Thus the King Arthur and his nights were allowed to fall back into their long sleep, and the day when they would rise again and come to England’s aid was delayed. Perhaps one day soon a bolder man shall find again the gloomy vault, and draw the sword and sound the horn, still laid up, and awaiting, beneath Richmond’s historic keep.

The Drummer boy of Richmond

A story about an army hidden in tunnels near Richmond Castle!

Richmond castle, taken from the air.

There were legends that tunnels ran under the countryside near Richmond Castle, but no-one knew where the entrances were. That is, until a group of soldiers, stationed nearby, found what looked like a tunnel entrance while on patrol in the area.

The entrance was tiny though, and none of the soldiers could squeeze through. Rather than trying to dig it out, they sent for the Regimental Drummer Boy instead. They gave him a lantern, his drum, and helped him wiggle through the tiny entrance.

Once in, he played his drum as he moved along the tunnel, with the soldiers following the sound of the drum from above ground. It worked for a while, and the soldiers followed the drumming towards the abbey, which used to have close links with the Norman castle.

Suddenly, however, the sound of the drumming changed, as the drummer boy had entered a large chamber. A large group of knights were in an enchanted sleep, along with King Arthur and his mighty sword Excalibur. A knight raised his hand to silence the loud drumming, and above ground the soldiers heard instead the faint whispers of a conversation taking place.

‘Is England in danger?’, the knight asked. ‘No’, the boy replied. ‘Then now is not the time to awaken King Arthur’, said the knight. ‘Will you stay with us, and sleep until we are needed?’. In great excitement and pride, the boy agreed, and still lies there to this day.