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.

Friday, 31 December 2010

THE CONGLETON CANNIBAL


On Saturday 23rd November 1776, Newman Garside, William Barrett (aged 13 years) and another boy, were walking Newman's cows near Astbury.

They crossed the wooden footbridge to Priesty Fields and they saw a woman's blue clock in the water. This clock had blood on it.

They called two more men over, Humphrey Newton and John Beswick. With their help and after a quick search, they found more items of clothing and a womans small bag.

Then Beswick made a horrible discovery, he discovered a womans right arm severed at the elbow and a leg cut off at the knee. Shortly after, they found another arm and leg.

The two boys were sent to get the parish constable, while the men continued the search and found a woman's breast and a clump of bowls. The boys returned with Parish Constable John Martin and some locals.



The womans remains were taken to a nearby stable overnight. The following day, the victim was identified as 22 year old Ann Smith, a ballad singer. They buried her in Astbury churchyard the same day.





By night fall, Samuel Thorley was arrested for her murder. He was well known in the Congleton area as a homeless, simple minded man in his early fifties. He has worked for a local butcher, hacking animal carcasses into chunks and also a gravedigger at Ashbury church. He was a big man with a vile temper. He had been lodging with an elderly widow, Hannah Oakes, near to the murder site. She told a local Weaver, Thomas Cordwell, that she had seen Samuel eating a lump of meat. Samuel had said it was pork. Some of this meat was still at her home.

Charles Reade, a local surgeon, confirmed to an inquest jury, that he had examined this meat and was able to established that this was the human flesh of a woman.


Samuel Thorley was locked up in Congleton Old Town Hall and then transferred to Chester Prison.








On Thursday 3rd April 1777, Samuel was found guilty and sentenced to be hanged at Boughton. He was executed on Thursday 10th April 1777 and then a month later on 11th May, Samuel's body was suspended from a gibbet on West Heath (which was near to Priesty Fields).




Samuel Thorley showed no remorse for killing Ann Smith but why had he killed her? And why eat some of her?

Monday, 5 April 2010

TRADEDY AT OVER, WINSFORD

FIRE AT THE MILL

On Wednesday October 28th 1874, the skies above Over were ablaze as a fire broke out at a Cotton Mill. Flames leapt hundreds of feet into the evening sky.

The fire started about 5pm but by the time volunteer fireman arrived, this large mill (180 feet long, 90 feet wide and six storeys high) was almost destroyed.

Over Cotton Mill was a spinning and doubling mill, built five years earlier and was owned by Messrs Abraham Haigh and Sons. Head of the family firm was Mr James Haigh of Over Hall. More than 300 people worked at the mill, many having moved from Lancashire to work here.

The fire started in the spinning room on the fourth floor. A spark caused by friction from the machinery. There had not been any appliances to fight the fire in the mill, no prearranged fire drill or buckets of water kept by the machinery. These simple things like a bucket of water next to the spinners may have stopped the spread of the fire. No Health and Safety in then days.

Most people escaped with no injures but, as you can imagine, some people were burnt or suffered smoke injures. In total eight people did lose their lives.

Five workers had been found 12 hours after the fire started. The grim discovery of their charred remains were made by two Tarporley firemen. The other three victims died infront of the watching crowd.

Harriet Whitehurst and her three month old son had been trapped on the fourth floor with her daughter, Margaret, who was 13 years. They had first tried to escape down the staircase but had been overcome by the fumes. Knowing they were stuck, Mrs Whitehurst looked out of the fourth floor window and saw a large water tank below. She shouted to her daughter to jump and she landed safety in the water. Leaning out of the window with her baby in her hands, she let him go but before she could tell if her son had landed in the water, she too jumped. Sadley Harriet and her son, Thomas, crashed to the pavement in front of the stunned onlookers.

A few minutes later, the crowd watched as another woman burned to death, caught by her clothing on a rail 60 feet above them.

