The Crammer – Devizes, England - Atlas Obscura

The Crammer

Devizes, England

Legend says the people of Wiltshire got their "Moonraker" nickname from this small pond.  

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The people of Wiltshire, England, are known as “Moonrakers.” The legend behind this nickname is reported to originate from the Crammer, a pond in Devizes.

In the 1700s, high taxes on goods such as alcohol caused smuggling activities to increase. One night, some locals were retrieving hogsheads of brandy from the Crammer with large hay rakes when they were spotted by the local exciseman.

In an attempt to hide their loot, the men pointed to the reflection of the moon on the pond and said they were trying to rake in the “giant cheese” they’d found. Thinking the men to be confused and drunk, the exciseman left the scene laughing at the locals, who were left free to enjoy the profits of their tales. 

The story of this legendary night was written in the Wiltshire dialect by Marjorie Couzens around the year 1900, and can be seen on a commemorative plate in the Wiltshire museum on Long Street.