The Ancient Mystery of an English Village

Beautiful Summer sunset landscape over low tide harbor with moor

Bosham is a village in West Sussex on the south coast of England. It is a place from ancient times, dating back to at least Roman times. Myths and legends are abundant. Old cottages cluster together, hugging the shore line, as they have for many hundreds of years. A timeless air hangs about the place.

Visitors are warned not to park alongside the sea as the roadway floods when the tide comes in. The dwellings nearest to the sea have concrete or metal barriers across doors and walkways to stop the incursion of the waves. Some offer small doorways, requiring visitors to step into the house.

Flood defence doorway on house. England

The passing visitor is left to wonder why the builders did not simply erect their dwelling places further from the sea. Why this hopeless effort to challenge Mother Nature?

Until one turns to history. A history imbued with ancient tales,  legends and magic. Stories passed from generation to generation in hushed tones over fires lit along the shoreline to see the ships safely home.

For Bosham was the home of King Canute the English monarch of the Dark Ages who legend tells ordered the sea to turn back. Some scholars argue that this tale shows only God himself has the power to command the seas, others that Canute believed the power of Kings sufficient.

Bosham saw the death of Canute’s daughter. By drowning.

Does the efforts of the old builders of Bosham to defy the tide mark the memory of an ancient King? Does Canute still stalk the waves of Bosham, his ghost in eternal battle with the great sea? Maybe. Just maybe.

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