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4 Oct: The Devil at Swanton Morley

Whistle and he will come to you…the tower of All Saints at Swanton Morley can be seen for miles – even, it seems, from the depths of hell.

Does the Devil visit All Saints at Swantom Morley? CREDIT: © John Salmon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

In 1950, amateur archaeologist and folklorist Leslie Valentine Grinsell spoke to a villager, Charles Lewton-Braine, who informed him of a story passed down through generations: he told him that legend had it that if you wanted to see the Devil, you should run around the church at midnight and then whistle through the keyhole, at which point Satan would appear. You could also summon the dark lord by whistling through the grille that peers into the crypt under the chancel after circling the church at midnight.

This practice is known as circumambulation and there are other examples of the legend in Norfolk, including at East Somerton (circle the tree that grows through the ruins at St Mary’s and a witch will appear if you whisper her name) and at Great Yarmouth’s St Nicholas’s Church, the face of a princess is said to materialise if you circle the church three times shouting “Bloody Queen Mary”. A warning: the police may well appear if you try this theory.


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