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Monday, 25 November 2013

Canwick Hill Murder

Above: Canwick Hill near the city of Lincoln. The scene of a horrific murder? or an equally diabolical case of human sacrifice?

Friday, 1 November 2013

The Boston Bird of ill omen

Birds and beasts have been used as oracles since the time of the ancient Celts and superstitions regarding "lucky" and "unlucky" animals are modern versions of this old tradition. Birds in particular are seen as symbols of varying fortunes. Doves symbolise peace and purity, swans love and devotion, but by stark contrast night-flying birds or birds with dark plumage, such as carrion crows and ravens are regarded as omens of evil and death.

The superstition was observed in the market town of Caistor in 1893 when two birds of an unknown species remained in the vicinity of a house where the owner was dying. It was said the ominous "death birds" had already visited the place as a precursor of death on two former occasions.
Another curious incident relating to this superstition occurred in Boston on Saturday, 8th September, 1860, when a " large and strange looking bird settled on the steeple of St. Botolph`s church.( known locally as the Boston Stump)  Its effects on the superstitious among the town people and the tragic events that followed were recorded at the time by a Mr Charles Ingamells in the "Stamford Mercury"
" On Monday morning, Mr Hackford, the doorkeeper or custodian of the church, rose between five and six o`clock, loaded a gun and shot the strange bird. It was found to be a cormorant; it measured four feet six inches from tip to tip of the wing. Several of these kinds of birds have been seen about the scalp and lower parts of the river this season, and according to Pishey Thompson`s History of Boston, they were formerly very plentiful about the Herring Hill, off Frieston some thirty of forty years ago. There were two took up their residence for a whole winter in the tower. In Leviticus this bird is classed among the unclean and in Isaiah XXX11 and again in Zephaniah 11-14 it is named: but in both cases it is in connection with desolation and departed glory. Anyone, therefore, who is disposed to be superstitious, might regard this settlement upon the church as decidedly ominous. Superstitious people in Boston considered the perching of the bird on their beautiful church as clearly significant of some approaching calamity to the town, and the superstitious feelings were largely increased, and in many ways ineradicably confirmed, when it was announced in the London Papers of about a fortnight afterwards that on the very morning when the bird was first seen, Mr Ingram and his young son had both perished, with about 300 other passengers by the collision of the Lady Elgin with a schooner called the Augusta."
The aforementioned Mr Ingram was renowned Bostonian Herbert Ingram (1811-60) MP for Boston and founder of Britain`s first illustrated newspaper, the "Illustrated London News." Despite making his fortune in London, Herbert Ingram never forgot the town of his birth and did much to improve its amenities. He was largely responsible for the clean water supply from Miningsby reservoir, a much improved gas supply to the town and a railway connecting Boston to the prosperous mid districts of England. These and many other good deeds ensured his  return to parliament three times in succession as Liberal MP for Boston and always with a vast majority. However, disaster was soon to follow. On the 7th September, 1860, when on a sight seeing tour of America, forty-nine year old  Herbert and his fifteen -year old son, boarded the lake steamer "Lady Elgin" bound on an excursion of Lakes Michigan and Superior. A contemporary report of the tragedy appeared in the "Illustrated London News":
"The wind blew hard from the north-east and a heavy sea was running but the party was a happy one. There were music and dancing in the saloon and all went merry as a marriage bell, when shortly after two in the morning of the eighth, there came a sudden crash. Thirty miles from Chicago and ten miles from land, off Waukegan, the schooner Augusta, making eleven knots an hour, came down on the doomed ship, struck her on the midships gangway and then, having her sail set, and the wind blowing freshly, drifted off in the darkness. In half an hour the steamer sank in 300 feet of water and of the 400 persons on board, not a hundred were saved. Amongst the drowned are Mr Herbert Ingram, the proprietor of this journal, and his eldest son."

Above: The ill-fated Herbert Ingram and the "Lady Elgin" sketched from a photograph taken the day before she was lost. (From the Illustrated London News)

Mr Ingram`s body was found washed ashore some sixteen miles from Chicago by his friend and colleague Mr Haywood and was brought back to Boston for burial. His son`s body was never found.

Two years after the tragedy the Ingram monument was erected by public subscription in the north-west corner of the market place in the shadow of St. Botolph`s tower where the ominous bird of ill-omen took up its perch. The much maligned bird according to the "Boston Society` vol 1-3 1899-1902, was still to be found in the town  some forty years later stuffed and mounted and residing at "Ye Sign of ye Olde Church Key" where it was said "Mr G E Hackford  or Miss King will doubtless give you a personal introduction. It is quite tame."

