Burnham has a number of ghost stories associated with it.

These tales are unverified, of course, but if you have any more local ghost stories, do feel free to send them in to the website editor.

The ghost of Creeksea Place

The beautiful and ancient pile that is Creeksea Place, May 2018. © Nick Skeens.

Built in 1569, Creeksea Place, off Ferry Lane, reputedly has a ghost in the south wing which reduced an unfortunate builder, some decades ago, to a state of catatonia – or so local children were told when they trespassed to play in the grounds during the 1970s.

The owners used to keep a candle-lit mask in the window to frighten the kids away. It worked! (The window was the one under the dormer you can see in the picture above).

Creeksea Place also lays claim to the ghost of Anne Boleyn.

The ghost of Tinker’s Hole

The northern entrance to Tinker’s Hole, May 2018. © Nick Skeens

In the pitch dark of a new moon, so the tale goes, about a 100 yards south of the s-bend (also known as Hellfire Corner), take care, for you may see a young girl in a white dress run out in front of you, trying to cross the road.

She was, reputedly, a gypsy child knocked down by a coach-and-four over a century ago. Her spirit still haunts Tinker’s Hole…

See also the Burnham Bends.

The witch ghost of Canewdon

The Church of St Nicholas, Canewdon. This landmark dominated the Crouch skyline for many moons, but in the summer is now pretty much concealed by trees. Photo © Sue Sullivan, July 2017

Canewdon Church, which is just visible on the south bank from the waterfront if you look to your right – it is marked by a hill with woods at the top through which you can glimpse a Norman church tower – is famous for being a centre of witchcraft.

Even now, it is said, it still has a coven of witches.

There is a tale that, one midsummer’s eve, a witch of Canewdon contrived to steal the bell from the the church of St Nicholas and drag it down the hill towards the Crouch, on Canewdon Reach.

She managed to get it over the seawall and was attempting to get it into a boat when the militia turned up. She rolled the bell into the water which, being upturned, floated, much like a cup.

She climbed in and paddled away from the shore with her broom, but the bell was too heavy and began to take on water. As she tried to bail, her gown became tangled in the striker and, as the bell sank, it pulled her down to the bottom of the river.

So, if ever you find yourself at anchor in Canewdon Reach below the church on a midsummer’s eve lit by a full moon, listen carefully and you may hear the ghostly clanging of the bell arising from the depths. That’ll be the sound of the old witch struggling to free herself from her watery grave…