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A Bend in the Road: from Kitnocks Hill to Betty Potter’s Dip

October 6, 2012

I was intrigued to see in the latest Fortean Times (FT 294, November 2012, p.21) Alan Murdie’s report on Betty Potter’s Dip, a stretch of road near the Essex village of Boxted said to be haunted by the ghost of a witch – Betty Potter – who committed suicide. This small dip appears to be situated on a pronounced bend in the road, marking the terminus of a long stretch of straight road named, appropriately enough, Straight Road.  I’m starting to think that such kinks and curves in roads are a recurrent feature of places which are either haunted or have numinous associations.  Betty Potter is reputed to appear at midnight on October 21st much as a Hampshire ghost, Kitty Nocks, haunts a length of road over Kitnocks Hill at midnight of the full moon (https://thegrammarofmatter.wordpress.com/the-enchantments-of-kitnocks-hill).

The bend in the road at the top of Kitnocks Hill. Kitty Nocks was drowned in a pond in the triangle of land formed by this junction of roads, an area she still haunts.

Likewise, both hilltop and dip are distinguished by a sudden bend in the road and tragic tales of suicide. I suspect this is a regular locative pattern of such hauntings, themselves the shadowy overhang of localised goddesses or ‘supernatural beings’ venerated at these places.  Though I know of no associated legends or hauntings, a dip and bend on the A30 Stockbridge Road just north of Sutton Scotney at Cranbourne, invites speculation as to whether it too has something more in common with the haunts of Betty Potter and Kitty Nocks (https://thegrammarofmatter.wordpress.com/2012/06/15/the-cranbourne/).

A bend and dip in the A30 Stockbridge Road – an old drovers’ route – just as it passes a medieval moat (behind the stand of trees in the left foreground) and site of a 14th/15th-century chapel at Cranbourne. This tributary of the Dever springs up a short distance away before flowing under the road.

This spot certainly shares its waterlogged quality with Kitnocks Hill, I wonder if the same can be said of Betty Potter’s Dip? And to whom would the chapel have been dedicated?

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