“Hebden Bridge: The Fourth Funkiest Town in the World”,
was the description of this West Yorkshire market town in an edition of a British Airways in-flight magazine.
If there are three places funkier than Hebden Bridge, then I’d love to see them. (Apparently they are: Daylesford in Australia, Tiradentes in Brazil and Burlington in Vermont).
On one of our visits there last year, we’d hoped to take really striking photographs; we’d imagined reflections on the canal of brightly coloured narrowboats, framed by blue sky and and all that. A veritable photographer’s paradise.
However, it was raining, the water in the Rochdale Canal was greenish grey and the sky even greyer. None of this was at all unexpected or out of the ordinary as we are talking about a west-facing town high in the Pennine Hills in the North of England.
After a wander around the trendy shops and a lunch stop, the rain had lessened enough for a walk along the towpath.
I became fascinated with all the different things that people put on top of their narrowboats, never thinking that these photographs would ever appear in a post.
Everything from Bambi to a Bicycle:
From a Gro-Bag and a Duck to a Couple of Deckchairs and a Buddha:
As well as Pot-Plants and Firewood:
It’s snowing in the Pennine Hills today so Hebden Bridge will no doubt be shrouded in such low cloud that it disappears. Hopefully the ducks will have found a sheltered spot for themselves.
As soon as the weather perks up and realises that IT IS SPRINGTIME, we’ll have another day in Hebden Bridge. It’s less than an hour’s drive away.
Perhaps I’ll get the pictures I was hoping for last year…..
…….or perhaps I’ll just enjoy looking for quirky things and leave the classic calendar-type scenes to the professionals.
“The Witch is Escaping from her Grave! Quick, get a Boulder!”
Now, whilst these might not be the exact words spoken on that fateful day in 1705 when Meg Shelton, the Fylde Witch, escaped from her grave for the SECOND time, someone must have said something like it.
Meg Shelton, aka the Fylde Hag, aka the Woodplumpton Witch died in 1705 when she was crushed between barrel and a wall. She was buried in the churchyard of St Anne’s Church in the Lancashire village of Woodplumpton.
As Meg was renowned for having the ability to change shape at will, escaping from a grave might not have been too taxing a problem for her. Perhaps she changed into a worm and wriggled out?
She was duly reburied and…..yes…….our Meg escaped again.
The solution for her THIRD burial was to dig a deep and very narrow shaft, put her in it headfirst and seal it off with a large boulder. The worthy villagers reckoned that if she started digging when she was headfirst in her grave, then she’d go deeper and deeper.
Meg’s grave is Close to the church.
(I didn’t know that witches were buried in churchyards, but hey! what do I know? I’m just beginning my research. I certainly live in the right county as Lancashire is famous for its witches.)
Visitors to the churchyard often leave flowers on her grave:
I’d like to take some flowers next time I visit as I feel very sorry for this poor woman who probably just said the wrong thing to the wrong person……..unless of course she really WAS a witch.
There are many stories about her:
She transformed a jug into a goose to steal milk.
She frequently crossed the sky on a broomstick.
She was buried by moonlight .
An exorcism was performed by the local priest over her grave.
She had a strange relationship with the local landowner Lord Cottam who let her live rent free for life in cottage (Cuckoo Cottage) on his estate . Blackmail? Black Arts? Surrogate motherhood as his wife was infertile? All these explanations have been suggested.
Oh, and she made a lot of cattle lame.
For more stories about Meg the this website is well worth visiting: