In the 18th century Sir Godfrey Haslitt, of Bastwick, Norfolk, owned a fortune and a large estate but had himself no wife.
So the King of that time, King George, decided to rectify this situation by introducing him to one, Lady Evelyn Montefiore-Carew of Kings Lynn.
She was in the market not only for a husband but also a fortune.
Lady Evelyn’s mother, determined that her daughter should have Sir Godfrey, sought the help of a local witch in making a love potion, which she herself administered to Sir Godfrey during his attendance at a hunting party at Kings Lynn.
The local witch had refused any form of monetary payment for the potion but had made Lady Evelyn’s mother swear that, if the potion worked, then whatever payment the witch asked for would be given. To this Lady Carew had foolishly agreed.
Sir Godrey duly proposed to Lady Evelyn and the date of the wedding was set for the 31st May 1741 and took place with a great deal of pomp and ceremony in Norwich. The bridal party then returned to Bastwick for the reception. However, at the reception as the clock struck midnight, the gates of the hall burst open and there, framed in its doorway, stood a skeleton. Ignoring the screaming guests the skeleton rushed over to where the young bride stood clasped in her new husband's arms and grabbed her up in its bony limbs.
The skeleton then rushed out of the hall, still holding its victim, into a waiting coach which was drawn by four coal black horses. As Sir Godfrey and his astounded guests rallied themselves and raced out in pursuit, the coach set off in the direction of Potter Heigham. Sir Godfrey’s last view of his virginal bride was her young pale face pressed against the glass mouthing entreaties whilst the skeleton sat behind her, its bony arms wrapped around Lady Evelyn and her bridal gown.
It is assumed that a pursuit was made by some of the guests and Sir Godfrey, as the account goes that upon reaching the bridge at Potter Heigham, the coach collided with the wall. It then burst into flames and tumbled into the River Thurne its ill-fated passenger still inside.
This then was the payment that the witch had demanded for her potion.
Now it is said that on the anniversary of that fateful day any locals, foolish enough to be in the vicinity of Potter Heigham Bridge at midnight, will hear the sound of horse’s hooves and the scrunch of wheels on the road. As the skins on their scalps tighten and rivers of ice course down their spine, a fiery coach comes into view careering at a great speed. It then hits the bridge and plunges into the water of the river below before vanishing.