A few hundred yards from Coventry city centre used to be a water well called Hobb’s Hole (or Hob’s Hole). The users of which used to elect their own mayor. The ceremony of which culminated in him being carried shoulder high and dunked in either the hole or the nearby river, which has since been culverted underground. The well has now gone and the site is right by a flyover. The site is now a Garden of International Friendship, which is certainly not a bad thing!
Old Nick’s Tree and the Mill Dam
Where Millenium Square is now in Coventry, used to be a lake. It was fed by the Sherbourne and Radford Brook. This reduced down over the years and became St Osburg’s Pool and later the Mill Dam, as it fed the nearby priory water wheel. The only memory of it now is the name of the nearby bus station: Pool Meadow.
The pool was haunted by various drowning victims from over the years. Where one side of the pool was, was where later the Smithfield Hotel used to stand, which was said to be haunted by an actor.
An ash tree called, Old Nick’s Tree used to stand nearby. It is said that some people in a nearby grammar school conjured him up one night, using incantations and markings on the floor. However as soon as he was conjured up, he jumped through the window and landed in the ash tree in question. The branches sagged with his weight and groaned horribly. So thereafter, on wintry nights, it groaned horribly unlike any other tree.
An interesting coincidence is that almost literally a stone’s throw away was an old well known as Hob’s Hole. Hob was a sort of nick name for the devil. So having two satanic sites so close to each other is a bit of a coincidence. A lot of things associated with the devil tended to be associated with different gods and goddesses in pagan times. The ash tree was sacred to the Saxon god Woden. So maybe both sites had pagan associations in centuries past.
Sources: “Haunted Coventry” by David McGrory. Page 32.
“Haunted Coventry” by David McGrory, pages 31 – 32
About the author
Gary Stocker graduated from Coventry Polytechnic in 1991 with a degree in combined engineering. He worked in civil engineering for nearly twenty years. For the last six years he has worked in materials science and currently works as a test engineer. His hobbies and interests include voluntary work, conservation work and blacksmithing. He is also interested in history, mythology and folklore and he says, “most things”.
How did your granny predict the weather? What did your great uncle Albert tell you about the little green men he saw in the woods that night? What strange creature stalks the woods in your area?
So many of these old stories are slipping away for want of being recorded. legendary creatures, odd bits of folklore, folk remedies and charms, and all the old stories that brought our landscape to life…
Tell me a story, share memories of the old ways that are being forgotten, share the folklore of your home. I am not looking for fiction with this feature, but for genuine bits of folklore, old wives tales, folk magic and local legends. Why not share what you know and preserve it for the future?
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put ‘Living Lore’ in the subject line. All I need is your article, bio and links, along with any of your own images you would like me to include and I’ll do the rest.