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Some more odd burials:

They may not be 'landscape legends', but just to show that tales of suicides and others being buried at crossroads or by the roadside are not simply folklore, we have the following historical reports from the region:

Ballingdon, Suffolk: The 'Ipswich Journal' of October 4th 1783 records that "a man named Hurwood, millwright of Ballingdon, took arsenic in a fit of discontent. At the inquest the Jury returned a verdict of 'self-murder', and on Sunday morning early he was buried in the crossway, with a stake driven through his body, near the pound on Ballingdon Hill".

Banham, Norfolk: A 70 year old labourer called Stephen Cutting drowned himself at was buried at a crossroads here, according to the 'Bury and Norwich Post' on April 18th 1821. This was perhaps the 'Deade Mans Grave' crossroads noted on a map of Banham in the 16th century.

Barrow, Suffolk: In the 'Bury and Norwich Post' of February 1st 1809 we find a report that a septuagenarian named Harriet Watson hanged herself and was "buried in the highway."

Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk: Again from the 'Ipswich Journal', but from July 31st 1779: "William Snell and John Carter for sodomitical practices to stand on the pillory at Bury - On Wednesday William Snell and John Carter stood on the pillory at Bury previous to which Snell took several doses of arsenic which he said he had kept for several years, it had no effect on him till he was being carried back to the gaol when it began to operate and he expired about 7 in the evening. The coronerís verdict was self murder in consequence of which he was to be buried in the Kingís highway and a stake driven through his body, Snell was severely pelted by the populace but Carter came through unhurt nothing being thrown at him the fury of the people having subsided".

I don't know the exact location, but the 'Ipswich Journal' of June 10th 1775 records another crossroads burial in Bury St. Edmunds. This one was a shoemaker named John Neal who hanged himself, perhaps due to financial problems.

"Buried in the public highway" was a gardener named Charles Bland, who hanged himself. This according to the 'Ipswich Journal' of January 6th 1810.

From the 'Bury and Norwich Post' on May 7th 1823 comes the tale of a suicide pact. What happened to her lover I don't know, but 19 year old Mary Gooch killed herself with laudanum and was buried at a crossways here.

Castle Camps, Cambridgeshire: The parish boundary meets Broad Street west of the village at TL608440. Here used to be the Barrack Tree, which marked the grave of George Miller, a man from Shudy Camps who hanged himself in Langley Wood. The parish registers note that he was "buried in the field near the highway in the bounds of the towne of Castle Camps, December 19th 1655."

Cawston, Norfolk: Deadman's Hill is the old name for a spot on the eastern edge of Cawston Heath. A man's body was once found there, with the responsibility for burial being disputed between Cawston and Marsham, into which parish the area extended. (See also under Cawston below).

Chignal St. James, Essex: At TL66860975, the Mashbury Road from Chelmsford meets the road to Chignal's church, where there is a small stretch of grass with a telephone box and an old pump on it. A well was being dug here in early 1898, when a human skeleton was found only a few feet below the surface. The archaeologist Robert Miller Christy, a local man, investigated at the time, and deemed it to have been the roadside burial of a female suicide.

Sources:

A. J. Wilkins: 'The Chignals 1888 to 1988' (Chignal Parish Council, 2nd ed. 1988).

R. Miller Christy: 'Re: evidence for a roadside burial of a suicide' in 'The Essex Review' Vol.VII (1898), p.119.

(Thanks to Rosemary Susan Hall for the information).

Ely, Cambridgeshire: "All ye that pass by pray to God to preserve and keep you from the crime of self-murder on which occasion this stone was erected in memory of John Layton 1799." This was the inscription on a stone raised over the burial-place, by the roadside, of a porter from Ely. He hanged himself in July of that year, according to the 'Cambridge Chronicle' of September 21st.

Fen Drayton, Cambridgeshire: John Ashby hanged himself and was buried in the road, as reported by the 'Cambridge Chronicle' of March 18th 1775.

