The Haunting of Waddow Hall

Waddow Hall is a 17th century Grade 11 listed building within a 178 acre estate on the banks of the River Ribble, near Clitheroe.

John Starkie.

In 1797 the hall was owned by the textile magnate, John Starkie, where he lived with  his wife and two sons.

Peg O’Nell

While on business at Liverpool docks, John Starkie spotted a seventeen year old woman called Peg O’Nell who had just arrived at the port from County Wicklow. As she was looking for work, Starkie offered her a job at Waddow Hall as a maid.  Later that day, he arrived back at the hall with his new maid, much to his wife’s displeasure.

The Abduction.

Within a few days, the suspicious Mrs Starkie caught her husband in bed with Peg O’Nell in the servants quarters. He begged forgiveness, but the mistress of the house wanted revenge.
Later that night, Mrs Starkie with the assistance of the head butler, John Vickery, dragged a screaming Peg from her bed, gagged her and binding her hands and feet, carried her outside to the riverbank, put her in a boat and Vickery rowed into the middle of the Ribble.

The Curse.

A heavy chain was wrapped around her legs and the gag was removed from a terrified Peg and as she was pushed overboard shouted, “I will haunt you for the rest of your lives” before the chain quickly dragged her to the river bed.

Peg O’Nell’s Well.

There is an ancient well in the grounds of the hall, near to the river which has been the location for many of the sightings of Peg’s ghost and for over a 100 years known as Peg O’Nell’s Well or Peg’s Well.

Near to the well is a statue of St Margaret with its head missing. Mrs Starkie, a few days after Peg’s murder, in a confused state, believed the statue was a visitation of Peg and ordered Vickery remove the head, which he did with a hammer and chisel, tossing the head into the river.  The ancient statue is still known as ‘Peg’s Statue’.

The Hauntings.

Since the night of the murder, Peg’s ghost has haunted Waddow Hall and grounds, with many staff reporting seeing her, particularly Vickery especially in the few days after her death, who on two occasions said he heard Peg’s curse echo through the hall.
Peg’s presence became so frightening, he resigned from his employment, leaving behind his wife and two daughters. The guilt ridden Mrs Starkie left with him, deserting her unfaithful husband and abandoning her two sons.  A few days later together they boarded The Boundary Star sailing ship  from Liverpool to St Kitts, where the wealthy Mrs Starkie owned property and investments. As the ship passed County Wicklow it floundered in a great Atlantic storm and capsized, with no survivors. The bodies of Mrs Starkie or John Vickery where never recovered.

Unexplained phenomena has been happening at Waddow Hall for hundreds of years, with many reports coming from local residents and tourists visiting the historic hall.

In November 2004 an edition of the television series Most Haunted, with paranormal investigators Yvette Fielding and Derek Acora was broadcast from Waddow Hall.

Present Day Waddow Hall.

Since 1927 the hall has been managed by Girlguiding (Girl Guides) and is now recognised as an award winning tourist facility providing five fully equipped campsites, a tented village, top class self catering indoor/outdoor accommodation, conference facilities and numerous outdoor activities.

Girlguiding is the operating name of The Guide Association previously named The Girl Guides Association .

In nearly a hundred years since 1927, thousands of girl guides from all around the world have enjoyed camping at Waddow Hall and probably unaware of the ghost of Peg O’Nell watching them.

Reference sources: Ghostly Tales of the Unexpected by Simon Entwistle; girlguidingactivitycentres.org and wikipedia.

All photos courtesy of Google Images.

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St. Patrick and Lancashire

St. Patrick Lands At Heysham.

St Patrick was a fifth-century Christian missionary who later became known as the Apostle of Ireland.

St Patrick was thought to have been born around 380AD to a Christian Roman-British family, during the final years of the Roman occupation of Britain.