An Coroner's inquest was held at a local pub, The Wheatsheaf on Friday October 30th 1874. The verdict was accidental death on all the victims but the coroner, Mr Churton, said that it would had been wise for the mill owner, Mr James Haigh, to have kept a small portable engine on the premises.

The victims were buried in a common grave at St John's Church, Over. They were ....
HARRIET WHITEHURST .......... age 34 and her three month old son, THOMAS, of Factory st
MARTHA ANNE GOULDING .... age 15 of Factory st
MIRIAM WHITEHURST ............ age 23 of Factory st
CATHERINE MOUNTFIELD ..... age 17 of Over Lane Terrace
ELLEN FLETCHER ...................... age 18 of John st
ELIZA HINDLEY .......................... age 16
JOHN TIMPERLEY ...................... a married man of Factory st


Over the years, stories have grown regarding the site of the mill. Tales of screams heard and the smell of burning have been reported. Dark figures have also been reported. The figure of a woman has been seen, perhapes Harriet is looking for her son.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

SAUGHALL'S GIBBET MILL

This story happened in 1750 but according to Burdett's map of the country dated 1777, this mill was described as a New Mill, was this beacuse it had taken 27 years to build this mill, I dont think so, or had a new mill been built on the site of an earlier mill. Whatever the reason, Saughall Mill had been given the nickname "THE GIBBET MILL" from the tale I am about to tell you.

On August 29th 1750, four Irish harvesters were travelling back to Ireland through Parkgate, just three miles from Chester. The men got involved in a row and three of them attacked and murdered the foruth. They robbed him of his money and clothes and threw his body in a ditch.

We know they went drinking after this but this is where the tale changes.

One version claims hey were drinking in The Swinging Gate in Saughall and murdered a woman. Another version says they went drinking in The Old Greyhound in Shotwick.

Whichever version is correct, they were caught and during their trail, one man told on the other two and gave evidence against them. The trail ended on September 8th. Because one of the men gave evidence, the other two murderers were found guilty and hanged at Boughton on September 22nd.


Their bodies were brought back to Saughall and they were hung up in irons on a gibbet made from ash. This was postitioned at the junction of Parkgate road and a path which runs to the north of the present mill. Their bodies were exhibited as a warning.












The mill was grinding corn until 1926 and after fell into ruin. The mill was restored and is now a private house.

Over the years, rumours are told of shadowery figures are seen. Are these the lost souls who felt the cold irons as they hung from the gibbet or just people's imagination.

A VAMPIRE IN CHESHIRE


We all know the dark, gothic and sometimes romantic tales of Vampires. So many books and films. The most famous of course is Dracula by Bram Stoker, written in 1897. But vampires have been reported throughout the world, from the ancient Egyptians into present day.

There are two types of vampires, those that feed off blood and those who draws off the life energy of their victim, both leaving the victims physically ill and mentally exhausted. So a so called vampire attack does not have to have the tell tale small puncture marks on their victim's neck. The symptoms of an attack are identical to a condition called ME (MYALGIC ENCEPHALOMYELITIS). This can happen totally out of the blue and causes headaches, weakness, muscular pain, fatigue and sometimes fever and sickness.

In 1970, a 19year old girl from Winsford started suffering with these systoms. The doctor first diagonsed flu but the girl returned a week later. She was very pale and lethargic. She also had a number of purple marks on her neck and breasts. The doctor now thought the girl had glandular fever. The girl was not getting any better and her mum took her back to the doctors and told him that her daughter had started to have screaming fits and weird nightmares after midnight. The doctor referred her to a psychiatrist.

The girl told the psychiatrist about her nightmares --- after midnight, she would feel a cold sinister presence in her room. A young man, dressed in black would appear at the foot of her bed. The girl was asked to describe this man and she claimed it was a man called Lazzlo. He was living in her neighbourhood.

The man in question was Lazzlo Ordog. A 23year old Hungarian art student. He was over 6ft tall, olive skin, black slicked back hair and dark brown eyes.

A couple of months later, another girl was sent to the same psychiatrist. She had similar symptoms and the same story. She even described he same man.