Great Ashfield, Suffolk: An 18 year old named John Parsons hanged himself in 1795, then was "buried between the crossroads", says the 'Bury and Norwich Post' of December 23rd that year.

Great Thurlow, Suffolk: In 1731, the parish register records the burial of suicide Elizabeth Rawe at the threeways at Sowley Green (TL705509.)

Hempnall, Norfolk: Nobb's Corner is a crossroads at TM264939, where Hempnall and Topcroft parishes meet. It is named after a brick maker called Richard Nobbs, whose suicide in 1785 is recorded in the 'Norwich Mercury' on June 4th of that year. The skeletal remains of Nobbs' son were found half-buried in a ditch at Tasburgh, and being suspected of the lad's murder, he hanged himself in Pope's Wood. At the time, the crossroads was known as Sisland Cross, but after the 'self-murderer' was buried there it became Nobb's Corner, and sometimes, Nobb's Grove.

Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk-Hempnall

Hunstanton, Norfolk: In the churchyard just north-east of Old Hunstanton church (TF689420) is an oval mound 2.4 metres high, which once was thought to be an ancient burial mound, but which turned out to be a natural gravel deposit. In 1908 it was excavated, to reveal that a presumed suicide from the 18th or 19th century had been placed into it.

Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk-Old Hunstanton

Ipswich, Suffolk: The exact site is unknown, but a suicide was buried at a crossroads here in April 1792, according to the 'Ipswich Journal'. The man was due to be hanged for highway robbery at Ipswich Gaol, but instead hung himself the day before in his cell, and according to the newspaper was subsequently "buried in the crossroads with a stake driven through him".

Source: http://archiver.rootsweb.ancestry.com/th/read/SUFFOLK/2003-11/1068159165

Kelsale-cum-Carlton, Suffolk: The parish register of February 4th 1773 records the burial of Robert Balls at a crossroads on the boundary known as the White Cross.

King's Lynn, Norfolk: The 'Bury and Norwich Post' on October 12th 1814 records the burial "in the public road" of one John Saunders, a travelling bookseller. An attempted bigamist, he took his own life with laudanum.

Kneesworth, Cambridgeshire: Again from the 'Cambridge Chronicle', of November 20th 1779, comes the record that John Stanford was buried at a crossroads after hanging himself at the Red Lion inn.

Lakenheath, Suffolk: Another crossroads burial here from the 'Bury and Norwich Post' of October 29th 1800, this one of a man named John Watts, who hanged himself.

Lawshall, Suffolk: The 'Bury and Norwich Post' of March 26th 1788 reports that, after drowning himself in a local pond, William Bruce was buried "in the highway."

Litcham, Norfolk: A mention of "the three crossways where a man is buried with a stake driven through him" occurs in an 1815 road survey of this parish.

Source: Robert Halliday: 'The Roadside Burial of Suicides: An East Anglian Study' in 'Folklore' Vol.121, No.1 (2010), p.86.

Litlington, Cambridgeshire: A schoolmaster named Thomas Howard fatally shot a man, then cut his own throat, later being "buried in the crossway", according to the 'Cambridge Chronicle' of January 11th 1766.

Little Downham, Cambridgeshire: In 1808 a woman named Elizabeth Carter hanged herself, and was then "buried in the highway", according to the 'Bury & Norwich Post' of May 8th.

Littleport, Cambridgeshire: On August 16th 1806 the 'Cambridge Chronicle' noted that Jacob Sallis, one-time landlord of the White Hart in Ely, had hanged himself, and was buried in "the public highroad".

Little Waltham, Essex: When a road in this parish was widened in the 1950's, at a spot which used to be a crossroads, a skeleton was unearthed that had stakes driven through it. Adjacent was Witch's Field, though where it was and whether the name existed before the find, I don't know. This is apparently unconnected to the dubious tale of the witch of Scrap Faggots Green.

