Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Gravesend and Thanet water monsters...

A chap named Gravesender notes, in The Kentish Garner of October 31st 1981, ‘I send an extract from p.159 of Pocock’s History & Antiquities of Gravesend & Milton, relating to the capture of some extraordinary monsters off the Kentish coast:-

‘At Gravesend on the 7th October 1552 three great Fishes called Whirlepooles were taken and drawn up to Westminster Bridge.

In 1786 a Fish of the Grampus kind was brought here by a fishing vessel, who found it at sea, floating on the water almost dead, its mouth was full of thready bones – and the like before the oldest fisherman at this place (Gravesend) had never seen. But neither of the above Fishes were any comparison to one that was taken at St. Peter’s in the isle of Thanet on July 9th 1574, and which Mr Kilburne says, “shot himself on shore on a little sand called Fishness, where for want of water he died the next day; before which time his roaring was heard above a mile. His length was 22 yards, the nether jaw opening 12 feet; one of his eyes was more than a cart and six horses cold draw, a man stood upright in the place from whence his eye was taken, the thickness from his back to the top of his belly (which lay upward) was 14 feet; his tail of the same breadth; the distance between his eyes was 12 feet, three men stood upright in his mouth; some of the ribs were 16 feet long; his liver was two cart loads; and a man might creep into his nostrils.”

Pocock adds, “Whatever absurdities there are in this account, the Rev. Mr Lewis has transcribed it into his History of the Isle of Thanet. I therefore give it my readers, but without desiring to vouch for the truth of any of the extraordinary circumstances of this monster”

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