Introduction

Hi and welcome to my site.
Cheshire is full of weird and wonderful stories of the supernatural, local heores and the mysterious.
I will take you on a tour as I look deep into the Cheshire that lies underneath the wonderful countryside and find the secrets that still hide there.
What magic and long lost secrets will we find?
So, sit back and enjoy my journey. This is a land of Magic, Knights, Dragons, Wizards, Witches, Boggarts, Murder, Ghosts and Old Forgotten Knowledge.


I would love to hear your stories as well. So if you have anything you would like me to look into and find information out, please let me know.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Jack the Ripper


JACK THE RIPPER

Everyone knows the story about this man who kiled prostitutes in Whitechapel and surrounding areas in London. The dates vary from about 1885 - 1892ish.
The Ripper myth has grown over the years but there is a connection with this area.
In fact there are two, one from Liverpool and one from Lymm.

BESSIE AND GEORGE CHAPMAN

George Chapman was born as Severin Antoniovich Klosowki in a Polish village of Nargornak on December 14th, 1865. He trained as a Surgeon and completed his studies in Warsaw. He moved to London during the early part of 1887.
After two marriages, fake marriages and many women he lived with, George(as he was known now) met Bes
sie Taylor. But little did she know that some women in his past had died. They married(another bogus marriage) and ran a pub, The Prince of Wales in Barthalomew Square.
Bessie soon became ill, some say from the beatings she took at the hands of George.
They moved out of London but came back in 1901 and leased The Monument Tavern.
Bessie grew worse and on Valentine's Day 1901, she died. Cause of death had been exhaustion from vomiting and diarrhoea.
George tried to kill another"wife" soon after but was arrested by Inspector Godley on October 25th 1901.


But where is the Cheshire connection?

Bessie was the daughter of Cheshire farmer, Thomas and Betsy Taylor.
Her body was brought back to Lymm and buried in a hillside cemetery with her family. The gravestone had her surname removed and re done so there is no reference to her husband.

During George's trail, Bessie's body was exhumed and it was found to contain large amounts of metallic antimony in her body.
George was charged with three counts of murder. He was hung at Wondsworth prison on April 7th, 1093.

Inspector Abberline had always believed that George Chapman was Jack the Ripper.

George Chapman must have visited Cheshire, so over 100 years ago did we have Jack the Ripper walking amongst us?



JAMES MAYBRICK (Oct 25th, 1838 - May 11th, 1889)

My second story comes from just outside Cheshire, from Liverpool.
James Maybrick was born in Liverpool and was a cotton merchant.
He travelled to America regularly and in 1871 he settled in Norfolk, America to establish an office there. In 1874, he contracted Malaria which was
treated with drugs containing arsenic. This resulted in him becoming addicted to this drug for the rest of his life.
In March 1880, James returned to Liverpool and during this six day trip, he met Florence Elizabeth Chandler. He was 42 and she was 18. They married in St James Church, Piccadilly, London and then moved to James's family home Battlecrease House, Aigburth, Liverpool. They had two children, a son and daughter. It was an unhappy marriage and they both had affairs. James also travelled a lot through work.
James's health deteriorated in April 1889 and he died on May 11th 1889.
An inquest was held and found that he had died of arsenic poisoning. Suspicion fell on Florence and she was found guilty but as I have already said, James had become addicted to arsenic. So could he have overdosed himself?

In 1992, The Ripper Diary appeared and it claimed to have belonged to James Maybrick. It takes credit for killing the 5 Ripper victims and 2 more.

Did Jack the Ripper come from Liverpool?

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

King Arthur.




King Arthur and The Knights of The Round Table.

The Arthurian Legend runs the full lenght of the country.
I will cover the Cheshire area but there are so many interesting tales connecting King Arthur, his knights, Guinevere, Merlin and The Holy Grail from Wales and Shropshire. That I will continue the story to cover these areas as well.
King Arthur's Knights were the best of the best. They were fair and of the highest honour. They followed a strict code which included .----
- Never take up battles in wrongful quarrels for love or worldly goods.
- Never lay down arms.
- Defend the weak and good.
- Give one's life for your country, King and Lord.
- Fight for the safety of your country.
- Never break your faith.
- Grant hospitality to anyone in need.

No one can agree on how many knights King Arthur had. They range from 13 to 1,000. I have listed the names that crop up time and time again.
- King Arthur
- Sir Galahad
- Sir Lancelot du Lac
- Sir Gawain
- Sir Percivale
- Sir Lionell
- Sir Tristram de Lyones
- Sir Gareth
- Sir Bedivere
- Sir Bleoberis
- Sir Lucan
- Sir Palomedes
- Sir Lamorak
- Sir Bors de Ganis
- Sir Safer
- Sir Pelleas
- Sir Kay
- Sir Dagonet
- Sir Alymere
- Sir Mordred
King Arthur not only had the country's best men at his side but his wife, Guinevere and his wizard, Merlin.

Mythical weapons and treasures are also associated with Arthur, like his sword Excalibur.
These were called The Thirteen Treasures of Britain.

DYRNWYN
The blade of this sword would burst into flames in the hands of a noble man but nothing would happen in the hands of the unworthly.
THE HAMPER OF GWYDDNO GARANHIR
Whatever food was placed in it, it would increase 100 fold next time it was opened.
HORN OF BRAN GALED
This served whatever drink you wanted.
CHARIOT OF MORGAN MWYNVAR
This transported its owner anywhere they wanted to go, very quickly.
HALTER OF CLYNO EIDDYN
Tie this halter up and wish for any horse you want. This would appear the next day in the halter.
KNIFE OF LLAWFRONEDD FARCHAWG
This would carve for 24 men at a meal.
CAULDRON OF DIWRNACH THE GIANT
This only boiled water for a brave man.
WHETSTONE OF TUDWAL TUDGLYD
If a brave man used this to sharpen his sword, it would kill any man it was used on.
COAT OF PADARN RED COAT
This would only it a nobleman
CROCK OF RHYGENYDD
This cooked only the food you liked best.
DISH OF RHYGENYDD
This served the food you liked best.
GWYDDBWLL BOARD OF GWENDDOLAU
This gold chess board with silver pieces, would play by themselves when set up.
MANTLE OF ARTHUR
Whoever wore this cloak, turned invisible.
You may of heard of slightly different versions of each of these and by different names. Items like these appear throughout history.

Now we will move onto the area's associated with Arthur.

CHESHIRE.

Alderley Edge.
This is where Merlin lived and watched over Arthur and his knights while they slept nearby.

Wincle.
Lud's church is where Sir Gawain killed The Green Knight.

WALES.

Llyn Llydaw, Snowdonia.
King Arthur and his knights sleep here in a secret cave. Excalibur lies in the waters nearby.

CASTELL DINAS BRAN, LLANGOLLEN.
Resting place for the Holy Grail.

BASHERTON POOLS, PEMBROKE.
These lakes are said to be home to the Lady of the Lake who gave Arthur his sword.

CRAIG-Y-DDINAS, PONT NEDD FECHAN.
These caves are another resting place of King Arthur.

NANTEOS HOUSE, ABERYSTWYTH.
This house is said to have housed The Holy Grail hidden there by Arthur.

BARDSEY ISLAND
Merlin is said to have hidden the 13 treasures of Britain here, in a glass tower.

CAERLEON.
One of the sites for Camelot and Arthur sleeps nearby.

BRYN MYRDDIN, CARMARTHEN.
Known as Merlin's Hill. Merlin is kept prisoner under this hill. It is also known as Merlin's place of birth.

CEFYN BRYN.
Arthur is said to appear in full armour when its a full moon and emerge from under a stone (known as Arthur's stone) and walks toward Llandrhidian.

DINAS EMRYS.
A lord wanted to build a tower. When building started on Vortigern's Tower, it collapsed. He asked the Druid's why this happened and they told him to sacrifice a boy. A young lad was bought but this lad said that the tower fell because two dragons fought beneath the ground in a stone chest. This lad grew up to become Merlin.