At the age of sixteen St Patrick was kidnapped by Picts and sold to an Irish Chief who kept him as a slave for six years in Ireland, until he escaped and fled to the coast. He managed to board a ship for Scotland, which, according to legend, was shipwrecked near to the Heysham headland at a place known today as St Patrick’s Skeer. This is a long narrow strip of rough ground, with deep water on each side, and only visible at Low Water Spring Tides, just outside what is now Heysham harbour.

According to local historian John Disney, the shipwreck site is described as a rocky inlet with surrounding trees. The Irish Sea around Heysham 1800 years ago was 14 feet deeper and at low tide, the remains of ancient trees are visible.
Patrick made his way back to his parents home in Scotland, travelling through Cumbria on a journey that took him and his followers 28 days.

It seems to be accepted by some historians that St Patrick did arrive at Heysham on his escape from Ireland.

Historically, St Patrick’s Day was a public holiday in Heysham and the area still has many references to the patron saint of Ireland.

Patrick eventually returned to Ireland as a missionary and was made a bishop and Primate of All Ireland by Pope Innocent 1.

St Patrick’s Day occurs annually on 17th March in observance of the death of St Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

Contemporary drawing of the Port of Heysham.

St. Patrick’s Chapel.

On the only sea cliffs between North Wales and the Cumbria coast are the remains of an ancient chapel and possibly the birthplace of Christianity in Lancashire.

The Anglo Saxon chapel is a ruined building that stands above the site of ancient stone coffins overlooking Heysham Sands. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and one of the oldest religious buildings in the north of England.

The ruins of the present chapel date two centuries later. Beneath the ruined chapel’s stonework are foundations of an earlier Celtic style chapel of the 5th or 6th century.

It is believed that the existing chapel was built by monks from Ireland as missionaries of St Patrick, to commemorate his return to England.

The chapel is owned by the National Trust.

Ancient Stone Coffins.

With dramatic views across Morecambe Bay to the Lakeland Mountains are a row of six stone coffins hewn out of solid rock on the Heysham headland beside St. Patrick’s Chapel. In 1977 Lancaster University carried out a detailed examination and excavation of the surrounding site and 80 full skeletons were found buried near to the chapel, dating to the late sixth or early seventh century. The bones were re-buried in the churchyard.

In 1993 a further excavation was carried out on land below the stone coffins. No human remains were found but more than 12,000 artefacts were discovered, including medieval pottery and stone carvings, which revealed that the site had been occupied 12,000 thousand years ago.

The stone coffins certainly pre-date the Norman Conquest (1066AD) and are believed to be Viking in origin.

Each tomb is hollowed out in the shape of a human body with a groove to take a stone lid and a square socket to take a cross or headstone. Because of their small size it is unlikely adults where buried here, but it is believed they were repositories for human remains or the burial places for children.

There are two further rock-cut tombs a short distance away.

Black Sabbath.

The Best of Black Sabbath, a compilation album released in 2000 features the stone coffins on their album cover.

Reference source: North West Scenes (blog dated 28/05/09 unknown writer), http://www.sandhak (history of heysham blog) & wikipedia.

This blog first posted 22 January 2018.

All photos courtesy of Google Images.

Hellhounds

A Hellhound is demonic guard dog, protecting the entryways to the afterlife, especially the gates of hell or to search for those whose death is imminent and their soul promised to Lucifer.

Origins

Hellhounds have a long history in folklore from around the world, recorded as a companion of pagan gods and in old Norse mythology the Vikings called it the ‘Wolf from Hell’.

A 1764 engraving of The Beast of Gevaudan, France, a supernatural dog which attacked and killed women and children.

Cerberus.

In Greek mythology Cerberus, the most famous of all hellhounds, is the monstrous watchdog of the underworld, with three heads and a serpents tail. The creature devoured anyone attempting to escape the Kingdom of Hades, the ruler of the underworld.

Dante confronting Cerberus in his epic 14th C poem, Dante’s Inferno. Engraving by Gustave Dore.