The police couldn't do anything, so the psychiatrist deceided to go and see Lazzlo himself. Lazzlo was renting a room and was using it as a studio as well. There were water colours on easles, most unfinished. Two of these stood out to the psychiatrist as they looked like the two girls in his care. Lazzlo claimed all his paintings were from his imagination.

The psychiatrist told Lazzlo why he was there. Lazzlo started to act weird and asked the psychiatrist if he believed the girls. At this point, the psychiatrist felt uneasy and mumbled "I dont know". He left.

When he returned home, the psychiatrist found his cat dead on the doorstep. He called the vet and no cause of death could be found. The next night, while he watched tv, the mirror above the fireplace cracked in half. After he went to bed, he saw a man's silhouette standing at the top of his stairs. A short while later, his fiancee woke up choking. She said it felt like a pair of powerful cold hands were throttling her.

The psychiatrist thought about the vampire myths and even though he thought he might be going mad, he went into town and bought 2 bibles and 3 crucifixes. He gave a bible and crucifix to each girl and he wore the other cruifix. That night he heard a males voice whisper in his ear --- "I WILL BREAK YOUR NECK ONE DAY" But no one was there.

For a few eeks, they all wore their crucifix's and the girls kept their bibles in their bedrooms. All enjoyed restful sleep and the girls were soon feeling better. The psychiatrist decieded to pay another visit to Lazzlo but his landlord said he had moved out one night without leaving a forwarding address.

Had this been a vampire attack or was it more likly a case of hysteria, autosuggestion or coincidence.
Where did Lazzlo go?
Had he been an indocent victim caught up in the story because he looked different?

Just over twenty years later in October 1991, in the very house the first girl lived in, a haunting was reported.

A young woman claimed she saw a man dressed in black at 4am one morning. He was floating close to the ceiling above her bed with his arms stretched out. She hid under her bedclothes. She was terrified but found the courage to look. The figure had gone.

Had Lazzlo been back for one last time?

Saturday, 27 February 2010

The Great Fire of Nantwich

We have all heard about The Great Fire of London. But a little closer to home, in Nantwich, it suffered a simular fate.

On the 10th December 1583, a large part of Nantwich was destroyed in flames. It started at 4.15am in the kitchen of Mr Nicholas Brown in High Street. He was brewing ale and set fire to his kitchen. As you can imagine, the fire soon spread.

During the next 15hours, 600 buildings were destroyed. This included homes, outbuildings, shops, inns and stables.

The people of Nantwich ran back and forth from the river fetching water in little leather buckets. They formed a human chain from the river and into the town. Some people tried to pull the burning thatch off the roofs. But most people paniced. Many died, some from getting caught up in the mass panic in the streets, some were burnt to death trying to retrieve their belongings, others died trying to rescue neighbours or friends.

You can imagine the scene, the fire leaping from building to building, smoke and ash everywhere, the sreams of the dying lying on the floor, other people shouting for help and animals let out to save them.

The first recorded death from the fire was Mrs Anne Lovatt. She was part of the human chain fetching water. The wall of a partly burnt building fell on her. She was flattened and burnt to death.

Flames and crashing down buildings were not the only hazzards to watch out for that day. The Landlord of The Bear Inn did keep four bears in his cellar. He kept these for the terrible entertainment of bear baiting. These poor animals were kept on chains and teased by dogs. The landlord released these bears during the fire. These confused and terrified bears ran loose through the town. If the people of Nantwich didnt have enough to deal with, they now had four enormous bears running around and attacking people. A young woman called Maggie Duckworth came across these animals. She ran off screaming and her burnt corpse was found a couple of days later.

Another victim of the fire was an elderly widow named Alice Blagge.


This is known as The Queens Aid house and has a plaque informing us of what Queen Elizabeth did for the town.




Queen Elizabeth 1st heard about the fire and sent £1,000 to help with the rebuilding of the town. She also gave permission for wood to be taken out of Delamere Forest.

The weirdist part of this tale is that on Monday 9th December 1583, every cat in Nantwich left the town in a mass exodus. A few months later, they returned.
Was this a strange case of animals sensing the disaster before it happened?



