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Friday, 7 August 2015

The Shaking Grave

In Laughton Forest, near Gainsborough, is the grave of one Dicky Rainforth. Rainforth was a local fellmonger, who in the late 18th century, made his living on Scotton Common (now part of Laughton Forest) by killing diseased livestock and selling their skins. When trade was bad, Dicky was not averse to poisoning the cattle of local farmers to increase his yield. Eventually his scheme was rumbled and he found himself pursued by a lynch mob. He fled to a barn in near by East Ferry and there in a panic he hanged himself from one of the oak beams.

Having committed the crime of  felo de se (suicide), Dicky could not be buried in consecrated ground. Instead he was taken to Laughton Forest and buried beneath a slab between two fir trees.

Now, if by chance you find yourself walking in Laughton Forest, be very careful  where you tread. It is said that if you stand on Dickey`s grave, the ground beneath your feet will start to shake and his ghost will rise up to greet you.   

Incidentally, the owner of the barn kept the rope with which Dicky hanged himself as a gruesome souvenir until his daughter, who considered keeping it to be in bad taste, threw it away.

Until as recently as the early part of the 20th century, it was not uncommon for revellers to pause at Laughton crossroads to drink the health of Dicky Rainforth. 

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