Hercules and Cerberus, oil on canvas by Rubens, 1636.

Identifying A Hellhound.

These phantom canines are highly intelligent, voracious hunters of considerable size. A small hellhound is about the same size as a mastiff, while a large one can dwarf a horse or a brown bear. Their coat is always black and mangled, they have glowing red eyes and possess super strength and speed. The presence of a hellhound is proceeded by a foul stench of sulphur, recognised as the stench of death.

Where To Find A Hellhound.

They are usually invisible to humans, but will appear to the person whose death they are stalking and whose soul has been promised to the Devil. Their main purpose is to protect the entrance to the underworld but can be found hunting for lost souls in graveyards.

Hellhounds in Lancashire.

Tales concerning these black dogs or hellhounds are told all over Lancashire: at Clitheroe, Droylesden, Singleton near Blackpool, Ratcliffe Tower, Levens Hall, Bispham Hall and numerous over locations including the Longridge Fells. Locals talk of malevolent ghost hounds which prowl the moors at night, like the large black dog that haunts Old Hall at Clitheroe, known as ‘Old Trash’.

Formby foreshore (now Merseyside) near Southport is the haunt of a giant black, spectral hound with luminous eyes the sight of which is said to bring death or severe misfortune to the beholder.
Nelson has a similar spectre, with a similar legend behind it.
One of the best known local hellhound legends is of a huge black shaggy dog that haunts the area around Burnley Parish Church. It is known as ‘Old Skryker’ or ‘Trash’, from the noise it makes while walking, “like old shoes on a miry road” and the beast will shriek to announce it presence with flames coming from its mouth.

In the North of England, a hellhound or black dog is often referred to as a Barghest, Gytrash or Padfoot and is commonly commemorated on many inn signs, particularly in Lancashire.

Hellhounds in Literature.

In Charlotte Bronte’s 1847 novel Jane Eyre, the title character is reminded of a Gytrash when she first sees Mr. Rochester’s black horse.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s  1902 novel, The Hound of the Baskervilles tells of a huge ferocious dog that roams Dartmoor.
That area has its own legend of a hellhound called a Yeth Hound or Yell Hound.

The Omen written by David Seltzer in 1976, features a pack of deadly Rottweiler dogs guarding a cemetery.

There are numerous other references to hellhounds in literature, films, television and computer games.

For over three thousand years legends of a supernatural black dog or hellhound has existed in different cultures throughout the world. There are striking similarities, its great size, red eyes, black fur, ferocity and always a harbinger of death and there are still reports to this day of the presence of a hellhound. But strange as it is, the north of England has more tales and legends of a ferocious supernatural black dog than anywhere else.

There are many unexplained phenomena in the supernatural world that surrounds us and the legends of the ‘hounds of hell’ have been part of our heritage, especially for northerners, for centuries.

Reference sources: Lancashire’s Ghosts & Legends by Terence Whitaker, Lancashire Magic & Mystery by Kenneth Fields, wikipedia, supernaturalwiki.com.

All photos courtesy of Google Images.

 

 

 

 

The Preston Necromancer

Necromancer definition: a person practised in the black arts and through magic summons the dead to appear as an apparition or raises them bodily from the grave to reveal hidden knowledge or influence the future.

Edward Kelley.

Edward Kelley was born in 1551 at Worcester and became a well known figure for his claims to be a sorcerer, a spiritual medium able to communicate with the dead and an alchemist turning metal into gold.

Kelley was a charlatan and in 1580 at Lancaster Castle was found guilty of forgery by passing counterfeit coins and had both his ears lopped off as punishment.

An 18th century engraving of Edward Kelley.

Kelley Arrives in Preston.

A few years after his mutilation at Lancaster Castle, Kelley and an associate named Paul Waring, attended St Leonard’s Churchyard on Church Brow, Walton-le-Dale, Preston. Kelley had heard a story of a wealthy local resident dying without disclosing the whereabouts of his fortune. Believing he could make contact beyond the grave and discover where the money was hidden, Kelley and Waring entered the churchyard at midnight one Christmas Eve.

