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The Moonrakers of Devizes

Not so stupid smugglers...

Ceramic plate celebrating the Moonraker story.

Make sure your volume is on: "Norman Rogers - Moonrakers Legend"

Show transcript

THE TALE OF WILTSHIRE MOONRAKER’S PLATE (TRANSCRIPTION)
TALE OF WILTSHIRE MOONRAKERS – US WUR CLEVERER THAN ‘E-AH, US DIDDLED ‘E ALRIGHT.

In a pond up ‘Vizes way – smugglers ‘ad ‘idden a keg ‘o brandy & us wur trying to get at un. Us were scrabbling away with gurt ‘ay rakes when us spied ‘zizeman ‘a’watching. So us pointed to moon’s ‘flection in water & told un us wur “raking vor that gurt chase”.

‘e thought us wur caddled & ‘ad ‘ad too much tiddley. So off ‘e went, laffing fit to bust ‘is britches. That’s why Wiltshiremen be called “Moonrakers”, s’now.

This folk tale is about of group of smugglers carrying brandy barrels at night.  Hearing an Excise Man (aka a Customs Officer) approaching, they quickly rolled the barrels into a nearby pond. When the danger was past, they set about getting them out again with a long rake.

But the suspicious Excise Man returned and demanded to know what they were doing. One smuggler pointed to the reflection of the moon in the water and replied that they were trying to rake out the cheese from the moon. Their story worked (the legend says!) and to this day, Wiltshire people are known as ‘Moonrakers’.

 

Image:  Copyright Wiltshire Museum Image: BL-3334, Audio: Norman Rogers Audio_Moonrakers Legend

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