Medieval Church Used for Modern Witchcraft

Essex, England, has a rich and diverse history when it comes to witchcraft. During the period from 1556 to 1589, being found guilty of witchcraft in Essex meant facing a grim fate—hanging.

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Astonishingly, Essex accounted for up to 60 percent of the prosecutions of supposed witches during that time.


Between 1570 and 1609, a total of 53 individuals accused of witchcraft in Essex were hanged, out of a larger figure of 64 executions across all the home counties. Colchester Castle, a favoured location for witch hunter Matthew Hopkins, served as one of the places where the accused were held.

Matthew Hopkins
Matthew Hopkins. Essex’s ‘Witchfinder General’.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, the castle housed over 200 women and men awaiting trial. Sadly, many perished while awaiting their hearings, and much of the evidence used against them was rooted in superstition.

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Among the eerie locations associated with Essex’s witchcraft history is St. Peter’s church in the village of Alresford, near Colchester.


Built around 1300 by Anfred de Staunton, the medieval church met a devastating fate when it was consumed by a fierce fire in 1971, leaving it beyond repair. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The ruins of the medieval church are said to be used for witchcraft to this day .(Image: Roger W Haworth)

However, the ruins of the church still stand today and hold a Grade II listed status. In the aftermath of the fire, a new church was constructed in Alresford town to replace the ruined one.

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Although the exact haunted history of St. Peter’s church ruins remains unclear, they have become a significant attraction for paranormal investigators.

Essex Ghost Hunters report that the ruins are believed to be actively used for witchcraft to this day. Numerous paranormal teams have reported encountering spirits within the ruins. Some of these ghostly entities are described as being relatively welcoming to those who explore the area, while others are said to be less hospitable.

The medieval church was burnt out in 1971. No one knows how the fire started.

The haunting and mysterious nature surrounding Essex’s association with witchcraft adds an intriguing layer to the county’s history. It serves as a reminder of the dark and often unjust times when superstition and fear fueled the persecution of those accused of practicing witchcraft.

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Today, the remnants of this history continue to fascinate and captivate both locals and visitors interested in exploring the enigmatic world of the supernatural.


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