The Tale of Betty Potter
At the time of the First English Civil War (1640s) witch fever invaded the area some extreme Puritans denouncing innocent women largely because of their Catholic beliefs.
Matthew Hopkins, a failed lawyer from nearby Manningtree set himself up as the local Witchfinder General.
Hopkins and his associates sent many innocent women to their deaths and 19 condemned witches were hanged in one day in Chelmsford.
Boxted had its own witch, Elizabeth (Betty) Potter who lived in a small cottage on the Colchester Road near what is now known as Betty Potter’s Dip.
Betty Potter is reputed to have cured the sick daughter of a wealthy Colchester merchant for which she was richly rewarded and also to have bewitched a team of horses pulling a wagon of wheat from Rivers Hall (one of the two Boxted Manor houses) to the mill at Mile End, towards Colchester.
The son of the Lord of Rivers Hall organised a group to seize Betty Potter and they hanged her from a nearby tree, much to the chagrin of Hopkins who was preparing to bring Betty Potter to trial.
Hopkins sought to reclaim the body when he saw Betty Potter descend from the tree and disappear leaving all her clothes behind her!
Betty Potter’s ghost is said to appear at midnight on 21 st October every year.
( ‘The Boxted Book’ by Douglas Carter.)