The origin of the legend of the Wild Man of Stainfield is unclear. No one seems to know who he was, though some thought he generally went about naked, his body covered in hair.
Even the date of his existence is not certain, though most put it sometime during the 18th and early 19th centuries.
Nevertheless, there does appear to be some clarity regarding his actions. He was a woodlander, who reputedly took cattle and sheep, presumably for food, maybe clothing. Some even think that he killed humans too.
One story states that it was a descendant of Sir Francis Drake who finally killed the Wild Man of Stainfield. There began the association of the Drake family with the area.
Stories of his demise are disputed too. Another tale describes those who later became known as the ‘Hardy Gang’, who got together to rid the area of this wildling. Some say this is how nearby Hardygang Wood got its name.
All in all, Stainfield is a fascinating village with a remarkable history – and a legend to boot.
copyright Leofwine Tanner 2019