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The Duel at Edwyn Ralph

Love can be a very funny thing. Long lasting, hard fought for or fleetingly brief, but desired by many. Our tale today is not quite in the realms of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet but is a fated love story with just as much passion.

In the 14th century to the north east of Herefordshire in an area now known as Edwyn Ralph there lived two noblemen. Their friendship was legendary, all of their lives growing up they had had a strong bond. Baron Ralph and Lord Y’Edvin were only parted when Lord Y’Edvin joined the Crusade in the Holy Land. With the inquisitiveness of youth, he embraced his adventure wholeheartedly and returned some years later wiser, more self confident and experienced in the ways of the world.

Upon his return Lord Y’Edvin had fallen in love with a local noble lady who resided in a nearby castle. Lady Jayne was beautiful, witty and mesmerising. She was all that he had ever wanted and he looked forward to asking her to marry him. But unbeknown to him his lifelong friend Baron Ralph was also taken with her and before long a vicious rivalry broke out which was to change the course of all of their lives.

Matters became so serious that Lord Y’Edvin challenged Baron Ralph to a duel. The duel would take place in a meadow where the men used to play as children, and most importantly it would be fought to the death. The day arrived, it was early morning and the mist hung in the air. The sense of anticipation was palpable as the two men met in their beloved meadow, swords in hand ready for battle. Notably and unusually they were alone, no supporters or witnesses to cheer them on, it was a very personal moment for them both.

Well matched and both full of fury they set about their task. Swords clashing ferociously with hate in their hearts they battled against each other, with neither man prepared to admit defeat.

Until from nowhere Lady Jayne appeared pleading with the men to stop their feud. Blinded by their hatred they did not heed her words but continued to battle. In a bid to stop them and get their attention Lady Jayne stood directly in between the fighting men. It was a reckless thing to do and she was about to pay dearly for it. They were so focused on their fight that they did not see her and in an instant one of the swords pierced her heart and she fell to the ground dying. Stunned by what had just happened the two men stood in shock for a few moments. Watching the ground beneath them turning crimson they realised that Lady Jayne’s life was ebbing away.

Heartbroken by what they had done they continued to fight on, each one sustaining injuries from which they would never recover. The next morning Baron Ralph, Lord Y’Edvin and Lady Jayne were found in the meadow. Together they were buried in St Michael’s church and their love story became a tale that was shared by locals over the centuries.

You may have wondered about the origins of place names, we have too. So could it be that the village of Edwyn Ralph was named in memory of the two men whose passion for love led to their untimely demise.

These stories are curated from many sources and retold in our fun ESL style, in the true spirit of Folklore.

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