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Church Hill, Crowborough


There is a siting legend associated with The Church of St John the Evangelist, whch was consecrated on 31 July 1839. The orignal site that was chosen is said to have been to the West, on Church Hill near Friar's Gate. As with other siting legends the stones would be moved each night and positioned in the current spot. On 23 December 2011, in an article entitled 'Ghostly goings-on in the forest and beyond', the Kent and Sussex Courier gave the following account of a ghost tale from this area.

'CHURCH HILL climbs from Friar's Gate towards King's Standing and the high plateau of Ashdown Forest, revealing the deep valley of Crowborough Warren as height is gained, until the road succumbs to the all-embracing shade of Five Hundred Acre Wood.

By day, it is a view to remember.

By night, the lights of Crowborough seem far distant and for those who have read Boys Firmin's first guide to the district, published well over a century ago, another memory may surface.

Mr Firmin was a hard-headed barrister, but he could not resist including some of the legends he heard from old inhabitants.

Among them was the tale of the smuggler who literally lost his head in an encounter with gamekeepers of the Warren.

His headless ghost was said to haunt Church Hill by night, vainly searching for his lost contraband by the light of a lantern.

There may be a link with another eerie tale, that of a headless horseman who gallops down the hill through Friar's Gate and Lye Green – and vanishes.

Mr Firmin suggested that marsh gas, or ignus fatuus, might account for the ghostly lights seen on Church Hill.'


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