Present day St Leonard’s Church and graveyard.

Standing within a protective circle and using a Death Magik ritual, known only to Kelley and a few exponents of the occult he began the unholy ritual. They removed the earth, exposing the coffin, pulled away the lid, retreated to the safety of the circle as the corpse rose from the grave and approached the two necromancers, divulging where the fortune could be found.

An Early Painting of Kelley and Waring in the Churchyard.

Kelley’s  Wealth.

By 1590, at the age of thirty-nine, Kelley was living an opulent lifestyle in Europe, seemingly in possession of unexplained wealth and socialising with some of Europe’s highest society. He received several estates and large sums of money from the Rozmberk (Rosenberg) family of Bohemia and in that year was knighted by Emperor Rudolph II of Austria, becoming Sir Edward Kelley and also made ‘Marshall of Bohemia’.
Kelley was still professing to be a successful medium, holding seances for Europe’s rich and famous with his friend Sir John Dee. More importantly, Kelley maintained he knew the secret of alchemy and could change common metal into gold.

A painting of Dee and Kelley communicating with angels.

Imprisoned In Bohemia.

In 1591 Rudolph II had Kelley imprisoned in Krivoklat Castle, Prague for failing to produce any gold and in 1595 he was moved to Hnevin Castle at Most in the Czech Republic.

Hnevin Castle.

While a prisoner at Hnevin Castle, Kelley was beaten and tortured, so in 1597, with the help of his wife, Jane Weston, he attempted to escape by jumping from a window.
Ironically, he landed on a carriage his wife had sent to aide his escape, receiving serious injuries including breaking both legs.

Kelley died from his injuries, leaving his family destitute.

Statue of Edward Kelley in the grounds of Hnevin Castle.

Sir John Dee.

Sir John Dee was a confidant and advisor to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 1 and a personal friend of Sir Walter Raleigh.  John Dee, a brilliant mathematician, was completely beguiled by Kelley and they toured Europe together, confident in and promoting Kelley’s supernatural abilities.
It was the arrest of Kelley in 1591 that made him realise that his detention was also imminent as an accomplice to Kelley’s fraudulent claims of alchemy, so he quickly returned to England, resuming his patronage of the royal court and appointed Warden of Manchester College.

Reference sources: Lancashire Legends by Kathleen Eyre; blog Bohemia Magic & wikipedia.

All photos courtesy of Google Images.

The Phantom of Ned King

Knights of the High Toby.

The first half of the eighteenth century was the heyday of the highwayman, those ‘Knights of the High Toby’, who, immaculately dressed and as glamorous to the general populace as stars of film and television are today, rendered travel a dangerous undertaking anywhere in the Kingdom.

Above from sleeve cover of ‘Knights of the High Toby’ by John Barrows 1962.

The Merry Dance of the Highwayman by William Powell Frith 1860.

The Sanctuary of Lancashire.

In the late 1730’s, two highwaymen fled Essex, both wanted men with a high price on their heads. They travelled north and west, eventually arriving at the village of Hurst Green, between Longridge and Clitheroe. The two fugitives were Dick Turpin and Ned King, both members of the infamous Essex Gang of robbers. Most of the gang had been captured and hung at Tyburn Gallows for horse theft, deer poaching and highway robbery.

 Punchbowl Inn.

On Longridge Road at Hurst Green, known as the B6243, stands the Punchbowl Inn where Turpin and King sought refuge and decide what their next move would be. Turpin chose to move on and set off for York, (he would be caught and hung within twelve months) leaving King at the Punchbowl. He struck up a friendship with the landlord, John Briscoe, who employed Ned King as a Groomsman.

