Ancient curse lifted as Scrivelsby lion is restored...

Francis and Gail Dymoke with the Scrivelsby lion.
Francis and Gail Dymoke with the Scrivelsby lion.

A curse that was threatening the future of one of England’s oldest families has been lifted after the restoration of a 200-year-old stone lion called ‘Reggie.’

The Dymoke family - who own the Scrivelsby Estate near Horncastle - can trace their ancestry back to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The restored lion.

The restored lion.

Their ancestors fought alongside William The Conqueror who defeated King Harold in one of the most famous battles in English history.

As a result of the role they played in that victory, the family were awarded land...including the Scrivelsby Estate.

Since the 1800s, the stone lion had stood guard over the estate gatehouse.

According to current head of the family Francis Dymoke, when the lion first arrived at Scriveslby, it was accompanied by a curse stating that ‘if the lion goes, so will the Dymoke family.’

Disaster struck last Autumn when the tail and a testicle fell off the lion.

On closer inspection, Mr Dymoke and his wife Gail discovered other parts of ‘Reggie’ were also in need of repair.

The lion was duly packed off to a specialist stonemason in Salisbury and was painstakingly restored after being broken into 100 pieces.

Last Wednesday, a re-built ‘Reggie’ was back in place on top of the gatehouse...much to the relief of the family,

Mr Dymoke said: “People have asked why we had the lion restored.

“The answer is simple - we had absolutely no alternative.

“The tail dropping off was a clear sign things weren’t right.

“When we examined him, he was in a pretty poor state.

“I certainly believe the curse. If the lion goes, so do we and I wasn’t prepared to let that happen.

“Hopefully, now Reggie is back, we’ll be around for another thousand years.”

Mr Dymoke says he is delighted with the quality of the restoration work which took ‘months to complete.’

He is relieved nothing happened to the family during the time Reggie was away.

However, he pointed out there were several accidents on the road which Reggie overlooks from his lofty perch.

The Dymoke family hold the feudal hereditary office of King’s Champion.

The functions of the Champion are to ride into Westminster Hall at the coronation banquet and challenge all comers who might challenge the King’s title.

The earliest record of the ceremony date from the accession of King Richard II (1377–1399).

On that occasion, the Champion was Sir John Dymoke.

Over the last two centuries, much of the pomp and ceremony surrounding a coronation has been relaxed.

However, the title means the head of the Dymoke family can still ride a horse into Westminster Abbey during a coronation.

Mr Dymoke’s father, John, attended the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.