Black Country Muse



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Forum Home > Ghostly Footsteps. > Dudley. St Edmunds Ghost.

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There has been a Church on this site since 970 AD, and of course, if the history did not contain a story of a least one ghost, it wouldn't be much of a story. You will need to bear in mind though, that during the Civil War, the Kings commander at Dudley Castle, Colonel Leaveson, had the Church pulled down, fearing the Roundheads would use the place to fire into the Castle. This was in 1646, and it wasn't rebuilt until 1724. Now what I don't know, is that if any burials took place while it was a ruin, or did they only commence once the repairs had been completed. This has a bearing on " Croakers Ghost ", as the story is supposed to be within the 18th century. Now the man who is associated with the ghost, Edmund "Croaker ", which is what he may have been referred to by the locals, and not likely to be his real name, was reputed to be the much hated local Hangman.  ( hence the rather apt name ) There is no date for his death, but he was buried in Saint Edmunds, so is it recorded in the burial records ? There was Public house which stood on the corner of Stone Street and High Street, called the " Hawkes Head Inn ", and it was from here, the story goes, that a group of rather drunken young men, set off for home late one night. Passing the Church, one was dared to spend the night sitting on old " Croakers " grave. As proof that he had spent time there, he agreed to leave his dagger stuck in the grave. It was only when they arose next morning that it was realised he had not returned, so they set off to find him. The sight that greeted them was not what they expected, for the poor soul was laying next to the grave, stone dead, and with a look of utter terror on his face. His dagger had been plunged deep into the ground, and had penetrated his cloak, making running away almost impossible. Rumour quickly spread, that old Edmund Croaker, had claimed yet another victim, to add to a long list of those he had hanged in his lifetime. The less supersitious, suggested that in a panic, after having second thoughts about spending time in a grave yard, he had indeed plunged the dagger into the grave, not realising he had pinned his cloak as well, and died of fright, when he thought he was being held back by some ghostly and spectral hands. I don't know if the stories true, come to that, I don't know if Edmund Croaker actually exsisted, but if he did, that makes four executioners, from the area known as the Black Country, which must be a bit of a record.


A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

February 8, 2013 at 3:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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