Legend - 'arking back to Moonraking
Moon Fakers
the logo of the Slaithwaite Moonrakers showing a moon floating in the water and being raked out.
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link to the Heritage Lottery Fund site.

In late 1815, Ken Boot, one of the two Slaithwaite Smugglers, having made a tidy pile, decided to retire. Like many rich men, he forsook the wonderful countryside of the Colne Valley, for the warmer climes to the South.

After long discussions with his wife, the decision was made. "We're off ta Devizes" he said. Six months later, he was sitting in the George and Dragon, a comfortable 17th Century coaching inn, nestling on the edge of Salisbury Plain, between Westbury and Devizes.

Like all successful men, he was apt to talk about how he made his money. While the local brew was not quite up to the Slaithwaite Ale standard, it was quite potent. After downing a few pints one evening, he told his tale to the locals. It passed from mouth to mouth a few dozen times, the story moved from Slaithwaite to Slaght, the canal became the Kennet and Avon Canal (built in 1810) and so was born the story of the Wiltshire Moonrakers.

Various towns and villages in the area grabbed hold of the story, and it became part of the local folklore, with even a local pub being called the Moonrakers. However, its genuine roots are in Slaithwaite.

I should know - Ken Boot was my ancestor way back in the 19th century.

If you don't believe me, ask mine host at the George and Dragon - or even the Moonrakers on Nursteed Road.


Photo of the lock just to the east of Slaithwaite
a lock east of