The Ghost of Nan Tuck is the haunted legend about an accused witch from England still haunting the woods; she, according to legend, was killed by the villagers chasing her down. Now she is haunting the place she was killed on.

The parish of Buxted in southeast England looks quaint and peaceful enough today if you don’t know its bloody history. The rural parish is green with farmland and woodlands stretching out to the coast. But between the green trees, there is a haunted legend from darker times still haunting the woods.

Nan Tuck is a ghost that is said to haunt the village of Rotherfield in Buxted, England. The story goes that she was a woman who lived in the 17th or possibly 18th century and was accused of poisoning her husband.

The Witch Hunting in England

Nan Tuck was sentenced to death by hanging as the punishment for murder as well as witchcraft was in England. But before she could be executed, she escaped and fled into the woods to escape punishment. Whether she actually did murdered her husband or not is never really discussed or how the trial was. In any case, she was guilty in the public eye and fair game to all.

Read more about witches like: The Legend of the Witch Moll Dyer or The Witches of the Black Diamond Mines

The public not only believed she was a murderer, but a witch on top of it. This was a time were the fear of witches was at an all time high in Europe and it is estimated that as many as 30 000 – 60 000 people were executed between the 13th to 18th century. In England there is estimated that around 500 were convicted as witches, 90 percent of them women. In England they didn’t burn the witches, but they hanged them.

Many of these deaths had no records of them, and we can see this with this story, that has no written records of it whatsoever, and solely relays on oral tales throughout times. This is what the legend of the Ghost of Nan Tuck tells us.

Nan Tuck’s Escape Into the Woods

The Ghost of Nan Tuck is the haunted legend about an accused witch from England still haunting the woods; she, according to legend, was killed by the villagers chasing her down. Now she is haunting the place she was killed on.
Nan Tucks Lane: Heading through Solomon’s Wood. Named after the Ghost of Nan Tuck who was chased down this lane by the irate villagers of Buxted who believed she was a witch. // source

The whole village rallied and started to chase the wicked witch and murderer down in the woods. For days Nan Tuck evaded them by hiding in haystacks, climbing hedges and sneaking around in the woods to escape certain death.

Read More: Haunted Forests across the world

It is said that she was attempting to take sanctuary in Buxted Parish Church known as St Margaret’s Church– according to the right of asylum, fugitives were allowed to escape punishment by touching the altar of a church if they were able to reach it – when local officials who were in pursuit forced her into the woods, and she never reached sanctuary.

Nan Tuck disappeared that night and was never seen again – alive. According to some versions of the tale she was caught up by the angry villagers and it was them who murdered her. In some versions she was killed in the woods, in others, she was taken back and they held a trial by water.

The trial by water was a highly deadly method of finding out whether or not someone was a witch by dunking them in water to see if they floated or sank. And with so many other women accused of witchcraft, she drowned during the trial, which ironically meant she was not a witch as the holy water didn’t repel her, causing her to float like a witch.

The Ghost of Nan Tucks Lane

The legend of Nan Tuck is one that has been told ever since. Sometimes the Ghost of Nan Tuck is depicted as a young woman, sometimes as an old one. It is said that her ghost can be seen wandering the woods near Rotherfield at night.

Legend holds that a circular patch of land in the woods near Nan Tucks Lane, were she supposedly tried to escape through, stays infertile and no vegetation will grow there. And the question if the Ghost of Nan Tuck really was a witch, still remains to this day.

Read more about: Haunted Roads across the world

So if you are walking down Nan Tucks Lane late at night and meet someone, perhaps hide and duck as it might very well be the Ghost of Nan Tuck coming for you.

The Nan Tucks Lane poem by Roy Carnon

Whether there really was a woman behind the legend is also a bit uncertain. But the legend of the Ghost of Nan Tuck haunting the woods has made into songs and poems, like this by Roy Carnon:

The new moon older by a memory threw this sinuous line down and round Poundsley way.
Following feet that trod the centuries across the weald – deepening contoured tracks unknowing.
The way imprinted to Hadlow, Framfield, Buxted, – on to Blackboys, cruciform neeting, pointing the fingerpost of death.
Following feet – feet following years crushed harsh in grass; tearing the flowers wond – gaping raped petals laid cold on the lane.
Congealing tar concealing blood, the shape of your agony lays still on bruised grass still on earth maimed by you fall. Tear-blurred, memory retreats beneath track-patterned clay but a Sussex lane remembers.

More like this

Newest Posts


Buxted – Wikipedia 

Nan Tucks Lane – The story of the Ghost

1 Comment »

Leave a Reply