Above: Herbert Ingram`s monument outside St. Botolph`s Church

  Regrettably, nobody knows the current whereabouts or eventual fate of this most curious relic. All that remains of the unfortunate creature that caused such a furore in the town of Boston in 1860 is the photograph shown below from the "Boston Society, Vol 1. 1-3 1899-1902


In  a bizarre sequel to this story, the death of Herbert Ingram`s youngest son, Walter, who was killed by an elephant in Berbera, Africa, in 1888, was said to have been prophesied by an ancient Egyptian curse. Shortly before his death, he had been in Egypt where he had unwound the bandages of a mummy. Having done this, he found within the wrappings an inscription saying whoever desecrated the mummy`s remains would die violently within three months and " body would be scattered to the winds of heaven." Walter Ingram did in fact die within that period and only a thigh bone was found when an attempt was made to recover the body.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

The Skegness Monster

On the 23 April, 1960, aeronautical engineer Tim Dinsdale took what was to become the most famous moving images of the Lock Ness Monster. An analysis of his four minute film by the Air Reconnaissance Intelligent Centre, concluded that the object " was probably animate, 12 to 16 feet long, 3 feet high, 6 feet wide and travelling at 12 miles per hour." The remarkable footage inspired  hundreds of would be monster hunters to descend on the loch in the hope of catching a glimpse of the elusive creature affectionately known as "Nessie".

What is less well known, however, is that in the August of the same year, the popular east coast resort of Skegness experienced its own wave of "Monster Fever" when sightings of an equally mysterious  creature were reported  with a frequency to rival that of Nessie herself. The first sightings of "The Thing"  occurred Sunday, 7 August 1960 off Gibraltar Point, when five day trippers reported seeing "a long black line on the surface of the water, about nine or ten feet long travelling a dead straight course towards Skegness."

In a report from "Skegness Standard" of Wednesday, August, 1960, one of the party Mr Ray Handsely, a former war time coastal defence worker trained  to recognise naval vessels and marine life said: "I have never seen anything like it in my life. It  was very fast. I'd say about 40 or 50 miles an hour, I had no idea what it could be. It was difficult to judge how far out it was, maybe a mile or two, but it looked like it was travelling along the edge of the deep water."  Another witness, Mrs Vera Digby thought that the object looked like a "torpedo", six to nine feet in length with about a foot showing above the water line. Her husband had been the first of the group to spot the object heading north in "an absolutely straight line" from the direction of Boston.

Above: Gibraltar Point, where in the summer of 1960, five day trippers reported seeing a strange creature in the water travelling at speed towards Skegness.

At Winthorpe, some 2 miles north of Skegness, on Sunday, 14 August 1960, holiday makers Len Booth and John Dutton were strolling on the promenade near the Derbyshire Miners Holiday Centre (now closed) watching two small yachts at sea when they saw what Len Booth described:

"I thought it was a whale and called John Dutton. We both watched it for about an hour. It was not going very fast and kept heading in a northerly direction, but swerved out to sea and back to within about half a mile of the shore as we watched it. It was black or dark coloured."

 Sightings continued. Mrs Joan Betts, Rosina Stubbs and Councillor J.D Williams, saw something strange  while watching the Derby Miners Welfare Holiday Centre Boat, which was about 800m out to sea. Mrs Betts said:

"I saw it twice on either Monday 15 August or Tuesday 16 August, I can not recall. The first time was mid-morning and I saw a long black thing hurtling along but not disturbing the water. I called Rosina to look, and we both watched it for a few seconds before it was lost to view behind camp buildings. It was travelling south to north and was long, dark and curved.

Those sceptical of the monster sightings claimed that the witnesses had seen natural phenomenon such as wave patterns, a shoal of porpoises, or the most likely explanation, a species of wild duck flying just above the water that from a distance may seem to form a long black line. Whatever the explanation it would be several years before reports of any  further sighting.

Above: "Strange Thing in Skegness Sea" This  footage from YouTube appears to show a bird or birds flying just above the water, creating the illusion of a "long black line"  described in many of the Skegness monster sightings of the 1960's

On a moonlit night in the early summer of 1966, Skegness man John Hayes was cycling along the promenade near the Derbyshire Miners welfare Holiday Centre at Winthorpe, when he heard 
 "a loud crack" out at sea. He stopped to look and saw a large black shape moving at about 20 mph and some 500 yards from the shore.

Later that year at Chapel St Leonards, 5 miles north of Skegness,  holidaymakers George Ashton and his wife May were out strolling on the beach when they saw a mysterious creature less than 100 yards off shore. In the Skegness Standard, 19 October, 1966, Mr Ashton said:

"It had a head like a serpent and six or seven pointed humps trailing behind it. At first I thought it was a log but it was travelling at about 8m.p.h and going parallel with the shore. We Watched it for some time coming from the direction of Chapel Point until it disappeared out of sight towards Ingoldmells.   I just didn't believe in these things and tried to convince myself it was a flight of birds just above the water, but it was leaving a wake in the water. I even thought it was a submarine but after watching it for some time I knew  it couldn't be. There was no noise. It just skimmed through the water."

May Ashton added; "It was an incredible sight. I really don't know what it was, people have tried to persuade us that it was nothing unnatural, but these people did not see what we did. I cannot understand why some people cannot accept that we would not openly claim to see something uncanny it it hadn't actually happened, especially with the amount of ridicule such a sighting creates. I will never be dissuaded that what we saw was not a flock of birds, a submarine, a torpedo or anything like that. It was something extremely large, a living creature of the sort which neither my husband nor I have ever before seen."

A whimsical illustration of the "Chapel St. Leonards Monster" by local artist Eric Blood appeared in the Skegness Standard Wednesday, 19 October 1966

The local press published further  reports of sea-serpents lurking off the Lincolnshire coast. In the Skegness Standard 6 November 1966,  Mr R.W.Midgeley of Boston wrote of a sighting of a strange creature he had seen whilst holidaying in Trusthorpe in the summer of 1937 or 1938:

"One summer, when on holiday at Trusthorpe, Lincolnshire, I was walking along the sea wall when, probably no more than 400 yards from the waters edge, I saw what I can only describe as a sea monster. No head was visible, but I saw quite clearly what appeared to be four or five half links of a partly submerged, huge snake-like body. It disappeared after about five minute.  I am  quite certain I had not witnessed a school of porpoises, dolphins or the like."

Mr J Bates from Leamington Spa writes of a similar encounter:
 "I saw the same object when I was on holiday in Chapel St. Leonards in early September of, I think, 1952. The "monster" was about sixty yards from the shore moving steadily parallel with the coast line in a northerly direction. It was about 20 yards long and consisted of equal brown or black bumps-probably about 12 of them with water separating each bump. I ruled out the likelihood of it being a line of seals or porpoise. It certainly was not a flock of birds! I still think it was the monster and I am satisfied that what I saw is exactly the same as in your report."

 The last reported sighting of the creature to my knowledge appeared in the  Skegness Standard, Wednesday, 4 October 1967.  The witness Mrs Diane Cook said that she was standing at the bedroom window of her home in Winthorpe when she saw : "A long black line with either spots or stripes on it moving at speed about a mile and a half out to sea. I thought at first it was a speed boat, then I thought it could be a flock of birds, but it was moving too fast. I first sighted the monster travelling on the surface of the water, off Winthorpe Avenue. It moved in a north to south direction and was lost to sight when it reached the pier."

Could there really have been a large hitherto unknown species of sea creature  lurking in the waters off Skegness in the 1960's? Or had witnesses seen natural phenomenon, such as  birds, whales and porpoise as was suggested at the time? With the passage of  years and lack of any photographic evidence, it is unlikely that we will ever know for sure. However, one possible explanation can be found in "White's History Gazetteer and Directory of Lincolnshire" 1882 in which it explains of Skegness:

"In fine weather that optical illusion called a mirage is sometimes seen here to perfection. On such occasions the ocean wears the appearance of a sheet of glass-not a ripple to be seen on its surface ,and the horizon appears to be bounded by a high, dark wall, upon which is seen, loomed up as in very clouds and magnified to a high degree, the vessels, birds and every other object upon the water. This phenomenon is designated a "sod bank" by fishermen and considered a portent of strong easterly winds."

The bizarre creature in the photo above is a giant Ocean Sunfish. In 1998 a specimen of this creature, washed up on Skegness beach much to the surprise of scientists, as sunfish favour much warmer, deeper waters than the North Sea. Although it bore a slight injury, the specimen had only recently died and was in fresh condition. Could a rare visitor such as this have been responsible for the rash of monster  sightings off the coast of Skegness in the 1960's? 

 Return Of  "The Skegness Monster"

This video footage of a strange creature spotted off Skegness beach caused an Internet phenomenon when it was uploaded to YouTube in 2012. Scientists later identified it as "one or two basking sharks" a species rarely seen off the Lincolnshire coast.

Leviathan of the deep: A dead Sperm Whale washed up on Skegness Beach in 2012.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Wild Man of Stainfield. Fact or Fiction?

Over the years, I have researched many little known legends from around the county. One of the most fascinating tells of a ferocious
 "wild man" who once dwelt in the woods near the remote hamlet of Stainfield, situated some 10 miles east of Lincoln.
The creature is described in various accounts as "naked", "semi-human", "covered with hair" and armed with a "great club" which he used to kill animals and even people. The wild man of the forest features prominently in the folklore of Europe, but unlike other notable wild men in British folklore, such as the Wild Man of Orford, Suffolk and the Wild Man of Salisbury, Wiltshire, Lincolnshire's wild man appears to have been overlooked in the wider studies of folklore and is little known outside of the county.
Did the wild man of Stainfield really exist? Many people believe that because so many stories about him still persist, there must be a grain of truth in them. Although strangely, none of the stories can agree on his identity or indeed the date when he was supposed to have lived.

Above: The wild man of Stainfield as percieved by myself in the style of a medieval woodcut.

The best known version of the tale first appeared, to my knowledge , in "Folklore Round Horncastle" (1915) by the Rev James Alpas Penny, who writes:

"In Stainfield church, near Bardney, are to be seen the helmet of one of the Tywhitts of Stainfield, with the family crest of a wild man, with a dagger hanging underneath it on the wall."

He believed the legend grew up around the crest and dagger in Stainfield church and dates from somewhere between 1700 and 1850. He then goes on to relate the story of one Francis Tyrwhitt- Drake who was promised all the lands of Stainfield, including its 280 acres of woodland and the land of neighbouring Lissinglea, if he would kill the wild man who had long terrorised the district.
As the wild man  lay asleep on a bank by a pit, his presence disturbed a peewits' nest and the twittering of the angry birds attracted Drakes attention. Seizing his chance, Drake ran the wild man through with his sword. Mortally wounded, the monster jumped up streaming with blood and chased Drake for a mile through the fields before he fell dead. According to some versions of the story, the wild man's blood staining the fields gave rise to the name of the hamlet, but in truth Stainfield, mentioned in Domesday, derives its name from the Scandinavian "stony feld (field) and ford".

Another variant of the legend, identifies the wild man as a Stainfield nobleman who had been away fighting in the crusades for so long that when he returned he found he had been dispossessed of his estates. When he failed to reclaim his lands, he went to live in Stainfield woods, where he became so dangerous that Drake-Tyrwhitt was forced to kill him.

This legend goes on to say that Drake was rewarded with the aforementioned lands and was permitted to have three peewits on the family crest to commemorate his valour. "Tyrwhitt" is an old name for peewit (which is also known as a lapwing).

However, the English Baronetage Vol 1, 1741, gives a very different account of the origins of the Tyrwhitt crest. It quotes:

"There is a tradition in the family which has been handed from Father to Son, that the first of the Tyrwhitts, valiantly defending a bridge (tho the time not mentioned) was after the action was over, sought after  by the general and found sleeping amongst some bushes and was discovered by the cries and beating of the lapwings from whence he was called Tyrwhitt, and afterwards he had three lapwings assigned him for his coat of arms."

History records that the Tyrwhitts came to Stainfield from Kettleby after they were  granted Stainfield priory by Henry V111 during the Dissolution of the Monastareies. Sir Robert Tyrwhitt (1482 -1548) built a spacious mansion on or near the site. On the death of  Sir John de la Fountain Tyrwhitt (1706-1760) who was unmarried and the last of the line, the estates passed to his mother's family, the Drake's, descendants of Sir Francis Drake, who assumed the name Tyrwhitt with the estates. However, the  Tyrwhitt-Drake's never lived at Stainfield and they took no part in local affairs. The manor house having fallen into a state of decay at the time of their possession, with the exception of the south front was demolished.

