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Community Centre / Methodist Chapel, Black Horse Drove, Fenland

History of Black Horse Drove

Enid Porter in Cambridgeshire Customs and Folklore, p181, recounts:

W H Barrett recalls that his uncle, a builder, secured the contract in 1897 for erecting a Primitive Methodist Chapel at Black Horse Drove. One day he sent his nephew, then aged 6, with his elder brother to the knacker’s yard to buy a horse’s head. When the two boys returned with it they watched the workmen dig the trench for the foundations and then saw their uncle carefully mark the centre of the site by driving into the ground a wooden stake. The men gathered round while the uncle uncorked a bottle of beer, then the horse’s head was placed in the bottom of the trench, the first glass of liquor pored from the botle was thrown on to it and, when the rest of the beer had been drunk, the men shovelled bricks and mortar on top of the head. It was explained to W H Barrett that this was an old heathen custom to drive evil and witchcraft away.


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