Churches Mansion is one of the few buildings that survived the fire.

Ghostly Nun in Willaston, Nr Nantwich

Cheshire is full of ghostly sightings of nuns and monks. I will cover the locals Abbeys and Nunnery's in Cheshire later in my blog. But this next tale is a little strange.

In the small hours of October 15th 1987, two women were travelling from Winsford into Crewe. They were travelling on the A530 road. They saw a woman dressed in black standing in a layby next to a Volkswagen beetle car. The girls felt sorry for this lady and believing she had broken down, pulled up next to her.

Once next to her, the girls realised that this woman was dressed as an nun. She looked elderly. The girl's offered the nun a lift. The nun agreed and said she wanted to be dropped off by a slip road before Willaston.

The girls tried to start a conversation with the nun, as they travelled but the nun wasn't the talking type. The girls were even starting to think if this woman was in fact a real nun, afterall it isn't everyday you see a nun dressed in the black robe you always think of. Was she in fancy dress?

All of a sudden, the nun suddenly declared that "there was a terrible storm on the way. It is going to cause terrible damage and kill people".

The two girls looked at eachother, then one of them asked the nun if they were near her turn off yet. As she turned round, she couldnt believe her eyes. The nun had disappeared. The only trace of her left behind was a faint smell if incense.

The girls arrived at their friend's house in Crewe and told her of the strange encounter with the nun and the terrible storm she told them about.

The next day, the girl's telephoned the police about their experience and to report the abandoned Volkswagen beetle on the hard shoulder of the A530. As you can imagine, the police were rather amused with the story but did promise to send someone to look for the car. Nothing was found and no one had been towed.

Later that day, the worst storm to hit Britain for two centuries hit our shores. It killed 19 people and caused £1.5 billion worth of damage. Do you remember Michael Fish told the whole country that there would be no storm and the weather would be calm.

Who was the nun?
How did she know about the storm?
Where was she going and where had she come from?

Friday, 26 February 2010

The Horned Woman of Sauhall, Nr Chester.


The photo above was taken of Mrs Mary Davies in 1668 aged 72 years. And yes, you are seeing hornes growing out of her head.

Mary had lived all her life in Saughall. She married Henry Davies and they lived on a farm. Henry unfortually died and Mary practiced the business of a midwife.

Mary started getting headaches, swelling and soreness in her head. This was put down to wearing a tight hat for so long. This continued for five more years until she noticed two lumps either side of her head. These grew into horns. These fell off and Mr Huson, minister of Shotwick kept them. But two more grew back. An English Lord had one of these horns and gave them to a French King. A third pair grew back and these were given to Sir Willoughby Aston. Now this all started when Mary was sixty years old and over the next twelve years, Mary grew up to four pairs of horns. When the fourth pair grew, Mary was taken to Charing Cross Hospital at London.

At the age of 72 years, Mary's fourth pair of horns came off and were preserved in the Ashmolean and British Museums. She also had thre portraits done. These were kept at Doddington Hall and two at The British Museum.

In London, Mary caused quite a sensation and she is Saughall's most famous inhabitant.

I do not have any details about how, when and where Mary died. If anyone knows, please let me know.

Murder Lane, Hough, Nr Crewe

This country lane in the Hough is known locally as Murder Lane but it is called Back Lane. As you might have guessed, it was the scene of a murder and the ghost of a gentleman without his head is said to walk down this lane.

This gentleman's name was Richard Davies senior. He was a 50 year old and father to eight children. His job was a tailor, draper, property owner and part time bookmaker.
A picture was painted of a quick-tempered and violent husband. He beat his wife and children.

On Saturday January 25th 1890, Mary Davies (wife) and two of her sons - Richard (18yrs) and Arthur (6yrs) were at home, when George (16yrs) came running into the house. He told his mother that two men had attacked both him and his father while they were travelling home on their pony and trap. Mary sent for John (her married son) and he brought his neighbour back with him. With George and Richard, they went to find their father.