ANGLESEY.
Arthur sleeps in a cave on the coast. This is also said to have been Avalon.


SHROPSHIRE.

OSWESTRY.
A nearby hillfort is said to have been owned by Guinevere's father, Gogyrfan.

THE WREKIN.
The fort of Cuneglasus (Arthur's son).

MUCH WENLOCK PRIORY, MUCH WENLOCK.
King Arthur's Crown Jewels are hidden here.

CAER CARADOC, NR CHURCH STRETTON.
The 13 treasures of Braitian are hidden here and it is also said to be Avalon.

MITCHELL's FOLD STONE CIRCLE.
Arthur is said to have drawn his sword from the stone here.

WHITTINGTON CASTLE.
This castle was build by Pain Perevil, who was married to Lynette the granddaughter of the Welsh Baren Cadfarch (a direct descendant of Owain Ddantgwyn, Arthur).
It is also a hiding place of The Holy Grail, which was hidden in the Chapel.

HAWKSTONE PARK.
This place has ben linked with The Holy Grail.




Information on Arthur and some of the key people in his legend.

Arthur
.Son of Uther Pendragon and Ugraine of Cornwall
.Married Guinevere
.He led the defence of Britain against the Saxons in the early 6th century
.Pagon
.He creats an Authurian Empire by conquesting Ireland, Orkney Islands, Norway, Denmark and France
.Whilst defending the Roman Emperor Lucius Tiberius in France, he hears that his bastard son, Mordred(whom he had left in charge of Britain) had told everyone that he had died, married Guinevere and seized his throne. He returns and finds out that Guinevere had also had an affair with Lancelot. He fights his final battle with Mordred. Mordred is killed by Arthur but Modred mortally woundes Arthur and he is taken to the Island of Avalon to die
.Arthur passed his crown to Constantine

Guinevere
.Daughter of Leodegrance of Cameliard
.married Arthur
.had an affair with Lancelot
.put on trail for treason, found guilty, put to the stake but rescused by Garth

Lancelot
.Son of Ban of Benwick and raised by The Lady of the Lake
.He was loved by Elaine of Astolat but he didnt love her and she died of a broken heart. Before she died she tricked him into sleeping with her and from that Galahad was born
.Lancelot loved Guinevere

Modred
.Arthur's bastard son by his half sister Morgause(wife of King Lot)
.Traitor to his father
.kill's Arthur

Galahad
.Son of Lancelot and Elaine of Corbenic(or Astolat)
.Best known for achieving the quest for the Holy Grail

Gawain
.Son of King Lot of Orkney and Morgause(Arthur's half sister)
.Mordred's half brother, Arthur's nephew
.Fights the Green Knight

Gareth
.Son of King Lot and Morgause
.Modred's brother, Arthur's nephew
.He was killed by Lancelot when he rescuses Guinevere from the stake

Kay
.Hot tempered and sharp tongued
.not liked by the rest by loyal to Arthur

Tristram
.Nephew to King Mark of Cornwall
.He fell in love with Isolt(King Mark's bride and Queen). They had an affair

Perceval
.one of The Grail Knights

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Gentleman Higgins, The Highwayman.


This gentleman was of good birth and took up residence in Knutsford, Cheshire around 1756. What he had done before and where he was born is uncertain. But what we do know is in 1754, he was convicted of housebreaking in Worcester and sentenced to transportation for seven years. Shortly after he arrived in Boston,America. He stole a large amount of money from a house of a rich merchant and bought himself a passage back to England. This happened within a few months of being in the country. He lived in Manchester first, then moved to Knutsford. He bought 19 Gaskell Avenue. Then met Katherine.
Edward Higgins married Katherine Birtles on 21st April 1757.
He lead people to think he was a member of the gentry and rode hounds with them and even owned several horses. He claimed that he had property in various areas.
Edward and Katherine had five children.

But this was not his true career. He was in fact a burglar. He used his charm and charactor to make friends with higher class people. Edward and his wife would dine with their neighbours and friends. He hunted, fished and shot with them. This enabled him to be fimiliar with the layout of their homes, so that he could come back later and take their personnel things at a later date.

