Travel Tuesday: The Canewdon Witches and St Nicolas Church

by - October 27, 2020

 I've definitely included more information about this location in this weeks travel Tuesday. But that may be because there is just so much more to know!

Canewdon is a village steeped in mystery and folklore. It is known as the village of the witches. Although it was never visited by notorious Essex witch hunter Matthew Hopkins, it has a long history of association with witchcraft.

"Three of cotton, three of silk."

That might sound like a silly little rhyme, but it's know that there will always be six witches in Canewdon: three of cotton (lower class) and three of silk (upper class).  It is also known that if one of these witches die, a stone will fall from the tower of St Nicholas church. This witch will then be replaced to keep the six witches of Canewdon.

As well as witches, Canewdon is known to have a number of ghost stories, making it one of the most haunted villages in Essex. Most of these stories relate to the parish church of St Nicolas. Two of the most commonly witnessed apparitions being the grey lady, who walks from the gate to the west side of the church down toward the river where she disappear. The other, is that of a headless lady , seen within the church itself. She's known to pick up any terrified observers and place them in a nearby ditch. Me and my mum even managed to catch a photograph of a young girl in a Victorian style dress by the church one evening, but that photo is thankfully long gone, you'll just have to take my word.

There is a well known myth surrounding the church that has many different variations, all of them surrounding the tower. It is believed that depending on which direction, and how many times you walk around the tower, you can have a number of different supernatural experiences! 

Here are just a few examples:

If you run around the tower three times anti clockwise, a portal will open and you will go back in time.

If you run around the tower backward three times, you'll see a ghost at the top of the tower.

If you walk around the tower at midnight, you will be forced to dance with witches.

If you walk around the church, witches will appear and sing to you. 

If you walk around the church seven times on Halloween, you'll see a witch! Walk around 13 times the same night you'll become invisible.

My favorite of all these myths, is if you're willing, run around the church anti-clockwise on Halloween night, the devil will appear!

This myth is so well known in the local area, that the police close the area around the church off on halloween night. Is it to stop mischief makers and ghost hunters rushing into the village? Or to stop  anything horrifying happening? ... Probably the first but it definitely adds an extra layer to the myth!

Canewdon is close to Rochford, and easy to find but much like Mundon, it's a tiny village on its own. So as long as you don't mind the drive it's easy enough to visit! There are also so many articles about the many witches and ghosts of Canewdon, definitely worth a read if it's your thing!

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