Source: R. Phillips & R. Bazett: 'Ages in the Making: A History of Two Essex Villages' (Poole & Sons, 1973), p.69.

Melbourn, Cambridgeshire: At TL378440 is the crossroads where Edward Neaves was buried in 1818. On December 21st  he had hung himself from a bed-post in his Melbourn lodgings, the inquest rendering the verdict of felo de se ('self-murder'). This was reported in the 'Chronicle' on January 2nd 1818.

Merton, Norfolk: Close to the Merton Stone is Capp's Bush, a spot where two tracks meet the course of Peddar's Way. The records of the Ordnance Survey show this to be the burial place of a suicide. Capp's Bush is recorded on maps as far back as 1794, but it's not known if Capp was the suicide's name.

Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk-Merton

Mildenhall, Suffolk: A young woman named Elizabeth Butcher killed herself with arsenic and was buried "in the king's highway", according to the 'Ipswich Journal' of March 18th 1809.

Monks Eleigh, Suffolk: Manorial records show that in about 1285, an inquest was held to determine where 'the damned' of the parish should be buried. The spot chosen was where a suicide named William Fant had previously been buried. Here also a woman and her cow had been burnt in a ditch for 'transgressing'. This spot was where the boundaries of Monks Eleigh and Lindsey, and where the boundaries of the Hundreds of Babergh and Cosford also met. If, as seems likely, this would have been at a road junction, then the only candidate would seem to be TL977462. If simply at the roadside, then only a hundred metres either side of this point is possible, along the bend in the road just south-east of Boyton Hall.

Source: Andrew Reynolds: 'Anglo-Saxon Deviant Burial Customs' (Oxford University Press, 2009), p.217.

Nayland, Suffolk: A spot called Horsecroft's Gate (possibly a crossroads) is mentioned in the 1599 parish register as the burial place, on November 29th, of a certain Robert Mylles, who hanged himself.

Newmarket, Suffolk: Another burial at a crossroads is noted in the 'Bury and Norwich Post' of November 25th 1784, but without mentioning the location. I'm grateful to Dr. Maureen James for pointing out another mention, this time in the 'Ipswich Journal' two days later, where the location is given as "in a cross road leading from Newmarket to Ashley". This burial was of a man named John White, a servant at the Ram Inn, who hanged himself. My guess is that this would have been at what is now the staggered junction at TL653629, where Cheveley Road and Ashley Road meet.

Norwich, Norfolk: "My father, who was a freeman of the City of Norwich, by apprenticeship, remembered, when living in St. Laurences', seeing a suicide carried past his house at twelve at night, to be buried at the crossroads at Hangman's Lane (outside St. Giles' Gate, c.TG224086). An immense crowd followed, to see the stake driven through the body".

Source: 'Norfolk & Norwich Notes & Queries', August 15th, 1896.

Another historical suicide burial in Norwich occurred at the junction of Dereham Road, Heigham Road and Old Palace Road in 1794. At the time, it was where Heigham Road and St. Benedict's Road crossed. In August of that year a local porter named John Stimpson hanged himself at the Bull Inn, and the coroner instructed that he should be buried "in the crossroads of St. Benedict's Road" (TG219090).

Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk-Norwich

The 'Norfolk Chronicle' of September 6th 1821 records that a skeleton had just been uncovered at the bottom of Bethel Street, which leads from Upper St. Giles to the market place in Norwich. It was said to be "laid exactly in the crossway of the roads", and was thought to have been "the body of a criminal who died in prison and was buried there."

 

Not necessarily at a crossroads, but "buried in the king's highway" was Susannah Gooch, who drowned herself in 1786. The event was reported in the 'Bury and Norwich Post' on March 29th of that year.

 

Oakington, Cambridgeshire: The 'Cambridge Chronicle' of June 18th 1768 reports that a man named Richard Cole hanged himself, and was then interred at a crossroads with a stake driven through him.

