|The banks of the Ouse|
Rodmell is a village by marshes on the edge of the river Ouse, which winds its way from Lewes to the sea. Nowadays the marshes are well-drained farmland, but back in the 18th century they were treacherous, boggy and prone to fog - something a bad-tempered local miller learnt to his cost.
It seems the miller had a long-standing disagreement with the local vicar over the night-time ringing of the church bell, which the miller said kept him awake. Neither pleas nor curses would stop the vicar's nocturnal campanology, so the miller decided to up the ante and consult a witch.
|A horned cow on the marsh|
Certainly the bell wasn't silenced. Many years later, one evening when a fog crept in from the river, the miller became lost on the marshes as he was travelling home to Rodmell from Lewes. He was very glad to hear the bell then, as it guided him safely home. The next day he gave a gift of money to the vicar to pay for a second bell and apologised for his earlier anger.
However, according to folk tales, it was the Devil who had the last laugh. Perhaps the miller's cash and apology were not enough to save him, or perhaps the Devil was angry at being snubbed, but after the miller died it is said his ghost was doomed to remain forever lost on the marshes. And he is still sometimes seen there today when a cold, thick fog creeps in from the Ouse.
|View over Rodmell marsh|
Here are links to my previous ghost walks in Sussex: