Semerwater* is one of only two natural lakes in the Yorkshire Dales. It's a gorgeous spot in little Raydale.
It has a great legend. Here it is:
One day an old beggar passed through the city that now lies
under the waves. He asked at every house for food and drink,
from the humblest hovel to the highest palace, but was turned
away. Walking out of the city he came to a shepherd’s
cottage high on the hillside where he was welcomed in, given
cheese, ale and backstone cakes (a kind of Dales oatcake)
and a bed for the night.
In the morning the beggar stood at the cottage door and
looked down at the city in the valley bottom. He muttered
"Semerwater rise, and Semerwater sink,
And swallow the town all save this house,
Where they gave me food and drink.”
At once waters began pouring into the valley from the
surrounding hills until the city was drowned and every dwelling
beneath the water, save for the shepherd’s cottage. And this is
why, if you take a boat out onto Semerwater and listen in the
quiet of the evening, you can hear faintly, from the beneath
the water, the church bells rolling and tolling in the slow
currents below the surface of the lake.
*Semerwater is the subject for Watching Paint Dry in November 2022.
Josie Beszant and/or Ian Scott Massie, both artists from Masham North Yorkshire, Uk.