This gave King the opportunity to check out the guests as they arrived by horse or carriage and observe what valuables they carried. He soon became partner in crime with the landlord Briscoe and together they planned who to rob.
Once they had identified their next quarry, King would ride ahead to the crossroads at Mitton and wait for their victim to arrive, shouting those famous words, “stand and deliver.”

 Punchbowl Inn Sign.

Between 1739 – 41, King and Briscoe held up at least fourteen coaches around Hurst Green and Mitton.

The authorities had no suspects as to who was committing these highway robberies with impunity, so they set a trap.

The Ambush.

One evening in May a coach set off from Whalley, bound for Preston using the Longridge Road through Mitton and Hurst Green. The coach contained a grenadier captain and twelve grenadier redcoats, all marksmen.
An opportunistic King was waiting at the crossroads, brandishing a pistol in each hand on his trusted horse, Black Tarquin.
The coach was forced to stop and King shouted, “Stand and deliver.”
Twelve muskets appeared at the door and windows, pointing at King, followed by the order, “fire.”

British redcoats in action during American War of Independence 1783.

King was hit in chest by two musket balls, but managed to stay on his horse and galloped back to the Punchbowl Inn, warning Briscoe that the redcoats were coming.

The Gunfight.

The inn was surrounded, but King and Briscoe refused to surrender, exchanging fire with the grenadiers, killing three. Briscoe decided to make a bid to escape and fled across the fields at the back of the inn. He was quickly spotted and killed instantly by a fusillade of musket balls.
King ran out of ammunition and the grenadiers stormed the inn, dragging the highwayman from the loft.

The loft in the Punchbowl Inn where King was arrested.

The captains instructions were to take the robbers dead or alive. He ordered for a rope to be thrown across an over hanging branch of a tree opposite the inn and King was hung on the spot.
The redcoats dug a grave by the roadside and King was unceremoniously buried in a makeshift unmarked grave, where he reputedly, still lies to this day.

The Ghost of Ned King and Black Tarquin.

For more than 250 years Ned King’s ghost has often been seen in the Punchbowl Inn and on the road to Mitton, with his horse, Black Tarquin. There have been many such reported cases and in 1942 an exorcism was performed at the inn specifically to rid the premises of Ned King’s presence once and for all. It would appear to have been unsuccessful, as recent documented sightings has included a crew of fire-fighters attending an emergency and swerving to avoid a horse and rider at Mitton crossroads, who mysteriously disappeared.

The phantom of Ned King the highwayman still frequents his local inn and rides his phantom Black Tarquin along the the Longridge Road to Clitheroe.

 Punchbowl Inn Today.

The Punchbowl Inn closed its doors for good in 2012. In October 2018 planning permission was granted for the 18th century inn to be converted in to five holiday flats and a cafe.

A derelict Punchbowl Inn. Photo courtesy of The Lancashire Evening Post.

Reference sources: Lancashire’s Ghost & Legends by Terence Whitaker; Ghostly Tales of the Unexpected by Simon Entwistle; Wikipedia; mysteriousuniverse.org & Knights of the High Toby by John Barrows.

Photos courtesy of Google Images and The Lancashire Evening Post.

A Lancashire Christmas Ghost Story

Dunkenhalgh Hall.

The name Dunkenhalgh comes from Roger de Dunkenhalgh who built the manor house at the end of the 12th century. Much has happened to the Tudor house in its 700 year history and of course many people, good and bad have died there during that time.
Dunkenhalgh Hall is on the outskirts of Clayton le Moors and the River Hyndburn runs through the extensive grounds a few hundred yards away.

The Petre Family.

Lord Robert Edward Petre, 9th Baron, was a British peer and member of the English Catholic nobility. He inherited exceptional wealth and was one of the richest men in the Kingdom, with properties in Mayfair and large estates in Essex, Surrey and Lancashire.
The Lancashire estate was Dunkenhalgh Hall, passing into the Petre family in 1712 and remained with the family until 1947.

The Governess.

