The Frensham Cauldron – Frensham, England - Atlas Obscura

The Frensham Cauldron

St. Mary the Virgin's Church
Frensham, England

This cauldron was said to be hidden inside a church after it was borrowed from a local witch. 

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In the Surrey village of Frensham stands St. Mary’s Church within which you will find a great copper cauldron said to be used by a local witch. Though a church is perhaps one of the last places you would expect to find a witch’s cauldron, this may in fact be the reason for it being placed here.

Four miles southwest of the church, overlooking the ruins of Waverly Abbey, lies Mother Ludlam’s Cave. Once used by Mother Ludlam, a local white witch, the cave is said to contain a great stone that one could knock on and request an item you wished to borrow, being sure to also state when the loan would be repaid or returned. Following this request, Mother Ludlam would tell the visitor to come back on a given day, when they would find their request atop the stone.

The cauldron is said to have been borrowed this way, but when the loan was up, it was not returned. Upon this broken promise, Mother Ludlam is said to have been furious. In fear, the borrower hid the cauldron at Frensham Church, where it remains to this day.

A variation on this legend tells that it was Mother Ludlam herself. The story goes that she hid the cauldron in the church to prevent the devil from reaching it after he had stolen it once before, forming the local Devil’s Jumps hills in his escape. Despite the legends and folkloric locale, however, the cauldron’s actual past purpose was most likely more mundane, used as it was large enough to hold ale for all at village celebrations and feasts.

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October 4, 2022

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