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.

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.