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Vernditch Chase North

Long Barrow


Two similar versions of the story, from Edith Olivier / Margaret Edwards' "Moonrakings - A Little Book of Wiltshire Stories" (c1920).

"Some time, before the memory of living man can definitely fix, a suicide was buried [here].. Legend has it that a girl from Bowerchalke, finding life too sad, drowned herself in a well near the churchyard.," the lane by the well being called 'Skit's Lane'.
"No bird is ever heard to sing there [at Kit's Grave]."
This version, told by Mrs John Butler, seemed confused as to whether the girl was buried there because she was a suicide and required unconsecrated ground, or whether it was because no parish would claim her (even though she'd specifically mentioned Bowerchalke!) so she was buried where three parishes met. Whatever, the theme of the weird nature of 'boundaries' clearly comes through.

The second version (p74) tells that "An old gypsy woman who used to frequent the Chalke valley was found in a well near Bowerchalke church. It was thought she had committed suicide, so she was taken and buried at the crossroads at night, with a stake through her heart. An avenue of trees leads to the spot, and no bird is ever heard to sing there. (This is indeed a very weird, eerie spot)."

Rather extreme measures (stakes through the heart at midnight) but I suppose you can't have these dead people wandering. I wonder whether there is any significance in the well being near the church: is it too much to read into it that it was a holy well? An inconsiderate and strange place to pick to kill yourself in.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
6th September 2005ce
Edited 6th January 2016ce

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