In the 1778 a young French woman named Lucette, became governess to the Petre’s children at Dunkenhalgh Hall.

A British Army captain from the light regiment named Starkie, was a guest of the family and took a shine to Lucette. He was aware that he was soon to be posted overseas to fight George Washington’s forces in the American War of Independence, but was determined to have his way with Lucette before his posting.

17th Light Dragoons Who Fought During The AmericanRevolution.

Captain Starkie and Lucette conducted a secret liaison at the hall. The young governess fell in love with the dashing dragoon captain, soon becoming pregnant. Captain Starkie, being an officer but not a gentleman, denounced Lucette and his unborn child, promptly leaving for America to join General Sir Henry Clinton’s forces.

Lucette was mortified. Unable to tell her strict Catholic employers that she had become pregnant outside wedlock and unable to return home to France, only to bring shame on her family, that Christmas Eve, poor Lucette threw herself off the bridge into the raging River Hyndburn below.
Her body was found in a reed bed the following morning and carried back to the house as the family were getting ready for the Christmas Day church service.

Dunkenhalgh Bridge (Photo attributed to Chris Heaton).

The Woman in White.

The ghost of Lucette still haunts the grounds and the house to this day. A woman in a white shroud has been seen many times, especially at Christmas, moving through the grounds towards the bridge, where Lucette took her life and the life of her unborn child.

There have been numerous paranormal investigations, seances and even television programmes to capture evidence and make contact with The Woman in White, some being more successful than others.

The Dunkenhalgh Hall is now the luxury five star Mercure Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa. Many guests and staff have reported seeing the ghost of Lucette, some of the sightings have been of a white figure sat on the edge of the bed, but most are of a woman in white wandering through the grounds.

The hotel offers ghost weekends and promotes itself as one of the most haunted hotels in the United Kingdom. A travel website lists the Dunkenhalgh Hotel in the ‘top ten most haunted hotels in the world’.

If you are lucky enough to be staying at the five star Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa over Christmas, you may get more than you expected……………

Sources of reference: Lancashire Evening Telegraph, BBC web page – Haunted Houses, Simon Entwistle(paranormal investigator) and Wikipedia.

All photos, apart from the one credited to Chris Heaton, courtesy of Google images.

Thanks for having a look at the horror bound books blog.

Have a peaceful Christmas and New Year.

 

A Lancashire Unsolved Murder

Bashall Eaves March 1934.

Five miles north-west of Clitheroe stands the village of Bashall Eaves, traditionally associated with King Arthur, who is said to have fought a battle here. Beyond the village lies the ancient Forest of Bowland and the Bowland Fells, separating Lancashire from Yorkshire.

Edisford Bridge over the River Ribble.

Jim Dawson.

Jim Dawson lived at Bashall Hall Farm with his sister, Polly Pickles. The farmhouse was a short walk from The Edisford Bridge pub.

On a rain sodden Sunday evening on 18th March 1934, Jim Dawson, a 46 year old farmer and bachelor was walking home, along Back Lane after visiting his local, The Edisford Bridge. Back Lane was then and is still a narrow country lane with no street lighting.

At around 9pm, with his head down against the wind and rain he walked along the secluded lane towards the farmhouse, when headlights of two approaching cars briefly illuminated a man standing nearby. Jim Dawson had never seen this man before.

As both vehicles passed, Jim noticed his farmhand, Tommy Kenyon sat in the backseat of the first car with four friends. He did not recognise the occupants of the second vehicle. He then looked for the stranger he had seen lurking nearby, but he had disappeared.

Jim continued along the near pitch-black Back Lane when he heard a strange ‘click’ noise immediately followed by a sharp stinging pain to his right shoulder. He thought someone had thrown a stone at him, had another look around before carrying on his way, arriving home at 9.20pm. He had supper with his sister and went to bed a short time later.

