In days gone before the marshes were drained, the marshmen spoke of the Tiddy Mun , an elf like creature with a face worn and cracked like old shoe leather, who lived deep in the black peat bogs of North Lincolnshire. Despite odd bouts of mischief Tiddy Mun was considered by marshfolk as a harmless spirit.
This however was to change in the seventeenth century when Dutch engineers, led by Cornelius Vermuyden, gradually drained the marsh to make it profitable for rich farmers. The once playful spirit became angered at the destruction of its homeland, and one by one lured the engineers to their deaths in the treacherous swamps.
The local people also used guerrilla tactics to attack and kill many of the engineers. They believed the killings would placate Tiddy Mun, who they thought was angered by the draining and had caused a pestilence as a result.
Tiddy Mun was a bog spirit worshipped in Lincolnshire, England, which supposedly had the ability to control floods. When the wetlands flooded and the rivers burst their banks, local people would gather by the waterside and call:
“Tiddy Mun without a name, the water’s rough!”
and the next morning the floods would have receded.
Tiddy Mun (old Lincolnshire dialect for ‘little man’) was believed to look like a withered old man with a long, white beard. When he laughed it was said to sound like the whooping screech of a pyewipe (local dialect for peewit). He was said to dwell in the bogs and waterholes of the carrs of north Lincolnshire, and was generally helpful and kind towards humans.
Tiddy Mun’s existence was first cited in June 1891, in an article by M. C. Balfour in the Journal of Folklore. She recalls a story told to her by an older person in the village who remembered a curse cast upon the town when they were a child because of the ditching and draining of the bogs and fens of Lincolnshire by the Dutch. The water spirit is eventually placated by the town after they gather at midnight on a full moon, pour buckets of water back into the bog, and apologize for the damage to the spirit’s bog where he lives
Tiddy Mun couldn’t halt the wheels of progress forever. When the marshes became lush green farmland he disappeared and was never seen again, although, when the wind howls from the sea across the marsh, is it wind or the Tiddy Mun seeking his revenge and his next victim.