THE last wolf in England was killed in a village near Crewe, according to a new book.
Barthomley may seem sleepy these days but, according to local legend, it is where the last wild wolf met its end in the 16th Century.
This fascinating piece of history is just one of the many stories explored in The Boom of the Bitterbump by Roger Stephens.
Subtitled The Folk-history of Cheshire's Wildlife, the book takes a fond look at the rich and peculiar folklore which, today, is almost forgotten.
Roger, 47, has been a member of the Cheshire Wildlife Trust for many years and decided to write the book after hearing stories of folklore from local people.
He says: 'I found when I was out with some bird-watchers they were expert on the scientific side of wildlife but not on the local folk roots.
'Then I'd meet old people and they would know the folklore and so I tried to put them together.'
Roger explains: 'The wolf once roamed all over the country and its tracks are preserved in place-names.
'Cheshire's most famous wolf name is Wulvarn, a little brook that flows gently through the village and it is here, according to local evidence, the last wolf was slain.
'Without evidence it must remain a story and nothing more, but Barthomley people cherish an old legend about a huge, black dog as big as a cow, which on dark nights comes 'whiffling through the tulgey wood' with eyes aflame, presaging death.' The Boom of the Bitterbump, featuring 56 original illustrations by the author, is priced £11.95. It is available from bookshops, or post-free from publisher Gordon Emery, 27 Gladstone Road, Chester CH1 4BZ. Do any readers know more about the Barthomley wolf?
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