During the night Jim’s shoulder became extremely painful and the following morning asked his sister to have a look at his injury. She was horrified at the wound and suspecting her brother had been shot, called for the local G.P. Doctor Cooper and the police to attend.

An x-ray revealed some kind of bullet, the size of a small birds egg lodged below his shoulder. Fearful of surgery, Jim Dawson refused to have the object removed and his condition quickly worsened with blood poisoning. He gave a detailed statement of the incident, but was unable to explain his injury, though he was able to show the police where the attack took place. He eventually agreed to an operation and a homemade steel bullet, tapered at both ends and seemingly cut from a steel rod, was removed from his back.  On 22nd March, Jim died from septicaemia.

It was now a murder enquiry.

Murder Investigation.

Lancashire Constabulary’s senior detective, Chief Superintendent Wilf Blacker led the investigation and immediately met a wall of silence from local residents. He was certain someone in the village knew the identity of the murderer. All firearms in the area were seized for examination, workshops, garages and sheds searched for metal cutting equipment and the original steel rod. An extensive search of the scene and surrounding country side was made, but nothing was found.

An ominous twist to this tragedy was that a few days before the fatal shooting, Jim Dawson’s much loved dog, Shep was also shot and killed. It is not on public record what type of firearm was used to kill the dog.

Forensic Expert.

Robert Churchill, the country’s leading forensic ballistic expert was called to assist the murder investigation. He concluded the murder weapon was an airgun, such as a ‘Poacher’s Arm’ air cane, which is a single shot pneumatic gun that can fire many times on one charge of air.

The Weapon.

The air cane  was a walking stick/cane with a firearm built into it and was common amongst wealthy Victorian gentlemen and ironically the criminal underworld.

The weapon consisted of two sections which came apart allowing air to be pumped and pressurised in the top half, where the trigger was situated and the shot/ammunition  was loaded into the barrel section. They are virtually silent apart from the click of the trigger and deadly at close range and accurate up to 100 feet.

Examples of air cane guns.

Means, Method and Opportunity.

Means, method and opportunity are the three key elements to every crime. Detective Chief Superintendent Blacker had the means: the firearm, the opportunity: the deserted lane at night time but could not get the evidence to arrest a suspect for the method.

The Suspects.

The police enquiry revealed that Jim Dawson had relationships with numerous local women including his neighbour, seventeen year old Nancy Simpson, who was more than half his age and lived with her parents. Tommy Kenyon, who also had feelings for young Nancy, resented them seeing each other.

But Tommy Kenyon believed the bullet was meant for him. Nancy was pregnant and her father, Tommy Simpson was convinced Kenyon was the father and as a result, a few days earlier the two men had grappled and exchanged punches.

Ten days after Jim Dawson died, Tommy Kenyon hanged himself.

The murder investigation looked at the women Jim Dawson was seeing, but was unable to prove any connection with a jealous husband or boyfriend.

The Inquest.

In June 1934 the coroners court jury came to ‘an open verdict’ on Jim Dawson’s death, not satisfied he had been shot.

Wall of Silence:  The Peculiar Murder of Jim Dawson At Bashall Eaves.

This is the title of a book written by Jim Dawson’s great niece, Jennifer Lee Cobban published by Demdike Press in 2005 and available on Amazon.

To this day, over eighty-four years later, the murder of Jim Dawson remains unsolved.

The Ghost of Jim Dawson.

It is said Back Lane is still avoided at night, as many people have seen the ghost of a figure, with a gaping wound to the back passing through a hedge into the farmyard of Bashall Hall Farm.

The ghostly sightings have been dismissed by Jennifer Lee Cobban, but she has been quoted as saying, “… the ghost story has without doubt, helped to maintain this puzzling murder mystery.”

Reference Sources: Lancashire Magic & Mystery by Kenneth Fields; WolfieWiseGuy blog; lancashirefolk.com & Lancashire’s Ghosts & Legends by Terence Whitaker.

All photos courtesy of Google Images,