Edward was also a highwayman. He rode the road between Knutsford and Chester. He told his wife that he was out collecting rent from the various properties.

Time was starting to catch up on our gentlman highwayman. He rode out on one of his rent collections but went to Carmarthen. He was caught after breaking into a house and was identified as an escaped prisoner. He was sentenced to death. He tried to get out of it by handing over a fake offical pardon. But this did not work and the authorities realsied that it was a forgery. Edward must have loved his wife and children because after being sentenced to death, he wrote " I beg you will have compassion on my poor disconsolate widow and fatherless infants, as undoudtedly you will hear my widow upbraided with my past misconduct. I beg you will vindicate her as not being guilty of knowing about my villany".

Edward Higgins died on the gallows at Carmarthen on 7th November 1767.
There is a plaque on his house explaining who he was.

Some say that in the dead of night, Edward Higgins can still be seen riding his horse through the streets of Knutsford still searching for a house to pay a visit to or off on one of his highway visits. Is he still looking for coaches to stop?

Friday, 10 October 2008

Gold in Beeston Castle

Beeston Castle is over 700 years old. It was built in the 13th century by Ranulf de Blundeville, 6th Earl of Chester. It was first used in anger during the Civil War. It was garrisoned by 300 Parliamentarian force. It was taken in 1643 by a Royalist captain and only 8 men who scaled the walls and opened the gates. The Royalists held it until 1645.
In the 18th century, much of the castles stonework was used to build causeways in Cheshire and the hill was heavily quarried.
It has been protected by English Heritage since 1959.

But there is a tale that there is a secret store of gold and treasure hidden deep under the castle.
This fortune was placed there by King Richard ll. It was his personnal fortune of 100,000 marks in gold coins and 100,000 marks in other precious objects. There is a document from the 16th century which suggests that some of the priceless artifacts included a gold quadrant in a leather case, a white helmet of St George, white hart brooches, cups and jewellery.

The story is that Richard ll stored his treasure in Beeston Castle before leaving from Chester to Ireland in 1399 (the year of his death) and he hid the treasure in the well. This well is 360ft deep and has a number of passages leading off it.
When Richard ll returned from Ireland, he was taken prisoner and thrown in goal at Flint Castle by the forces of Henry Bolinbroke, the Duke of Lancaster (later Henry lV).
The garrison at Beeston surrendered and Henry stole the treasure.

Many people have tried to find the treasure and see if it is still at Beeston. But as yet nobody has. There has been at least two attempts into the well in 1842 and 1935. What seemed to be three possible passageways were found at 339ft and it is believed that a forth passage is at 350ft.

So, is it possible that the treasure could still be there, hiden away in the lower passage or has it been stolen years before.
Could it be possible that there was no treasure at Beeston and the story was told as a ploy so the real hiding place for the treasure would stay hidden.

The Devil in Winsford.

The Devil has been very busy in Winsford. I am not saying that the people off this area are bad, far from it. Read these two tales and you will understand what I mean.

Over Church.

Over is a small district in Winsford and the church was ubder the control of Vale Royal Abby. The story is that the church was taken from the Abbey and carried off by the Devil. The monks prayed and cursed but failed to stop him. Suddenly, the Abbey bells pealed and the Devil was forced to drop the church as he was scared by holy music. The Abbot and his monks called upton St Chad (to whom the church was dedicated) to save the building and so it landed safely on the spot it is now.


The Franciscan Friar- Father Francis.

Imagine a Friar Tuck of Robin Hood stories. This Friar enjoyed his food and wine.
As he was eating his bread and cheese by the River Weaver, a voice called out
"Hows your appetite?"
It was the Devil and he wanted the friar's soul.
"Promise me whatever I want and it's yours" said the friar.
"Done" said the devil.
So the friar said his three wishes. He wanted good food and wine for the rest of his life. Perfect health and good company. His last wish was that the devil had to pick one dozen hay bands from Marton Sands and nowhere else. For he knew that no grass grew there.
The story goes that the frair got his wishes and he lived a good and happy life but the devil is still searching for his hay. His soul had been saved.

