Posts Tagged ‘Witch’

The village of Hayfield was found first in the Doomsday Book under the name Hedfeld and was a natural clearing in the forest at the foot of the highest point in the Peak District, and the southern-most point of the Pennine Chain. It was a mill village from the 17th Century onward and the village is a popular place for walkers, and visitors to the Peak District. There are a couple of interesting little legends about the area which is why I have picked them for the blog.

There are two churches in the area, St Matthew and St John’s Methodist Church (the third was de-consecrated and currently in use as a library) and St Matthew has existed there since 1386. It was previously at Kirksteads and was not completed until 1405, it was then largely rebuilt in 1817/18 and the remnants of the building are visible in the church crypt. The St John’s Methodist Church dates from around 1782 and claims to be the 13th to have been built, and although the building has been added too, the four main walls are entirely original.

31st August 1745 Dr James Clegg, the minister of a Presbyterian Church at nearby Chapel-en-le-Frith, wrote to the Glossopdale Chronicle (local newspaper) reporting that “hundreds of bodies rose out of the grave in the open air” from the graveyard of St Matthews Church. They then proceeded to disappear leaving Dr Clegg to remark something that sounds rather Lovecraftian or Poe in nature “… what is become of them or in what distant region of this vast system they have since fixed their residence no mortal can tell.”

The village also had its very own witch; in 1760 Susannah Huggin sold wooden weaving pins and bewitching charms. An old sailor brought one of the charms and then shortly afterwards he disappeared, she was then discovered to be back in possession of the charm. The villagers blamed her for his disappearance; she was dragged in front of the George Pub and pelted with rotten fruit and stones, to the point at which she was almost killed. Later on somebody from the Tom Hey’s Farm then took the little charm but after a series of disasters, including milk not churning and animals refusing to eat, the charm was then exorcised by a reluctant Reverend Baddeley.

Hayfield Church 0158.JPG
By Clem Rutter, Rochester, Kent. – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7349638

A nightmare is a creature that rides on the chest of the victim while they sleep. The legend seems to be as old as the 13th century if not older. It is likely to have been born thanks to the sleep paralysis which people can experience.  Sleep Paralysis has been attributed to accounts for many things, such as incubus or succubus attacks or even ghostly attacks.

The mare was also blamed for horses who were found sweating in their stalls the next morning, seemingly the mare would hitch a ride on the horses back and that’s why they were found that way.  Some folklorists also suggest that they may well have been witches that took the shapes of various animals such as frogs, cats, horses, dogs and others. It is also said a dead “mora” will return as a ghost.

They are known as Moroi in Russia and they are either attributed to being a vampire or ghost. The Moroi is a ghost that leaves it’s grave and seeks out the energy of the living, however some are associated with the strigoi who are immortal vampires. It is believed that the Moroi might be the offspring of two strigoi parents. It may also however signify the death of an unbaptised child depending on the belief.

Germany has charms against such things and here is the one I found listed on Wikipedia.

  I lay me here to sleep;
   No night-mare shall plague me,
   Until they swim all the waters
   That flow upon the earth,
   And count all the stars
   That appear in the sky!
   Thus help me God Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen!
   Original German:
   Hier leg' ich mich schlafen,
   Keine Nachtmahr soll mich plagen,
   Bis sie schwemmen alle Wasser,
   Die auf Erden fließen,
   Und tellet alle Sterne,
   Die am Firmament erscheinen!
   Dazu helfe mir Gott Vater, Sohn und heiliger Geist. Amen!