A stunning natural lake nestled among the rolling, rural hills of the Yorkshire Dales, at first glance, there’s nothing suspect about Semerwater at all. In fact, it’s a very popular landscape for hikers to visit. But have you ever wondered what lies below the surface? According to legend, the lake actually has quite a dark history.
As the tale goes, Semerwater was actually once a prosperous village, home to many inhabitants across the 100-acre site. Until one day.
Legend has it that hundreds of years ago, a “scruffy” man wandered into the village seeking food and water. However, the misfortunate man was turned away door after door, shunned by everyone he asked for help. That is, until the last door.
At the last door, just on the edge of the village, the old man found a welcoming, poverty-stricken couple, who opened their door to him and gave him an oatcake and a drink – despite having little for themselves.
The story goes that in addition to providing the man with food and drink, the couple also offered the man shelter in their home for the evening, too, a stark contrast to the sheer unwelcome he received from other residents.
The next morning, after a night’s rest at the couple’s home, the man allegedly stepped out to face the uncharitable town, and began muttering a curse:
“Semerwater rise, and Semerwater sink, and swallow the town all save this house, where they gave me food and drink.”
After muttering those words, the legend states that the lake began to rise up – swallowing both the town and its selfish inhabitants whole – with the exception of the couple who took the man in the previous night. And with that, the curse created the huge lake that we see today.
To this day, all that remains is one small house on the lower side of the lake, which believers say is that very house.
Some locals even believe that you can still hear the village bells ringing sometimes.
What’s more curious is that an archaeological excavation actually revealed an Iron Age settlement, alongside a number of remains that indicate that humans did, in fact, inhabit the area for a very long period of time. Could it be true, after all?