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Now I got to thinking, that it's a long time since I last saw this story aired. I don't know if any of it is true. but if anyone wants to search the records, let me know how you get on. I have heard many stories over the years, all of a similar nature to this one. Filed in my book under legends, but you never know, there has to be an origin for such tales somewhere. Maybe this is the one. It's a bit topical as well, at least it will be at the end of this month. Just imagine, a bitingly cold night, and the howls of a ghostly hound on the still frosty air.
Old Billy Pitt the vagrant,
with faithful mongrel Jim,
was froze to death at Enville,
through a cruel drunkards whim.
That night he came a-trudgin,
through the snow and driving sleet,
that soaked the threadbare baggin'
which he wound around his feet.
And Jim the vagrant's only friend,
came trotting at his heel,
and rolled a sad and anxious eye,
as he saw his master reel.
The odman sank into the snow,
with a slow despairing sigh,
his failing strength at last all gone,
had his time come --- to die?
Jim licked the old man's frozen face,
and frantic tugged his coat,
but Billy Pitt was past all that,
Was his destiny then wrote?
Jim whimpered in the darkness,
of that cold and bitter night,
then howled a long and sad lament,
so desperate was his plight.
The " Old Cat " Inn was close at hand,
as the mongrel's howls rang clear,
and caused an anxious quiet to fall,
on those who supped their beer.
A howling dog as all do know,
ill fortune does portend,
that dismal dirge rang out again,
from the vagrant's only friend.
The bravest of that motley crew,
strode out into the night,
to seek and find what was amiss,
whilst others cowered in fright.
They found old Bill and faithful Jim,
close huddled in the snow.
and bore them to the Old Cat Inn,
where a good log fire did glow.
They laid the the old man on the hearth,
and watched him slowly thaw,
the words which he then uttered,
caused them with mirth to roar,
"Be this Trysull Workuss sirs?"
came from his bloodless lips.
as he stretched a hand towards the fire,
and warmed his fingertips.
"This be a house" , said Reuben Rock,
with a sly and drunken smirk,
"But not the sort thee'st seelin,
It deals in beer --- not work."
He roughly lifted Billy Pitt,
onto his tottering feet,
and placed the poor old vagrant,
in the chimney seat.
They plied old Bill with foaming ale,
although he did protest,
he was a true abstainer,
they would not let him rest.
They poured the flagons down his throat,
with the drunkards cruel glee,
said Reuben Rock ---- "Now gerrit --
taint often that it's free ".
But Landlord Fox was not amused,
and sternly did declare,
"yowl take him with yer when
yer gone---- so stop and have a care."
But Reuben Rock and others,
took not the slightest note
and gleefully did pour more ale,
down helpless Billy's throat.
And presently the mvoving hand,
did bring the call of "Time."
and through the door they tottered,
into the Wintry clime.
And Landlord Fox made certain,
that his vow was truly kept,
they carried Billy through the door,
although the vagrant slept.
No one would take the vagrant home,
and they soon were in a plight,
what to do with Billy Pitt,
on that cold and wintery night?
T'was Reuben Rock whose drunken brain,
bespoke the cruel thought,
they'd put old Billy in the stocks,
and then they'd have some sport.
Across the heath they bore him,
to forfil their cruel whim,
and all the time behind them,
followed poor bewildered Jim.
With a certain canine instinct,
he felt with some alarm,
that the cruel rogues who bore him,
meant his beloved master harm.
At last ----- at Enville Crossways,
the stocks came into sight,
and the evil plan was followed,
on that bleak and bitter night.
Old billy Pitt was locked secure,
as drunk as drunk could be,
his evil captors gathered round,
and laughed with hellish glee!
Poor Jim went to his master's side,
and growled a warning clear,
that caused the rev'lers there to flinch,
and stand aback in fear.
But Reuben Rock one futher deed,
did perpetrate that night,
he grabbed the mongrel and around,
his neck a rope wound tight.
He hanged poor Jim beside the stocks,
and thought it quite a joke,
as the faithful hound swung helpless,
and painfully did choke.
The rev'lers staggered joyful home,
a-laughing as they went,
and chuckling at the fun they'd had,
so " rare " a night they'd spent.
Next morning in the cold grey dawn,
Old Billy was found froze,
murdered in the cruel way,
the "Old Cat "drunkards chose.
And swinging stiff beside him.
was poor old faithful Jim,
who likewise death had suffered,
at a drunkard's devilish whim.
Now tiz said on certain nights,
Old Billy's Ghost still prowls,
and at his heel a mongrel hound,
throws back his head and howls.
For--- on and on --- and evermore,
the phantom pair must seek,
the restless shade of Reuben Rock,
and on him vengeance wreak.
So there you have it, and if that bought a tear to your eye, sorry. But you can be consoled by the fact that you do at least have human feelings. There are many about today, who couldn't care less.
A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day. ( See my Blog entry )
And of course, we shouldn't forget the ghostly apparition of another restless shade, William Howe. He was ordered to be gibbeted, and hung in chains, in 1813, and so the local story goes, until his mortal remains dropped to bits. The crossroads at Enville was the spot chosen, which later became known as, Gibbet Lane. It is still said, that on a moonlit night, his awful groans can he heard on the spot, accompanied by the rattling of the rusty chains that secured him in his iron bound cage. There have been stories of the spot being haunted, from almost the very time he was exhibited at the place. Many of the spooky tales have appeared in local newspapers, and from time to time, they still do. One traveller tells of just passing " The Whittington Inn ", when he was acosted on the lonely road by a figure, which seemed to glide over the ground. The figure blocked his way, and to his horror, stood before him, shimmering in the moonlight. He was flung to the ground by this apparition, and not released until the first rays of the day penetrated the dark clouds. Shame on all those thinking, that maybe this gentleman was mistaken, and he had lingered for a while at the said Inn, he having " accidently forgotten doing so ". Then there is the tale of three local young men, who had enjoyed a very convivial evening, ( probably in the same Inn ) who reported that the voice of Howe had spoken to them, and told them he was a bit " code an' clammy " . Yet another story has it, that about 1903/4, somebody dug up a skeleton near the spot, which had a very rusty dagger stuck in it's ribcage. ( The Whittington had just changed landlords ) Moonlit nights appear to be a time to avoid Gibbet Lane. Most of the sightings since, seem to have occured at such times, and the spook seems to fancy the ladies, although a recent sighting, by an older man, says that the apparition had a very long neck, as though it had been " stretched a bit, and wobbled from side to side. Something most of us do when a little the worse for wear. Some say William Howe was a terrible monster, his discription at the time of his trial, " having a melancholy eye, and a fierce exxpression ", wouldn't fill anyone with any trust or confidence should he be met on the road. We shall never know now. Maybe, on the anniversary of his just reward,18th March,1813, someone could mount a vigil near the spot, someone that is, with strong nerves, and a non-drinker.
A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day. ( See my Blog entry )
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