Is this some kind of April Fool?

People who were in the vicinity of the former Southgate Town Hall early this morning have mentioned that something unusual seemed to be happening - there was a distinct buzz of activity.  One of our sources was told that when demolishing an internal wall workers came across some sort of old manuscript and that a Mr Goole got in contact with the Council to report the find.  However, when we tried later this morning to talk to the people working on the building, they seemed very reluctant to say anything at all, and enquiries with the Council have yielded no information.

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Someone from the Palmers Greenery has told me that this is something to do with Broomfield Park. I guess we'll hear something after the Easter break, if it is indeed a 'thing'.

More information about this intriguing local history story has now been revealed - with the first photographs of a mysterious historic document revealed on the Palmers Green Jewel in the North Website

The document looks very odd to me.  I would be amazed if it were genuine.  For example, paragraph 3 starts: 'The efforts of the good people of Winchmore Hill to trap them [the witches] on the island of the Grovelands Lake failed'.  But the Friends of Grovelands Park website explains that the lake is artificial, designed at the same time as the house c1800, and that the estate was not named Grovelands until some 40 years later.  As the whole subject matter of the document is about a 'terror' and the killing of various witches, it is completely implausible that this happened in the mid/late 19th century.  The reference later to the Lake of Broomfield also sounds bogus.  It is obvious to anyone who visits Broomfield Park that the lakes there are artificial and probably constructed in the 18th or 19th centuries. It was also standard for nouns to be given an initial capital pre-19th century, but this is done only in a very inconsistent way here.

The document is interesting, but more for when and why someone produced this forgery than for any other reason.  My guess would be someone having some fun at the time the Town Hall was built, which I guess was in the late 19th century.

You spoilsport Michael!!!! We've been round Groovelands this morning with a crucifix round Hastings collar and my pockets stuffed full of garlic.

Hi there, totally agree with Michael that this document is 'not quite right', complete (April-fools related?) hokum even...  Looks like 20th/21st century text written with a pen to me!


My son did a big local history project a few years back which I helped with - it was live on the Improving our Place web site for a long time although that seems to have slipped away to wherever old web sites die to. I don't recall reading anything of this but I do remember comments in a few books about legends of witches in W Hill, those and smugglers. Towards the north east side by memory, something to do with marshy land between there and Epping.

It is of course nearby Edmonton which is really famous for witches. 

The story hasn't gone away - @PalmersScream is now live and tweeting about our spooky borough. The Enfield Haunting will be broadcast this Monday on Sky at 9pm. #EnfieldHaunting

Copies of the mysterious document - and a spooky handbill have this weekend appeared on the wall at Baskervilles Cafe on Aldermans Hill ... You can read the deciphered text of the document on a dedicated website to explore this and other locally related phantom phenomena:

A creative writing competition for children in Years 4,5 and 6 has been launched as part of the Palmers Scream project. First announced in the Enfield Advertiser, details of how to apply are available on the Scream web site

The closing date is at the end of this school term so anyone who wishes to enter should put their creative hats on now and get writing!

Judges will include multi-book children’s author Alex Woolf, Professor Owen Davies, a specialist in folklore, witches and ghosts and Dr Jennifer Young, an author and senior lecturer in creative writing. All three, plus others, will be taking part in the award ceremony scheduled for September.

The competition is one of many responses to the Old Manuscript found in Southgate Town Hall as the Palmers Green community seeks to hold at bay the threat from an Ancient Terror. The original manuscript, together with a handbill found alongside it, are now on display in Baskervilles Tea Rooms on Aldermans Hill.

At this stage no agreement has been received to also display the Broomfield House witches bottles due to their terrible history, outlined in a video on the Scream web site. It is hoped competition winners will be given this opportunity – at their own risk.

Great Prizes announced for children writing a spooky story for Palmers Scream

If you are 8-12 you can win a prize by writing a scary story about your area. Whether about the Bogwarts of Bounds Green, the witches of Winchmore Hill, the spookiness of Southgate, apparitions of Arnos or the phantoms of Palmers Green, we want you to create a story that we will all enjoy!

 Your story should be:

  •  no more than 1000 words

  •  set in a place around here

  •  submitted by the end of this school term

Prizes for the winners:

An invitation to Baskervilles Tea Shop to attend a Spooky Story extravaganza, including:

  • The real truth about ghosts and witches by Professor Owen Davies, academic expert from the University of Hertfordshire

  • Story reading by Children’s Author Alex Woolf

  • Story reading by Author Martin Jenkins

  • Why the winners won by Dr Jennifer Young, prize winning author and lecturer in Creative Writing

  • Local spooky tales and artefacts introduced by local legend Ralph Hutchings

4 tickets for Jay Walks led unique tour of the Spooky Tales sites by Blue Badge holder and local historian Joe Studman.  

Free Venture Photography Family Photography Experience - valued at £150, including the option to be photographed with the old manuscript or handbill

Author and illustrator signed copy of the Spooky Tales of Palmers Green book

Winning stories will be highlighted on the Palmers Scream web site

Winning stories will also be considered for inclusion in the Scream at Halloween extravaganza in Broomfield Park with the support of drama group Playing Space

It may also be possible, subject to official approval being obtained, for the winners to see the witches bottles discovered in Broomfield House before the great fire


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