The body of Richard Davies snr, lay in a pool of blood under a hedge, a quarter of a mile from his home. John told George to get the village blacksmith and Richard to get the police. After Richard reported to the police, he went to his sister's home. She lived in Crewe, over the families tailoring and drapery business with another brother, Frederick (10yrs) and Richard Davies's father,

Richard returned to the murder scene just before the police. Inspector Alfred Oldham informed Superintendent Jesse Leah, Head of the Nantwich Division of Cheshire Police. He arrived at 4am and took control. The police did not beleive the brothers story and Richard and George were both charged with the murder of their father. It was then that they turned on eachother. On Thursday January 30th 1890, they were charged with murder.

The inquest started at The White Hart Inn (next door to the Davies house). Dr Frank Matthews, the Nantwich surgeon who carried out the post mortem, told the coroner that he had found 10 seperate head wounds. The skull had been fractured in 6 places, anyone of them would have caused death. The inquest jury returned a verdict that Richard Davies had been murdered by person or persons unknown.

George and Richard Davies after entering pleas of Not Guilty, were formally committed for trail at Chester.

During the trail, the jury heard about how Richard Davies snr beat his wife and children. How he mistreated them and his hot and cruel temper. They also heard how Richard (son) left the house unseen and hid in Back Lane until the pony and trap with his father and brother came to him.

The jury was also told that the murder weapon had been a lather's hammer (one was missing from the shop).

The two brother's were found guilty even though not one member of the jury could tell who had killed their father.

Numerous petitions were sent to The Home Secretary. It is claimed that over 50,000 signatures signed these petitions including Churchmen, MPs and members of the press.

No one will ever know what really happened. Richard Davies died on the scaffold on Tuesday April 8th 1890. But George was given a 20yr prison sentance. Was that because he was younger?
On Saturday April 1st 1905, George was released from Parkhurst Prison after serving 15yrs. He never returned home.

The Battle of Nantwich









THE BATTLE OF NANTWICH ----- 1644
Acton and Nantwich, Cheshire



It was a cold and foggy afternoon when my friend Kath and I thought we would retrace the footsteps of these brave Civil War soliders. We started out track around Acton Church. It was like a scene from an old horror film with the fog rolling over the gravestones. It was easy to imagine the horror from the battle, as so many were buried here and the church did hold prisoners for a short time.

Next to the church is The Star public house and Dorfold Hall. This area was The Royalist stronghold. Their headquarters were either at the church or the hall. But we know most (if not all) the Generals and Leaders stayed at the Hall and The Battle of Nantwich could have been planned from The Star.




As we walked round and headed across the road to the battle site, it was getting easyer to picture what the battle could have looked like. In fact, I was half expecting a solider to walk out in front of me, coming out of the fog.


We walked to an area known as Dead Mans Field. I am sure you can imagine why.
Many people have claimed to see and hear the battle continue, as if the souls are still fighting.





THE BATTLE
Nantwich had been the only town in Cheshire to go against King Charles 1 and sided with the Parliamentarians.

The Civil War had started because King Charles 1 (1600-49) had dissolved Parliament in 1629 and for the next eleven years, he had ruled alone. This had not been popular and by 1642 Civil War spread across the country. The war lasted from 1642-1646. The Parliamentarians (roundheads) under Sir Thomas Fairfax (1612-71) and then Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) finally defeated the Royalist (Cavaliers). In 1649, King Charles was executed in Whitehall, London.

Nantwich had had a few skirmishes between the two forces but by the end of 1643, Nantwich was besieged again by Lord Byran's Royalist army.

King Charles had been fighting in Ireland but peace had been arranged, so his troops could join the few that were left fighting the Royalist cause in this country. They landed at Chester and went to join Lord Byran's troops.

Nantwich was defended by 2,000 men led by William Brereton but the Royalist army was now 5,000 strong. Knowing he wouldnt have enough men, William Brereton sent for Thomas Fairfax. He came from over the Pennines with 3,000 men. Before reaching Acton, Thomas Fairfax met with a couple of small skirmishs, one in Delamere Forest on the day before the battle.

