"Where trumpets rang and men marched by, none passes but the dragonfly" - Mary Webb

Haunted Shropshire

two children

Hide and seek

A plaque in the 16th century Magpie House Restaurant at the bottom of Bridgnorth's Cartway tells of a mother's undying love for her two dead offspring, tragic victims of chance... and an innocent children's game. In the 1600's the girl and boy were playing Hide and Seek and were inadvertently locked in the cellar of the Magpie House, which is close to the River Severn. Trapped, they had no means of escape when the river, high in flood, suddenly burst its banks, flooding the cellar and drowning the unfortunate children. The grief-stricken parents erected two marble images of the children, which can still be seen in the Terrace Gardens. But images of stone cannot replace flesh and blood, nor ease a grieving mother's heart. The Black Lady has been seen walking the house still, her soul tormented by the tragic loss. She cries, softly whimpering her sadness, or has been heard laughing gently in remembrance of happier times.

old carpet factory in Bridgnorth

Old Mo

The old carpet factory in Bridgnorth was once well-known for its hauntings. A Mrs Street, left late one night as the last person in the building, encountered a figure as she passed through the old part of the factory. It was the ghost of a monk, "Old Mo". Dressed head to foot in a white habit, he silently approached her up the basement steps, but on reaching the top turned and descended again. Since the factory lay idle, the spirits there have remained at rest, but recent housing development has disrupted the site, unearthing part of the medieval Friary. Will Old Mo still sleep, or will he arise to stalk the ruins once more?

boy cleaning chimney

The Chimney Tomb

Plaish Hall at Cardington is Elizabethan, with fine Tudor chimneys. The original house was built of stone, but the owner, the powerful Judge Leighton, wanted it rebuilt in brick. With the work almost complete, he sent for an ornamental chimney builder to add the last grand touches. The chimney-man, however, had been sentenced to die by the judge only the day before. But Judge Leighton's vanity saw him offer the builder a lighter sentence in return for his labour. Not surprisingly, the delighted builder agreed what was ultimately a fatal contract. When the work was completed, instead of a reprieve, the evil Judge ordered the man to be hanged from one of his own chimneys. The Judge then entombed the wretch in one of the chimney cavities. It's said that on stormy nights, when the rain lashed the Hall's windows and the wind whistled through the chimneys, the walls of the cavity oozed blood. So called scientific minds would have us believe the gore to be a combination of soot, rainwater and rusting iron. But does that properly explain the haunting of Plaish... the anguished figure of the Grey Lady who walks the house accompanied by the tall and grisly spectre of the chimney builder himself? His mother, perhaps, who died grief-stricken awaiting the return of a man so cruelly betrayed?

The Whipper-Inn

Tom Moody was "Whipper-In" at Willey Hall in the 18th century. He had a macabre fear of being buried alive. Came the time Tom felt his end was near, he asked to see his master, Lord Forester, to leave with him one last request - a call to awake before he was laid six feet under. "When I am dead, I wish to be buried at Barrow under the Yew trees, in the churchyard there. And to be carried to the grave by six earth stoppers and my old horse, with my whip, boots, spurs and cap slung on each side of the saddle. And the brush of the last fox when I was up at the death at the side of the forelock, and two couples of old hounds to follow me to the grave as mourners. When I am laid in the grave, let three halloos be given over to me and then, if I don't lift my head, you may fairly conclude that Tom Moody is dead". Old Tom was mistaken in his premonition. His request was followed to the letter. Tom Moody did not rise at the three halloos. His grave, covered by a slab, carries the inscription: "Tom Moody. Buried Nov. 19th 1796". He may not have risen then, but Tom is often seen still, his faithful hound at his side. Paintings and drawings of his always include a second Tom Moody. His ghost, forever the Whipper-In at Willey Hall.

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Many thanks to Shropshire Tourism for allowing us to use their information.