In Janaury 1669 the writer and historian William Winstanley published a pamphlet entitled The Flying Serpent or Strange News out of Essex. It describes in graphic detail the appearance of a fearsome dragon or winged serpent at Henham, near Saffron Walden.
Since then the story has been repeated around Essex, republished in facsimile form and even pubs named The Flying Serpent can trace their name to this event. Recently it inspired Sarah Perry’s best selling novel The Essex Serpent.
Alison Barnes, local history writer and Winstanley expert has written a new introduction for the pamphlet and this booklet gives her explanation – and replicates the original pamphlet – for our enjoyment and understanding three and a half centuries later.