In the 19th century, a famous Cumbrian called Will Ritson (1808 - 1890) was a popular publican who lived at the head of the Wasdale Valley in the English Lake District.

In this remote but beautiful valley, Will always kept his customers enthralled with stories of the folk heritage of this delightful area. The valley was already famous for having England's deepest lake, Wastwater; the highest mountain, Scafell Pike; the smallest church, Wasdale Head Church, and Will Ritson achieved it's fourth superlative when he became ' The World's Biggest Liar'.







Will Ritson


Of course, Will was a sincere and genuine man, who insisted that all his tales were true: He kept foxhounds, and on one occasion mated a foxhound bitch with a golden eagle. The result was that the foxhound pups had eagle wings, and were able to leap over the Lake District's dry stone walls more easily. Since that time there has been little trouble with foxes in the Wasdale Valley.

Each year, in November, a contest is held at The Bridge Inn, Santon Bridge, to award the title of 'The Biggest Liar in the World', to the person who is worthy of following in Will Ritson's foorsteps.

competition poster




The first prize includes cash, The Biggest Liar Certificate, a silk tie printed with 'The Biggest
Liar in the World' and the majestic Jennings Trophy.

Recent winners have been:
Reg White (1990 & 1991), Derek Martin (1992 & 1993), John Graham (1994,1995 & 1996), Howard Christie (1997), James Mason (1998)


In 2000 the four Grizedale artists organised a Liar's Lunch in collaboration with Howard Christie, whose menu included:

• Blair's Promise: a rich pastry case with the promise of better things underneath, (it was full of steaming hot air)
• Medallions of Local Beef: in a rich illicit still sauce
• Herkey: a cross between Joss Naylor's Herdwicks and John Graham's Turkeys (like it's breeders it runs all day and talks all night)
• Lord Archer's Revenge for dessert...

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