The Wizard of Alderley Edge.


This area is steeped in history about King Arthur and the Wizard, Merlin.
King Arthur and his army is said to sleep in a cave beneath the sandstone cliffs, waiting for England to need him again.
This area also has a well with a carving of a bearded face above it and the words "Drink of this and take thy fill, For the water falls by the wizard's will. The date of this carving is unknown.

The local legend is that in the late 17th century, a farmer was on his way from Mobberley to Macclesfield Fair to sell a fine white mare. As he crossed the sandstone cliffe called Alderley Edge, he came accross an old man with a long white beard and strange clothes.
This man asked if he could buy the horse but the farmer refused. The old man smiled and said "Do as you please but you wont sell your horse at Macclesfield and this evening you will sell the horse to me".
The farmer went to Macclesfield but could not sell his horse. He returned back the way he came and was greeted by the same old man in the same place. The old man said "Follow me" and lead him to a large rock. The old man touched the rock with his staff and two large iron gates appeared and he lead the farmer and his horse into the cave.
Inside the farmer saw sleeping knights and their white horses. The old man gave the farmer a pile of gold and explained that one of the knights did not have a horse. The old man said
"Thrice England shall be lost, thrice won.
Twixt dawn of day and setting sun.
Then dabbled wings shall ravens toss
Croaking over bloodstained Headless Cross".
In short, when England needed there most brave soliders, King Arthur and his man would wake.
The farmer left the cave and ran out. He turned round but all he could see was the rock, no gates or men.

The Headlless Woman, Duddon, Nr Tarporley.

This is not a tale of just Grace Trigg. But I have found two headless woman who roam this area.
Both ladies are from the same time period - Civil War (1643 - 1644).
The second lady is Dorothy. I beleive both of their stories have over time been mixed up and poor Dorothy has been forgotton.

Dorothy's story.

Dorothy was accidentally decapitated by her father as he tried to save her from a group of drunken roundheads in the village of Duddon. Her headless body is said to roam aimlessly around the village and even roams upto The Headless Woman pub. So is Dorothy seen in the pub and not Grace.

Grace Triggs story.

Grace Trigg was either a maid or a family member of Squire Joseph Hockenhall at Hockenhall Hall, Tarporley.
The Squire( a Royalist) had been warned that a patrol of Roundheads were on their way to arrest him, so he fled with his wife, children and most of his servants after hiding his families treasure.
He left Grace to look after the hall, thinking as a woman she would not be harmed.
But Grace was attacked and she tried to escape. She fled down to what is now called The Roman Bridges. These three bridges are on a footpath by the hall. It is said that it was on the middle bridge that Grace was attacked again. She was beaten and kicked cause she would not tell them where the Squire, his family and the treasure was. Her head was chopped off and her body was thrown into the stream. It is said that her body was carried off by one of the soliders.
Her body was found months or even a few years later and because nobody could tell who this body was, she was buried without a proper buriel and that is why she still walks the area. She is seen with and without her head but could be where the two tales are mixed up.

Why did she head towards the bridges if she needed help. There is only the odd farm about and it would have been better to have headed towards town.
Another version of this tale is that she had gone to the bridges, after the family had fled, to see her lover. She was a Royalist and he was a Roundhead. This romance had been found out and she had been murdered beacause of it.

In Tarvin, there is a house called The Tudar House. This black and white building is on the outskirts of the village. There is a ghost of a Calaviler solider (Royalist) who use to live in this building. He walks about this building and looks out of the windows. His name is said to be Charles, late 30s to early 40s.
This man had been Graces's bodyguard at the hall. But could have also been a cousion or uncle. A canonball flew through the window and killed him when he shouldn't have even been in the building, he should have been looking after Grace. It is said that the ghost of Grace watches this replay and smilies because he had failed to protect her.


So which lady is the true headless woman of Tarporley or could it be a mixture of both. Both ladies are from the same time and around the same age - mid to late 20's.

Its an interesting tale and if anyone has anymore information on this, please let me know.