How The Wiltshire Moonrakers Got Their Name


How The Wiltshire Moonrakers Got Their Name


You probably know that Great Britain is made up of 4 countries: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. But did you know there are lots of smaller areas called counties each with their own wonderful histories and traditions? I’m from one of those counties. It’s called Wiltshire and is in the west of England. We have the nickname of Moonrakers. I’m going to tell you the story of how we got our name.

Many years ago in the 17th century there were high taxes on everything that came from abroad. This led to smuggling. Some people brought things into the country secretly so as not to pay the taxes. They were called smugglers. One dark night in Devizes a group of smugglers were being chased by the tax collectors so they hid their goods quickly. The tax collectors came into the town but only saw a farmer with a big rake near a pond. One of the taxmen asked the farmer what he was doing. The farmer pointed to the reflection of the moon in the water and said that a big cheese had fallen in the water and that he was trying to get it out. The tax collectors laughed and told the man he was stupid. It was only the moon’s reflection in the water and not a cheese at all. You could still hear the tax collectors laughing as they left the town. However, the farmer had the last laugh as he had hidden the smuggled goods in the pond!

So that’s how we got the name of Moonrakers because of the story of the farmer raking the moon from a pond. The real moral of the story though is that country people are not stupid. If you think they are stupid, the laugh will be on you!

The pond where the story was alleged to have taken place as it is today.