(Above) The signboard of the 16th century Tyrwhitt Arms at Short Ferry shows the family crest with elements of the legend, the wild man himself and three peewits or lapwings

It has been suggested that the story of the wild man was simply an invention to explain the funerary armour, chiefly the aforementioned dagger, gloves and helmet, with a wild man for a crest which were said to have belonged to the knight who killed him. Curious to see the relics associated with this gory local legend, I  contacted the caretaker of  St. Andrew's who informed me that regrettably the armour had been stolen from the church in 1995 and now only a small wooden figurine of the wild man that surmounted the helmet remains.


The tiny figurine of the wild man in St. Andrew`s parish church 


The "Savage Man" or "Wodewose" that forms the supporter of the Tyrwhitt crest is a heraldic symbol representing strength, honour and fertility, it was a popular choice of supporter with baronets in ancient warlike days. As a matter of interest, the crest can still be seen on the signboard of the 16th century Tyrwhitt Arms public house at Short Ferry, near the neighbouring village of Fiskerton.

The pub passed from the Tyrwhitt-Drakes in 1943 and was often referred to locally as the "The Wild Man".

A further variant of the tale states that The Wild Man was killed not by a bold knight, but by a group of local farmers known as "The Hardy Gang". Having had enough of The Wild Man killing and eating their livestock, they hunted him down and killed him after a fierce combat in a wood between Langton and Stainfield still known  as "Hardy Gang wood".

Another informant relates a whimsical version of the wild man's demise: "I always understood that Mr Tyrwhitt poured a barrel of rum in the pond where he knew the wild man drank, and he drank the water and got drunk and that is how they killed him." 

Above: Hardy Gang Woods,where according to one version of the story the wild man was captured and killed by local farmers

Above: A Nineteenth century illustration depicts a wild man carrying off his next victim

Yet another version claims The Wild Man was killed in nearby Fiskerton wood, where it is said an unusual black stone marks the spot (his blood having blackened the stone). I can only speculate that this remarkable stone is the historic Fiskerton Stone, a glacial boulder mentioned in Domesday which has been moved to various locations in and around the village over the years (it was once even rescued from a rubbish tip). Local tradition once had it that whenever there was a thunderstorm or a hanging at Lincoln Prison the stone would roll over of its own accord.

Further research into the wild man saga led me to a series of letters published in local news papers. In a letter headed "Refuge from the Armada", a reader from Essex offers the theory that the wild man could have been a surviving Spaniard from one of the many ships of the great Armada that was wrecked by storms in the North Sea, He writes; " The theory is that a survivor of one wreck, evading capture, escaped inland and lived in the woods around Stainfield. of strange garb and countenance, speaking a strange tongue and depending on what food he could steal, it is not surprising he terrified the local inhabitants who regarded him as a wild man. Certainly the clothes I saw in Stainfield Church many years ago, a helmet,gloves, and remnants of a leather jerkin, are not inconsistent with such a theory."

Above: A photo from a 1960`s press cutting shows the artifacts before they were removed. Below: The interior of St. Andrew`s Church, showing the poles from which the "wild man`s clothes" formerly depended

A former resident of the nearby village of Wragby remembered his Father telling him that the wild man killed sheep to live on, and had nails six-inches long. He (the wild man) was eventually shot dead and his clothes hung in Stainfield Church.

The clothing, believed by many to be the wild man's apparel, is in fact the remains of three tattered battle standards and funerary clothing belonging to the Tyrwhitts that once hung in above the vicar's stall in St. Andrew's Church. The relics are thought to have been removed sometime in the late 1970's and despite my on-going efforts to locate them, their current whereabouts remains a mystery.

In a letter dated 1974, a former resident of Stainfield adds another twist to the saga. She was told that Squire Turner went to the woods one day with his gun and shot the wild man as he lay asleep in the bracken, then buried the body under a stone just outside Stainfield Church.

 Above: Centre of the mystery: St. Andrew's church, Stainfield

Now, it would appear the wild man had achieved immortality, surviving successive attempts to kill him over the centuries, for the correspondent writes that she had "heard her friend's Mother talk about the wild man who was still alive when she was a girl!"

In conclusion, there can be little doubt that colourful stories of a club-wielding savage living in the dense woodland around Stainfield and Fiskerton  are just fanciful tales inspired by the unusual supporter on the Tyrwhitt coat of arms, and the relics once housed in St. Andrew's Church. However, it is likely that over the years, a mass of hearsay concerning one or more harmless vagrants living rough in the woods around Stainfield has perpetuated the wild man myth. 