 

This may be the same crossroads (TL396630) where twelve skeletons were found in shallow graves in 1977. A rescue excavation was mounted when the crossroads was being turned into the Dry Drayton-Oakington flyover on the A14. A nearby field had long been known as Gallows Piece, with the gallows being maintained in the Middle Ages by Crowland Abbey.

 

Source: http://www.britarch.ac.uk/ba/ba25/BA25FEAT.HTML

 

Palgrave, Suffolk: An entry in the parish registers of Palgrave for December 30th 1587 reads: "Johannes Bungey sepultus in via", which translates as "John Bungey buried in the road".

 

Rattlesden, Suffolk: In about 1815, "it is said that a boy named Otterwell, aged from 14 to 15, hung himself, having been caught stealing beans. His body was dragged upon a slide to the place where the sign post is at the Water Run and there buried".

 

Source: Rev. J. R. Olorenshaw, 'Notes on the History of the Church & Parish of Rattlesden' (private, 1900).

 

Saham Toney, Norfolk: An unnamed suicide was buried in around 1790 at a crossroads here, where Bell Lane, Ovington Road, Cley Lane and Chequers Lane meet (TF907019). For some reason he had been pouring wine and beer into the river, was 'sent to Coventry' by the locals as a result, then killed himself!

 

Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk-Saham Toney

 

Sedgeford, Norfolk: Peddar's Way crosses the B1454 at TF722368, which is where at least two skeletons were uncovered with their skulls missing. As they were buried at a crossroads, it has been suggested that these were suicides, although there are other possibilities.

 

Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk-Sedgeford

 

Shotesham, Norfolk: According to records in a private collection, in the early 19th century a man who cut his own throat was buried at a crossroads here, with nails in his joints, bound with a chain, and with an oak stake through his heart.

 

Source: Neil Storey: 'Norfolk: A Ghosthunter's Guide' (Countryside Books, 2007), p.115.

 

Snape, Suffolk: Another crossroads burial from the 'Ipswich Journal' of January 16th 1819: this one of a young servant girl called Elizabeth Emerson, who took a reprimand from her mistress very hard and hanged herself.

 

Stowmarket, Suffolk: The 'Bury and Norwich Post' of July 15th 1784 reported that a 16 year old boy named Smith, after hanging himself, was "buried in the crossway and had a stake drove through his body."

 

Tunstead, Norfolk: There's no real evidence of a suicide burial here, but that has been suggested to account for the discovery in the 19th century of an 'ancient pistol' and a thigh bone beneath the "great ash tree at Tunstead".

 

Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk-Tunstead

 

Wetheringsett, Suffolk: In 1651, the skeleton of a 10 foot (3m) tall man was dug up from the road at the bridge (TM117669) in Brockford Street, on what is now the A140. This giant - which some thought to be a Dane, others that he belonged to the time of King Arthur - was buried in line with the road, with his head pointing towards Ipswich.

 

Source: http://www.foxearth.org.uk/blog/2005/01/brockford-giant.html

 

Wortham, Suffolk: Hanging himself in a hay loft, James Cooper was "buried in the king's highway", as recalled in the 'Ipswich Journal' of September 15th 1787.

