Sunday, March 26, 2017
The Horsingdon Transmissions No.85: Seven Crones
In an area of Northwich known as Northwich Village - once the epicentre of Northwich life in the 17th and 18th century - stands a circle of gnarled trees known as 'The Seven Crones'. The trees grow on the what had once been part of the common land of Northwich Village where, in 1785, seven women were hanged for the crimes of witchcraft and idolatry: according to the parish records the women had, on the Midsummer's Eve of that year, been discovered in a secluded part of Horsingdon Woods making ungodly obeisance to a goat-headed idol with three eyes.
An old custom holds that the blessing of fecundity will be bestowed upon any woman who engages in sexual congress under a full moon within the circle formed by The Seven Crones. There is a story from the mid-1970s of a local woman - one Jane Hatherley - who admitted that herself and her husband followed this customary advice after many failed attempts to conceive a child. Documents from Northwich Park Hospital certainly attest to the fact that a woman of that name (suffering from complications whilst in labour) was admitted to the hospital on the night of 30th April, 1976. According to the records, Mrs. Hatherley gave birth to septuplets that night: all girls, all of who survived a long and fraught delivery - and despite the fact that all seven daughters bore the stigma of the most horrible physical deformities which the attendant medical staff had ever seen.