Brading (Isle of Wight)

The name of Centurion’s Copse, a wood on a hillside east of Brading, is a corruption of ‘St Urian’s Copse’, Urian being an eighth-century Breton saint to whom a small medieval chapel and well which once stood there had been dedicated. There was also a medieval mansion, destroyed some time in the sixteenth century. Inspired by the traces of these fallen buildings, there grew up the legend of a whole lost ‘city’ called Wolverton, which allegedly lies beneath the wood. It is said that an evil merchant (possibly the Devil in disguise) tricked the inhabitants into murdering an innocent pilgrim who had come to pray at St Urian’s chapel, telling them he was trying to poison the chapel’s holy well. The pilgrim’s blood dripped into the well, desecrating it; in consequence, the great cliff of Culver’s Ness collapsed into the sea, and Wolverton was burned to the ground. Thereafter, the cowled, grey-clad figure of the murdered man haunted Centurion’s Copse.



Haunted England : The Penguin Book of Ghosts – Written by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson
Copyright © Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson 2005, 2008

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