 

~~~

Dead men tell no tales........

 

Although no stories seem to survive, the names of some crossroads, lanes or specific spots seem to indicate a burial of one kind or another:

 

Barsham, Suffolk: Graffer's Grave (TM399895), also called Close Corner, is where Hall Road meets the B1062, the road from Beccles to Bungay.

 

Barton, Cambridgeshire: Deadman's Hill (TL414558) is a spot now covered by houses and the A603 Cambridge Road, but there was possibly once a Roman burial mound here, and perhaps later a windmill. The site had been leveled by 1909.

 

Source: http://archaeologydataservice.ac.uk.pdf

 

Barton Turf, Norfolk: There is a place called Dead Man's Hole in Barton Broad, which some have suggested might mean that a prehistoric burial was found during the act of digging peat here.

 

Bassingbourn, Cambridgeshire: A spot called Dead Woman's Gate was once so-named on the ancient road of Ashwell Street, but there's no record of the name's meaning.

 

Beetley, Norfolk: A tithe map from 1842 records the area at TF961183 as being called Deadman's Close. Some have interpreted this as referring to a suicide burial at the nearby crossroads.

 

Source: http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk-Beetley

 

Benacre, Suffolk: A survey map of the manor in 1580 shows Deadmans Lane (now a part of Benacre Road) leading roughly from the current A12 to the boundary with Henstead parish.

 

Source: P. M. Warner: 'Blything Hundred' (PhD thesis, University of Leicester, 1982), Fig.52.

 

Benhall, Suffolk: Deadman's Lane runs north past the church towards Rendham.

 

Brancaster, Norfolk: A field east of the B1153 at TF783412 is known as Deadman's Close. It's possible that there was once a burial mound here, but nothing is visible now.

 

Cawston, Norfolk: A map of Cawston dating from 1599 shows Dead Man's Grave on the boundary with Haveringland, while 'Jone Metton's grave' was on the Marsham boundary; both were at the roadside. (See also under Cawston above).

 

Cockfield, Suffolk: There is supposed to be a Dead Man's Lane somewhere in this parish, but I haven't been able to locate it as yet.

Cockley Cley, Norfolk: Deadman's Plantation is a stretch of coniferous woodland just west of the village, on the road to Beechamwell. Also, a map of 1579 refers to "Dead man's grave in Lynn Way", probably the road that heads north towards Narborough.

Colchester, Essex: Dead Lane, sometimes called Deadman's Lane, used to run north from St. Peter's Street towards the river. It was renamed Factory Lane in the middle of the 19th century, but no longer exists.

Colne, Cambridgeshire: Deadman's Hill is at TL364768, basically a gentle slope just west of the B1050 Somersham Road.

Combs, Suffolk: The Combs/Battisford parish boundary runs along Deadman's Lane, near the little hamlet of Moats Tye.

Cromer, Norfolk: A deposition record from the 16th century speaks of a place called "the dead woman's grave" here.

Drayton, Norfolk: Bugg's Grave (TG190145) is a crossways on the border between Drayton and Horsford.

Drinkstone, Suffolk: Deadman's Lane at Drinkstone is now a footpath linking two roads, to the east of the village, and is possibly a lost part of the Roman Peddar's Way.

Elveden, Suffolk: In the 16th century, there was "a place called the deade man" here.

Great Bentley, Essex: Dead Lane runs north-east from Hollybush Hill to South Heath, more than a mile south of the village.

Great Dunmow, Essex: The Deadman's Lane here may have gained its name from the 17th century pest house which stood there.

Hilborough, Norfolk: Dead Man's Hill (also known as Man Hill) is a Bronze Age barrow at TL848960.

Hildersham, Cambridgeshire: Although no longer on the maps, there was apparently once a Deadman's Hill between Furze Hill and Sand Hill, just east of the village.

Horsford, Norfolk: Deadman's Grove is featured on an 1817 field map at TG201131 beside Reepham Road, heading out of Norwich.

Hunstanton, Norfolk: Lambert's Grave (TF688407) is a former crossroads marked on maps of the 18th and 19th centuries, at the southern edge of Hunstanton Park, and is presumed to be a suicide burial.1

Various undated pits and bones were found in the 1970s at a spot known in 1623 as Deadman's Grave, now in the grounds of a school at TF676400.2

