Fye Bridge holds a terrible and brutal history. The current structure was built in 1933 and is regarded as the oldest known bridge site in Norwich. It stands where the original wooden bridge would have laid—the earliest reports of which were in 1153.
In the mid-1600s, East Anglia found itself in the throes of the witch trials, headed by the infamous Matthew Hopkins and John Stearne. During this time, many people, mostly women, were tried and killed for allegedly partaking in witchcraft. Fye Bridge is said to be the site of the ducking stool, a contraption into which an accused witch would be placed and dunked into the River Wensum below.
Water was considered so pure an element that it repelled evil, so if a woman survived the ducking, then she was a witch. If the woman drowned, she was innocent of witchcraft, though unfortunately dead. Prior to Hopkins’ witch hunts, the ducking stool at Fye Bridge would have been used as a punishment of humiliation for “disorderly women” and “dishonest tradesmen.”
Today, Fye Bridge is said to be home to the ghost of a woman who was tried on the site and later burned for witchcraft at the nearby Lollard’s Pit, which is now the site of a local pub. According to those who have seen her, the ghost is dressed in rags and begs strangers to help her pick up a dropped bundle of sticks that was used to kindle the fire that killed her. Beware, helpful citizens, for they say if you do, you will die in a fire within the year.