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A further spooky story connected with the vicinity of the camp.
A Quantock Hills Ghost Story.

"Miss Williams, of Over Stowey, was returning home from Watchet late in the evening, and near .... her pony fell and hurt his knees so badly that she was obliged to walk. After proceeding some distance, finding it was growing dark, and still seven or eight miles from home, she engaged a young countryman at Putsham to accompany her. It soon became very dark, and as they were passing through a thick wood and the ground was very wet, and she felt very tired, she again mounted her pony. They had not gone far thus, when she found her pony become suddenly very restive, trembling exceedingly and trying to push sideways through the hedge as if to avoid something. Every effort to make him go on was useless.

After a little while a crashing sound was heard, lasting only a second or two (a kind of clatter like the trucks in Bristol loaded with iron rods). After a few minutes the noise was repeated, still more loudly. The pony was now so ungovernable that Miss W was obliged to ask the man to hold him by the head. On being asked what the noise was the man seemed much frightened, and said he had never heard anything like it. The noise was repeated a third time, and with such an overwhelming crash that Miss W felt unable to bear it, and stopped her ears. The man was perfectly overpowered with alarm, and sunk on the earth in an agony of fear.

Miss W then observed something black approaching, which passed close to her, having the appearance of a hearse drawn by four horses, but no one with them and not the slightest sound. On Miss W. asking the man what he had seen, he described exactly the same.

After this they neither heard nor saw anything, and the pony went on freely, indeed seemed to hurry homewards. In about half a mile they came to the public-house, called the 'Castle of Comfort,' where several men were sitting outside the house smoking. Miss W asked if they had seen anything pass. They said they had not, though they had been sitting there for more than an hour, and that there was no other way through the wood. They reached Over Stowey about eleven, and the young man declared nothing should induce him to pass through that wood again at night, so he remained till morning.

The story soon got wind, and some of the older people of the neighbourhood 'wondered how Miss W. could venture to pass through that wood at night'; it was so noted for extraordinary noises, etc., ever since a dreadful murder of a woman by her husband, who was hung on a gibbet near the spot. This happened about ten or twelve years since."

The above is the copy of a MS. to which there is no date; nor do I remember the handwriting so as to recollect who wrote it out, but, judging from the time I have had it, Miss W.'s adventure must have occurred about 1850. There are places on the map called 'Walford's Gibbet' near or in 'Skerage Wood', not very far from Danesborought Camp; possibly that is the gibbet and wood referred to. Perhaps some of your readers may be able to afford more accurate information. The Somersetshire hills are not unassociated with such stories. There is one in connection with Cutcombe-hill, also about a hearse, and a headless dog; perhaps someone will relate it, so as to help preserve these stories and traditions. - C.H. Sp. B. in 'Somerset and Dorset Notes and Queries.'
'West Somerset Free Press', 18th July 1891.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
11th June 2023ce

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