Sompting workshop on witches and monsters

WITCHES, fairies and monsters of the South Downs will be explored during a talk held by a local historian.

Sussex historian Chris Hare will be running a day workshop on the theme of folklore of the South Downs and Weald at Sompting Barn on Saturday, June 9. The day is supported by The South Downs Society and runs from 10.30 am to 4 pm.

Chris will be drawing on original documents and eye-witness accounts to draw his audience back to a time of superstition and ritual and anarchic celebrations.

He will also be discussing the importance of May Day, midsummer and Bonfire Night to people in times gone by.

Chris will also share the work of Charlotte Latham with the participants of the workshop.

Charlotte was the wife of the rector of Fittleworth, and in 1868 she set out to record as many as possible of the superstitions.

These included ghost stories, healing cures, and witchcraft beliefs of the local population.

In all, she collected some 200 different examples, many of which Chris will be including in the workshop.

People will be able to learn about the Nucker Hole dragon of Lyminster, the witch of Storrington, the fairies of the South Downs and the monsters of the Weald.

Another aspect of the day will be the old illustrations that Chris will be showing, which give vivid expressions to the written accounts, and he will be singing songs from the time.

The day costs £20, which includes tea and coffee, but participants need to take a packed lunch, and places can be booked via the South Downs Society on 01798 875073 Monday to Thursday between 9.30am and 1pm.