One such notable eccentric was the hermit of nearby Sudbrook Park, a magnificent 120-acre estate, once dominated by the elegant Sudbrook Holme Manor, which burned down in mysterious circumstances in 1921. The park was redeveloped in the 1970's but many years before, the hermit lived out his solitary existence amidst the forgotten weed chocked gardens and wood groves of the estate.

When he died in the late 1950's, in his hut was found a huge pile of letters dating back some 50 years including his call-up papers for the First World War. Most intriguing of all, at the very bottom of the pile was his personal invitation to ride with the local hunt.

Evidently this latter-day wild man had once held a position of social standing. Why he chose to live out his last days in the forgotten ruins of a once important estate remains a mystery, just one of a chain of intriguing details attached to a fascinating local myth.

Sunday, 24 February 2013


Lincolnshire, in addition to being one of the largest counties in England, is also one of the most rural, so that might explain why it has more than its fair share of animal ghosts. One of the most frightful is the Shag-Foal, a malevolent spirit akin to the Black Dog of European folklore. The Shag-Foal takes the form of a " rough-coated goblin horse with eyes like tea saucers" which appears on isolated stretches of road before belated travelers.

 Spittal Hill in Frieston, near Boston was once said to be haunted by one such spirit known as the "Spittal Hill Tut", tut being an old Lincolnshire word for ghost. The creature was said to haunt the site of an old leper hospital and attack anyone unlucky enough to cross its path. An encounter with the phantom was recorded as recently as the last century in the Autumn 1934 edition of the Lincolnshire Lantern:

"The Hobgoblin or Sprite, known as the "Spittal Hill Tut" or  the "Shag Foal", has again been seen near Frieston. Some little time ago a party of farm workers were returning to their homes rather late one night after having paid a visit to Boston, when they were chased along the road by the "Shag Foal", which seized one of the men dragged him from his bicycle and crushed him between his fore-legs."

Different reasons are assigned for the haunting. One is that a murder was committed near the spot where the Shag-Foal appears. Another that a treasure is buried there and the entity is appointed to watch over it.

According to County Folklore by Gutch and Peacock (1908) a Shag-Foal haunted a railway bridge in Kirton-Lindsey in about 1842. A similar spectre haunted Goosy Lane, or Boggart Lane near Roxby, and in Barton-on-Humber the Devil was said to appear to persons in St. Helen`s churchyard "in the shape of a ragged colt called Tatter-Foal".

The following from an edition of Lincolnshire Notes & queries ( circa 1900) relates the Little known story of Shag-Foal Lane in Denton:

"Several instances of people who believed they had seen Shagfoal, Tatterfoal, or by whatever name the rough-coated goblin horse may be known, are given in "Folk-lore concerning Lincolnshire," but the following is not mentioned. In the village of Denton a narrow foot way leads out of the town street, enclosed on one side by a hedge, on the other by a wall which formally was a boundary of the grounds of the ancient residence of the Denton and Williams families, termed the hall of Richard Denton, 1415-16, now called the Ivy House. This enclosed way ends in a stile from which a path leads across 2 grass fields and the beck to the turnpike road making a short cut to Harlaxton. It was at the stile that the incident took place which has given to the enclosed foot way the name of Shag-foal Lane.
One evening, it may be 60 or 70 years ago, a Denton man was returning by the short cut from Harlaxton, where he had taken part in festivities which probably had not added clearness nor accuracy to his eye-sight; it happened that a donkey had broken through the hedge into the enclosed foot way, and was standing placidly looking out over the stile when the convivalist came up; the shaggy head, the high ears, the glistening eyes seemed to his distorting vision as belonging to the supernatural, so he turned and fled across the two closes back to the turnpike; coming homeward when he reached the turn into the village he feared to find the visitant at the other end of the foot way so continued on towards Croxton, and made a considerable detour getting home past the church. Next day he told all his friends he had seen Shagfoal, and the adventure so pleased public fancy that the enclosed foot way became known as Shagfoal Lane.

Although the cause of the mans mistake was evident and ludicrous his fear shows his belief in a possible apparition of the hobgoblin with shaggy coat, hanging in tatters, one of Robin Goodfellow's
[a mischievous spirit] many fancied forms."