Any wild member of the pig species Sus scrofa; the ancestor of domestic pigs. It is native to forests ranging from western and northern Europe and North Africa to India, the Andaman Islands, and China and has been introduced to New Zealand and the U.S. It has a bristly, blackish or brown coat and stands up to 35 in. (90 cm) tall at the shoulder. Except for old, solitary males, boars live in groups. They are omnivores and are good swimmers. They have sharp tusks and, though normally not aggressive, can be dangerous. Because of its strength, speed, and ferocity, the boar has long been a prized game animal.
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The story goes that in the reign of King John (1199-1216) a ferocious wild boar infested the forest between Kendal and Windermere, it had its den in the neighbourhood of the well known as Scout Scar. Tales of the monster’s malignant and unwonted ferocity were circulated far and wide, pilgrims paid their devotions at the Holy Cross before embarking upon the perilous journey through Crook and over Cleabarrow; the creature's main haunt. It is said that "inhabitants (of the local villages) were never safe from its attacks, and that pilgrims... shuddered with fear" 1 Richard De Gylpin determined to free them from these attacks, and tracked the monster through the forest. After a dramatic fight he slew the animal on the spot of the Wild Boar Inn, on the banks of the little stream, ever since known as the Gilpin. After these brave exploits Richard de Gilpin changed his family crest to include a black boar on a gold background. He was rewarded the lordship of the manor of Kentmere by the Baron of Kendal for his exploits. The event was immortalised in a song known as the Minstrels of Winandermere (see Gilpin family history for lyrics).
George Carlton, Bishop of Chichester (1619–1628), wrote a life of Richard's descendant the famous Bernard Gilpin, in it he said that Richard “slew a wild boar raging in the neighbouring mountains like the boar of Erymanthus, brought great damage upon the country people, and was as a reward for his services given the manor of Kentmere by the then Baron of Kendal.”