Thomas Fairfax set up his quarters on January 24th at Tilstone, just outside Tarporley and then headed towards Acton, meeting with another small skirmish at Barbridge on the morning of the battle. He set up his council of war at Hurleston, just outside Acton.

Lord Byran heard of Thomas Fairfax's approach with extra troops and left his headquarters at Dorfold Hall and met his other leaders at Acton Church and assembled his army on a hill. His artillery and infantry were sent across the frozen River Weaver. But this was his downfall, as a sudden thaw caused the frozen river to thaw and his army was cut in half.

The Parliamentarians, led by William Brereton left their camp (Hack Green Nuclear Bunker now stands in this area) and their headquarters, for the other leaders were at The Crown and Lamb Hotels and attacked the Royalist infantry. Thomas Fairfax attacked the front and his infantry held back the Royalist horsemen.




The Royalist army were attaked from both sides and they soon surrendered. In fact, the battle only lasted one and a half hours. 1500 prisoners were taken by the Parliamentarians and held at Acton church. Bullet holes can still be seen in the church and this has been linked to the shooting of Captain Steele. I will tell you about this later.

Lord Byron escaped but with only his cavalry.


Nowadays, this event is celabrated eachyear by a re-enactment of the battle by the Sealed Knot actors. They dress in full costume and carry long pikes, muskets and use cannons.
It is a great attraction and a fun day out.

But wondering on the batterfield itself, you are humbled as you remember the dead and what a pityful site the area must have looked.











Captain Steele
Thomas Steele was a reluctant solider and was a cheese dealer by trade.

He held Beeston Castle for Parliament until 13th December 1643 when Captain Sandford and only eight infantrymen with muskets, climbed up to the castle at night. Steele had plenty of men to defend the castle but he surrendered. It is said he entertained Sandford and his men to dinner.

Thomas Steele left the castle and travelled to Nantwich to inform the forces that Beeston had fallen. When the townsfolk found out, he was condemed to be shot. He died in Tynker's Croft behind Acton church. After being shot by two musketeers, one shot him in the belly and the other in the throat. His body was immediately put in a coffin and buried in the churchyard.

This had given the Royalist a stronghold and the castle remained in their control for a year before the main attack on Nantwich.
Captain Sandford was killed in the attack on Nantwich.
What had happened that night. Had Thomas Steele just had enough and gave in or did Captain Sandford tricked Thomas into believing that he had more troops than he had.


There have been many sightenings over the years. We have Civil war soliders walking around the town and of course many people beleive that the battle still takes place on the blood soaked fields. The sound of cannons, muskets and clashing pikes, also the screams and shouts of the fighting and dying men.

Friday, 29 January 2010

THE DRAGON OF MIDDLEWICH


Moston is a small hamlet just outside Middlewich, Cheshire. The whole area is steeped in a legend about a Dragon.

Middlewich Parish Church has a screen in the Venables Chapel showing the story I am about to tell you. The Venable family commemorated this event in their coat of arms.

Around the beginning of the 12th century, this area of Cheshire was under attack by a fierce dragon. Many people had died either by being attacked by the dragon or by trying to kill it.

Thomas Venables, son of Sir Thomas Venables, first cousin of William the Conqueror, stood up to rid the lane of this dragon.

He faced the dragon alone. He went to where the dragon lived, which was in the swamps of Bache Pool(Dragon's Pool/Lake) at Moston. A road now runs through this area called Dragon's Lane.

He saw the dragon and just as the dragon was going to eat a child, Thomas shot an arrow through its eye. He then finished the dragon off with his sword.

THE MURDER OF MARY MALPAS

The year is 1835 and we pay a visit to just outside Nantwich, Cheshire.

This tale is about the murder of a 15yr old girl and perhapes the wrong man accused of her murder.

