Greuville storytelling tour on the trail of the WizardsGreuville storytelling tour on the trail of the Wizards
©Greuville, Tales from the Wizards' Square|© Zoe Tirilly

In the Land of Witches


Did you know?

The commune of Greuville, located near Luneray, is known in the region as the “Land of Witches”…

What explanation can be given for this curious fame?

Greuville, Land of the Wizards, why?

There are several hypotheses...


Shepherds and bonesetters

In the past, herds were plentiful in the area. Veterinarians on the other hand, were hard to find. Also the shepherds looked after their animals themselves. They thus acquired the reputation of being more or less “rebouteux”. Thus the population also resorted to them, to heal sprains or strains, and benefit from their knowledge on the virtues of certain herbs… from there to indulge in magic, there is only one step!


Weaving and smuggling

Another hypothesis would come from the fact that from the end of the 16th century to the end of the 19th century, the inhabitants of the village spun and wove at home. The influence of the weavers’ activity from the factories of the Saâne valley in Luneray extended of course to the neighboring communes, including Greuville. The workers of the factories in the valley sometimes managed to steal some of the yarn that was supplied to them and sold it clandestinely… This clandestine trade took place at night, apparently on the side of the Croix de Beauvais in Greuville. These night meetings soon became known as meetings of witches! And to keep away the indiscreet, there is nothing like maintaining this reputation!


Miseries and hassles

The register of the Fabrique Council of the parish tells us that Abbé Tourmente, who served the parish from 1822 to 1840 was the victim in Greuville of multiple “miseries and hassles.” The register then notes “At that time the first scenes of witchcraft took place, which followed one another for several years and which made this parish known today as the parish of the witches. What happened then?” It is not possible to transcribe here, prudence is against it” relates the same register. This great prudence does not allow to elucidate the mystery… Abbé Colombel, his successor in 1840, would also have been a victim of witches during the construction of his presbytery. Another fact that raises questions is the installation of a Jesuit brotherhood in Greuville, whose presence is remembered today by the Sente aux Moines, and whose mission was to convert the infidel or heretic population. The link is obviously made with the presence of witches…

The last wizard of Greuville

In their book Histoire de Greuville, Chapron and Gueville recount an encounter with the “last sorcerer” of the commune:

Retrieved from

“I knew the last sorcerer of Greuville. He was a good man, small, well-built, good-natured. He was the son of a shepherd. He lived on a small, well-kept farm and also worked as a groom (a groom was the one who castrated horses). He was known for his skill for miles around. He was also a veterinarian on occasion and a bit of a bonesetter. I was told by an old man of the village that in the past, he had indulged in certain practices of witchcraft and in some forgeries; history, old malignant, because it was to extract thus in kind or ringing cash with good too credulous people. Victim of a sprain, an old woman called him one day. He examines the ankle, feels it, sends the patient to bed and admits his embarrassment. Your condition requires care, I will come back with a more qualified colleague, but above all you must receive him well, prepare him a good meal, not disturb him for nothing’. After a fortnight’s rest in bed, having received the two bonesetters at her table with great generosity and paid for their services with a good plump chicken, the good woman went back to work and hired their services. On another occasion, a good woman also called him for help. She was awakened at night by strange noises and thought her house was haunted. I’ll say a prayer for you,” said our man. The old woman spent a few nights in peace, then the noises started again. So she called our wizard back. I suspected it a little, he admitted, you had taken a prayer not too expensive, this time I am going to get rid of it for good. The old woman was more generous and the noises stopped again. The three young men who were dancing in her attic to scare her left her alone. One last story: the victim is yet another old person who lived alone and thought she was being persecuted by her neighbor who wanted to take back the apartment she occupied under the same roof. The visit of the sorcerer was undoubtedly noticed by the whole village, and the neighbor thought it wise to stop his harassment. This is what we know about these witches.

Chapron and Gueville, History of Greuville