Chanctonbury Ring

(redirected from Chanctonbury Hill)

Chanctonbury Ring

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

A tree-covered hilltop in West Essex, England, six miles north of Worthing, Chanctonbury Ring is the site of an ancient Romano-British temple and a hill fortress. For centuries the local residents went to the rounded hilltop to welcome the sunrise at Beltane. Doreen Valiente notes that those who were there to welcome the sunrise were undoubtedly pagans who had been out celebrating "in the woods all night, A-conjurin' Summer in!" (see Beltane). Today, many Essex Witches use the site for their rituals.

The hill is a prehistoric bank and ditch, the top of which was planted with trees in the eighteenth century. It is said to be haunted, and is the subject of local legends. One has it that the devil will appear if you walk backwards around the site seven times. He will offer a bowl of porridge, milk, or soup. If you accept it, he will own your soul. Another legend describes a headless horseman who gallops around the Ring as the May Day sun rises. An old, white-bearded man who might be a Druid is another ghost, supposedly searching for treasure buried on the site.

The Witch Book: The Encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca, and Neo-paganism © 2002 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.