The Romsey Nuns
Another legend is that of the Romsey nuns, who, on fleeing from the Danes, came to Wherwell Abbey, but before reaching there they got lost in the woods and many of them died from exposure and starvation.
The small field adjacent to the Churchyard on the west side, is so described by the Rev R H Clutterbuck in 1898. There is a ritual significance in mazes, both as protection against the supernatural and as a path which the dead must follow on their way to the world of spirits. In medieval times certain mazes were constructed under ecclesiastical patronage, formed in tiles at the place of worship, or built in or near churchyards.
The Churchyard and nearby fields are white with snowdrops in the early spring. Monasteries used these bulbs as medicaments in the middle ages. It is quite possible that the nuns cultivated them in their herb gardens, the destruction of which now results in a delight to the eye every February.
Seen by some in Wherwell Churchyard. Jeanne Nolder who produced these notes in 1980, suggests they be accounted for by the lights reflected from glow-worms in the mists rising from the water meadows. (Glow-worms can still be seen of a mild midsummer night in Wherwell gardens and on the neighbouring Chilbolton Common)
The rebuilding of the Church in 1856-58 caused many grave and other stones to be removed. Some were replaced close together in the Churchyard, others incorporated in the new Church or the surrounding walls. One dated about 1747 forms a small landing at the top of the belfry steps.
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