Chanctonbury Ring

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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.
References in periodicals archive ?
TV presenter Jeremy Clarkson is a member of The Chanctonbury Ring, which owns Digger Gets Lucky, but the Top Gear supremo was not on hand to see the eight-year-old make a winning return to action in the 2m3f handicap chase.
The 26-minute Sonata of 1920, arguably the Knest British piano sonata of that period, is given a toweringly powerful reading, with Bebbington racking up the tensions most persuasively, particularly in the emotionally wrought slow movement and atmospheric Finale (apparently inspired by a visit to the Chanctonbury Ring hilltop in Sussex.) The 1929 Ballade is just as moodily expansive, reJecting the anguish of the composer's disastrous short marriage to one of his young students.
Mais led 16,000 people out onto the South Downs one morning to see the sun rise over Chanctonbury Ring; but it was cloudy.