I visited the site of the Gallows, one windy day in April, armed with nothing but a modicum of psychic protection and my trusty phone to take grainy pictures of the site. At times the wind was so strong the phone was rocked as the winds tried, unsuccessfully, to rip it from my grasp.
If you’ve read part one, you’ll know that summat was up…
At the time, I just blindly carried on.
My visit to the strange little public park where the Gallows were once sited, down at Boughton, not far from Barrel Well Lane and St Paul’s Church was over, but the lane down behind the memorial to Gorge the Martyr called me.
Barrel Well Lane.
I’d been reading Roy Wildings, excellent little book, morbidly entitled, ‘Death in Chester’ (recommended to me by Charley of The Mystic Masque). So knew that the lane was on the way to the site of St Giles’s and thought I’d take a gander.
This whole bank of the river Dee has large, impressive houses built on it (except for the site of the Gallows… ) and walking down the lane I could see why it was marked as a private road; many impressive doorways lead off it, into expensive homes. But it was St Paul’s, towering above that was the most impressive!
Part of St Pauls from Barrel Well Lane.
St Paul’s from Barrel Well Lane.
I retraced my steps up Barrel Well Lane…
…noting as I climbed back up to the busy road how my sense of smell had returned to its usual nothingness – as I stopped by the monument to George Marsh, it struck me for the first time, that the sickly sweet scent, with an underlying aroma of death, might not have actually been in the air at all, but come to me through the veil … But I swept that thought aside, convinced I had done enough to stop ‘anything’ getting through that shield I’d put up around me!
Turning right, past the monument, walking on a short distance, I spotted the fork in the roads, mentioned in the book along with the water fountain, Victorian I should imagine and for one short moment I hoped there was water still in it…
No, it was dry, no doubt caped by Elf n Safety or Environmental Health for unsanitary reasons. Disappointed to say the least, it had occurred to me that a water source here would be an excellent resource – but that was not to be.
Resigned I walked on around the wall, wondering where the graveyard would be. The book gave an indication, but no photos. It turned out I was walking next to it.
A raised round(!) wall about four or five foot high – a sign perhaps of a pagan site?
St Giles’s Graveyard.
Who knows, but no way in, other than to clamber up the wall, something I didn’t really want to do that day…. On reaching the main road again, I found the wall plague pictured.
St Giles hospital and Chapel, was founded by Earl Ranulph III of Chester (1181-1232) as a refuge for the lepers of the area. It’s exact site being on the crossroads where the old Roman road forks. Today, the black and white building pictured behind the graveyard, sits on the very site.
Today, only the graveyard remains, the hospital (which gave the area the name Spital) and Chapel being raised to the ground during the Civil War of the 17thC. It was outside of the city walls, and therefore could have been used by the opposing army, so it was destroyed in 1643 as a preventative measure.
So this was the place poor George’s supporters bought his remains. I shuddered at the thought of his death, and hoped there was someone there to put his soul to rest – the wind whistled around me, not as strong as it had been, but though I didn’t want to admit it then, it seemed to say he was not at rest at all… Quite the opposite in fact if my recent dream was anything to go by.
Since then, musing on the events that have followed this visit, I remember a discussion with David Furlong once. A group of us were considering helping a Soul to move on, and the subject had moved onto the faith that Soul had held in life. David explained that they would be in purgatory if that’s were they believed in life, especially if certain rituals, such as the last sacrament, were not performed. I wondered where George had expected his soul to go when he died that fateful day in April 1555… If he was considered a martyr, would the living hold his soul to the place of his death?
I also considered the conversations I’d taken part in on the Traditional Witchcraft group on FB; about a soul, either the first or last person buried in a graveyard becomes the sites guardian… Could George, the Martyr, be one of these restless souls?
There is a local tale, which I read about in Roy’s book, that the street by St Giles’s was cobbled (paved) with the skulls of Welshmen, killed in the Welsh Wars, by a Normal Earl.
Truly, this seemingly innocent spot of Chester, had seen some awful times.
My ‘visit’ over, I took the opportunity to window shop in a few antique shops along the way, to earth myself, and muse over the events.
Little did I know how this ‘visit’ was to affect me over the next few days! But I unexpectedly decided to take a few more photos at the Gallows Hill park, but from the road… I think this could have been when ‘something’ followed me home… In retrospect, I could feel it, tagging along until I got to the canal bridge, where I stopped and mentally performed a banishing on the brow, while looking to all and sundry, I was just enjoying the view… Then I moved on (on more than one level) and returned home.
So the situation is ongoing – my research into those that died at that spot continues, and the synchronous events also.
It is worth a mention, as I intend another ‘visit’ and subsequent post about it, that witches have been hanged there. At first, I thought it might have been them who were calling – not poor George. But he was the one who has come through the strongest, and there we are. These things often turn out so very differently to what we hope, or expect!
These witches, were they witches at all? Somehow I doubt it, but it is interesting to note that two of them were from Rainow.
Rainow?!? I hear you cry – well yes, indeed, so what you may think – but if I tell you that Rainow is very close to Thursbitch, then you might indeed understand… If you don’t then read on. For those of you who do, you can skip the next paragraph!
About two years ago I became obsessed with Thursbitch, a short novel by Alan Garner, based around the real life valley (not far from Rainow), the strange events there and the even stranger death of a young man who froze to death on Christmas Eve. A stone marker on the road side marks the spot he was found, and the strange fact that a single footprint made by a woman’s shoe was found in the snow besides him. But it was the valley that entranced me so. I shall leave a link for you to follow the trail yourself, Dear Reader, for it is a fascinating place, that seems even to this day, to be alive … Full, of mystery and mysterious goings on.
So in 1656, three women were hanged as witches. They were found guilty of bewitching a woman to death. Their bodies were cut down and taken to St Mary’s Church, near the Castle, and buried in the ditch there.
(Note, the Shrine of Minerva is across the other side of the river, and Mary, is often revered as a Goddess would have been… all parts of the paper chase)
I doubt their souls are at peace at all, innocent or guilty! But they deserve a few flowers from yours truly, as does George himself.
After living in so many different places, and experiencing so many different levels of spirit communication, I can, with some brevity, say, for certain, this place named Deva, (Goddess) by the Romans who founded it ‘speaks’ nay ‘shouts’ as loudly as the open reaches, and wild places of Orkney…
Now there’s a surprise!
Or is it…?
The whole saga lies under the mantle of the Queen of the Crossroads, Keeper of the Keys, and She who watches over the liminal place between birth and death, Hekate!
She, who is so old, that no definite source for her can be found – heck, even the Greeks knew she was older than the Titans!
My experiences with her, my UPG (unproven personal gnosis), are marked by a particular ‘feeling’ – a sense of Her. Dark, huge, all encompassing! I’ve felt this in various places, of various ages, including a burial chamber on Orkney…
She is older, and far more known, than modern scholars can trace – and as She is mentioned in the Scotish Play, would have been known during the time periods of both George and the three witches, tho’ I doubt George would have paid her much heed, unless she came to him at the moment of his passing in the flames and took his soul as one of her own?
Who knows, but I think there’s work to be done with him in the future.
Exactly what this will entail, I can’t say, knowing how these things rarely turn out as I expect…