On June 28th 1835, Mary Malpas was murdered, in Chapel Field, Hunsterton, Nr Nantwich.
She is buried in St Margaret's Churchyard, Betley. Her gravestone names the man whom it is beleived to have murdered her. His name was Thomas Bagguley. He was a happily married man with eight children. He was well liked and aged about 50yrs old.
The day after the murder, Thomas was found hanging. It was assumed that he had committed suicide and therefore he must have murdered Mary.
Thomas was buried at Wynbunbury Churchyard at midnight on the 1st July 1835 (This is what happened to people who committed suicide at that time,but some vicars still wouldnt let a suicide into their churchyard to be buried). This can lead you to think that perhapes Thomas was so well liked and even that some people did not beleive that he could kill anyone, that he had been allowed to be buried in the churchyard.


Mary Malpas's gravestone reads

THIS STONE
IS ERECTED BY SUBSCRIPTION
TO THE MEMORY OF
MARY MALPAS
THE BELOVED DAUGHTER OF
JOHN AND ANNE MALPAS
WHO AT THE EARLY AGE OF 15 YEARS
AND 10 MONTHS
WAS ON THE NIGHT OF JUNE 28TH 1835
MOST BASELLY AND CRUELLY MURDERED
IN CHAPEL FIELDS, HUNSTERESTON
BY THOMAS BAGGULEY
AN ELDERLY MARRIED MAN
HE ESCAPED THE PUNISHMENT OF
THE LAW, BY ADDING HIS OWN
DEATH TO THAT OF HIS
INNOCENT VICTIM.

LONE WAS THE PLACE AND DARK THE MIDNIGHT HOUR
WHICH GAVE SWEET MARY TO THE RUFFIAN'S POWER
STEDFAST IN FAITH AND STRONG IN VIRTUE'S MIGHT
SHE FELL A MARTYR O THAT AWEFUL NIGHT
NOW SAFE FROM SIN AND HARM. SHE RESTS SECURE
AMONG THE BLESSED WHO IN HEART ARE PURE.



Mary was a domestic in the service of Mr Henry Davison at Doddington Park, Nr Nantwich. Thomas was a labourer here as well.

Thomas had been home all night but at 9.30pm, his wife went to bed and he was going to follow her. She called him a few times after and he said he would be up shortly. His son saw him at 11pm and also heard his mum calling him. By 2am, Thomas had left the house.

At 1am, that same Monday morning, Mary knocked on Mrs Davison's bedroom door and asked if she had permission to leave the house and go to her parent's house as her mum was dying. Mrs Davison never asked how Mary knew about her mum but let her go. Mary locked the door and took the key with her.

Mary's body was discovered a couple of hours later in Chapel Fields, just a short distance from the Davison house by two labours named Simeon Davies and Ralph Latham. She was lying on her back, her clothes pulled above her knees, her bonnet torn and sighns of a violent struggle.

Thomas's body was found hanging in the farms cow shippon by John Shuker. John went for help and Simeon Davies and Ralph Latham helped cut down the body. All three men told police that Thomas had a pocket full of keys including Mr Davison's front door key.

Did Thomas really have that key on him or was it placed there after his death.

The coroner concluded that Thomas had climbed up a ladder and knocked on Mary's bedroom window and wrongfully told her about her mother. He had then attacked Mary in the field and strangled her. He then could not live with the guilt and killed himself. The coroner and jury found a verdict of wilful murder against Thomas.


I find this hard to believe.
Mary could have planned to met anyone that night, perhapes she had a lover and they planned to run away together but someone else found out and waited for the two to met. Perhapes Mary was going to met her lover to tell him that she was going to have his baby and he killed her.
Thomas could just have been taking a walk as he could not sleep. He might have walked this way as it would have been nearing his time to start work in a couple of hours. He could have heard Mary and her lover rowing and even perhapes seen her murder. This could mean that Mary's murder could also be Thomas's murder. He could quite easily have killed Thomas and made it look like a suicide and put Mary's key in Thomas's pocket.

I dont think we will ever know the truth.
If there is anyone who has more information, please let me know.


Doddington Cottage, nr Bridgemere, Nantwich is said to have a ghost. This male ghost is said to be Thomas.