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Saturday, May 07, 2005

Cromwell's Curse

Missing! | About Cromwell's Curse | The Northampton Witches

About The Curse

One of the most infamous postcodes in Northampton, England is NN1 2TE. It belongs to Cromwell Street.

Cromwell St

This street is now demolished.

On that street shadowy things go bump in the night. Houses have burned down to the ground under mysterious circumstances. People have disappeared down its dark road never to be seen again. Passers-by say the wind drops as they hurriedly walk past the old site and that no animal will venture past into the street.

More recently people have begun disappearing with their last whereabouts being reported as Cromwell Street.

Almost everyone in Northampton knows why. It is due to what locals call Cromwell's curse. Legend has it that because of the site's violent history, it has been cursed and some Northamptonians believe that the street has now been hijacked by cults that follow the black arts, such as witchcraft and demonology.

History of Northampton: Key Events - Torture of WitchesIn 1612 five women and a man were executed for witchcraft in Northampton. They were known as the Northampton Witches, and it is reported that they were hanged on the very site that is now known as Cromwell Street.

Ironically, the story goes that Oliver Cromwell one of the country's most puritanical and controversial political figures, and whom also the street is named after, came down from his home in Huntingdon to view the trials himself and was witness to the brutal hangings in 1612 when he was only 13.

It is said that the witches put a curse on the place and on all whom witnessed the hanging that day on 22 July.

In 1634, exactly 22 years to the day after the executions a plague swept through Northampton and over 500 people were recorded to have died. The plague began in the area now known as Cromwell Street.

In 1675, exactly 63 years after the hangings the Great Fire of Northampton devastated the town centre, destroying about 600 buildings, including All Saints Church in 6 hours. Three quarters of the town was destroyed and 700 families were made homeless.

People talk of rumours that say Oliver Cromwell was also a "victim" of Cromwell's curse. The English military leader and politician who after leading the overthrow of the British monarchy ruled England, Scotland and Ireland as Lord Protector from December 16, 1653, was constantly affected by warts all over his face. His death and burial are also areas shrouded in mystery. He is believed to have died from poisoning but historians are not certain and to this day no one knows for sure where he is buried.

Oliver Cromwell 1599-1658
Oliver Cromwell 1599 - 1658

His final resting place still remains a mystery.

Recently new sources have added a darker dimension to Cromwell Street's already strange ancestry. Archaeologists from Northampton's Nene University have discovered that the earliest evidence of human settlement in the town may possibly not be Briar Hill as previously thought, but somewhere close to the situation of the witch hangings which occurred there some 6,000 years after. Excavations around the area suggest that the Neolithic encampment was probably used as a religious centre although none of the discovered stone idols are recognizable as known Gods.

Heading the team of diggers, Professor Dean Glaston has had to delay excavations however due to sudden illness.

Where is Cromwell St?

Cromwell St now frequented by the occult. Cromwell St now frequented by the occult
Cromwell Street, or what remains of it, lies in the heart of the town centre in Northampton. It is said that the curse is the main factor for Northampton repeatedly failing to gain city status and remains one of the largest towns in England.

Cromwell St
Sources:
  • Northampton Main Library
  • Northampton Town Archives
  • Abington Museum, Northampton
  • History of Northampton at Northampton.org.uk
  • Witches and Witchtrials in England, Channel Islands, Ireland & Scotland, Marc Carlson
  • A History of Witchcraft (Sorcerers, Heretics and Pagans) - By Jeffrey B, Russell
  • The Encyclopaedia of Witches & Witchcraft - By Rosemary Ellen Guiley
  • The Geography of Witchcraft - By Montague Summers
  • The Encyclopaedia of Witchcraft and Demonology - By Rossell Hope Robbins
  • Matthew Hopkins - Witch Finder General - By Richard Deacon
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