Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Horsingdon Transmissions No.119: The Witch Ring of Northwich Park

In the middle of Northwich Park - which largely serves as playing fields for the nearby university campus - stands this curious grove of trees. The interior of the grove is overgrown with briar, but within one can find the remains of a what was supposedly once a small neolithic stone circle - locally known as 'the Witch Ring'. The squat, jagged stones were vandalised by the Puritan witchfinder Willian Hobson during the witch-hunts which swept through Horsingon in the latter part of the 17th century; however, given the stones' speculated age, the site had presumably been used for ritual purposes at a much earlier period of the region's habitation by humans. Indeed, some resonance of the  site's neolithic use might be evident in the spectral figures reputed to haunt the copse on May Eve and All Hallows Eve: misshapen creatures cloaked in furs and animal skins, bearing crowns of antlers, and heard to cry out the Old Names of Those Who Wait in a guttural and barely-human tongue.

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