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Canewdon (Essex)

Canewdon shown within Essex
OS grid reference TQ900945
District Rochford
Shire county Essex
Region East
Constituent country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town Rochford
Postcode district SS4 3
Dialling code 01702
Police Essex
Fire Essex
Ambulance East of England
European Parliament East of England
UK Parliament Rayleigh
List of places: UKEnglandEssex

Coordinates: 51°36'58?N 0°44'40?E? / ?51.616231, 0.744367

Canewdon is a village in the Rochford District of Essex in England

St Nicholas Church
St Nicholas Church

The origin of the name is unclear. It is mistakenly believed by some to come from Canute the Great. The village is on a hill, and locally is claimed to be the site of an ancient camp used by Canute, during a battle during his invasion of Essex in 1013.

The 14th century church of St Nicholas, with its 15th century tower and porch, stands on a hill 128 feet above the marshes. The oldest part of the church is the outside wall of the north aisle which contains many Roman bricks, presumably from an earlier building.

There is much superstition around the village, believed to be a centre of witchcraft. Legend has it that while the church tower stands, there will always remain six witches in Canewdon. Local folklore also has it that if you walk around the church seven times (anticlockwise) on Halloween you will see a witch, and thirteen times you will disappear. Both these stories can make the village a popular destination on Halloween, to the extent that the police have been known to seal off the village to non-residents.

Whilst the church of St Nicholas stands full on Beacon Hill, Canewdon, it is said that there will be as many witches in silk as in cotton.

A lot of the folklore probably came from George Pickingill who, living in the village during the late 19th century, still apparently practised pagan rituals in the church grounds. The idea that something magical can happen from running about the church is probably an exaggeration of what scared locals saw the witch master and his nymphs doing 'walking the circle' as it is known in paganism.

Most of the village was built in the mid-Sixties, much to the old locals' dismay, and until recently there has been an "us and them" situation.

There are many ghost stories within the village, most again central to the church. The most famous ghost is the grey lady who reportedly floats down from the church's west gate towards the river Crouch. These stories often attract ghost-hunters and young curious people who can prove a nuisance to the village.

During WWII there was a radar station which has now fallen into ruin. It stands on a private property, where the remnant is now used as a stable.

It is about 2 miles from the River Crouch.

(Source: Wikipedia)
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