Sources:

1. http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk/Lambert's Grave

2. http://www.heritage.norfolk.gov.uk-Deadman's Grave

Irmingland, Norfolk: A field called Deadman's Hill has been noted here.

Kelvedon, Essex: Deadman's Hill is recorded as a field name here, close to the boundary with Coggeshall.

Laxfield, Suffolk: Deadmansgrave Lane is a track forming part of the boundary between Laxfield and Fressingfield, and meets the B1116 road at TM278744.

Linton, Cambridgeshire: At a crossroads somewhere along Balsham Road there used to be a spot called Nan Saxby's Grave, mentioned in a boundary perambulation of 1761.

 

Source: Robert Halliday: 'The Roadside Burial of Suicides: An East Anglian Study' in 'Folklore' Vol.121, No.1 (2010), p.86.

Little Cornard, Suffolk: The 1842 tithe map mentions 'Dedmans hill field' in this parish, which would have been on the hillside overlooking the river Stour, not far from Grasmere Farm. Suggestions have been made that there might have been either a gallows or a burial mound here.

Little Gransden, Cambridgeshire: The northern boundary of the parish follows an old single-track road now called Primrose Hill, but once known as Deadwomen's Way. It was apparently named in connection with a spot called Deadwomen's Cross, in the north-east of the parish.

Little Waltham, Essex: There is or was a field called Deadman's Field on Great Stonage Farm beside the A131 north of the village. The parish registers of the 18th century record that "a stranger dyed at Jn. Smith's Stonage", but whether that has any connection, I don't know.

Newton Flotman, Norfolk: 1n 1768, the rector of this parish recorded walking Dead Man's Lane as part of his perambulation of the boundaries.

Paston, Norfolk: A crossroads called Deadman's Grave (TG305324) in the parish of Paston, just north-east of North Walsham. The Norfolk Historic Environment Record says there's no trace of a barrow here, and the name probably derives from some roadside burial.

Ringstead, Norfolk: Dead Man's Grave was a point on a 17th century map showing the boundary between Ringstead and Thornham.

Spexhall, Suffolk: Deadman's Grave (TM396809) is where two country roads cross a little north of Halesworth, and form the parish boundaries of Spexhall and Westhall.

Stoke by Clare, Suffolk: Between Blacksmiths Hill and the A1092 runs a track/footpath by the name of Deadwoman Lane. At one time there was a house called Deadwoman Croft beside it.

Stowlangtoft, Suffolk: Yet another Deadman's Grave here, this time an area of ancient woodland between the parish boundaries of Hunston and Norton.

Syderstone, Norfolk: "Dead man's grave" was a spot here used as a marker when forming the boundary of an outlying 'breck'.

Upper Sheringham, Norfolk: Dead Man's Hill at TG129431, between the A149 and the sea, is a small promontory of land that suggests there may once have been a burial mound there.

Walberswick, Suffolk: A meeting of tracks on the heathland west of Walberswick is called Hangman's Cross (TM467747), and nearby is a wood known as Deadman's Covert.

Wetheringsett, Suffolk: From Deadman's Bridge (TM122693), Deadman's Lane runs south to Five Cross Ways.

Wisbech, Norfolk: Love Lane used to be called Ship Lane, and before that, Deadman's Lane. Beside it there used to be Deadman's Pond.

Writtle, Essex: St. John's Road in Writtle was once called Deadman's Lane.

Finally, I'll mention a slight tale that I've come across from only one source, and whose location seems difficult to pin down. It may be that it's a modern bit of urban folklore, existing only on the web, but I'd be remiss if I didn't include it:

Ipswich, Suffolk: There is supposed to be a spot known as the 'Seven Sisters', not far from the Orwell bridge, where the seven eponymous siblings allegedly committed suicide together, being buried in a nearby graveyard. It's now said to be one of those places where 'scary' things happen, and people won't go there alone after dark. No one has come up with exactly where it is, but one suggestion was that it's the 'Seven Sisters Interchange', the A14/A12 northbound. The trouble is, that's actually called 'Seven Hills'....

Source: http://theshadowlands.net/places/uk.htm