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Henhow Cottage, Martindale, Cumbria


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Ian Topham
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I found the following in The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain by John H. Ingram (1897):

Sullivan's Cumberland and Westmoreland, illustrates either the long term of years apparitions are doomed to haunt the scenes of their former life, or the tenacity of tradition. Sullivan, referring to other previous cases of supernatural troubles it had been his lot to record, remarks, that if some incredulous individuals may consider the evidence already proffered unsatisfactory, they should investigate that of the Henhow spectre, "the truth of which they may ascertain by a little inquiry." This particular case, he remarks, happened about twenty-three years ago, and the man to whom the spectre appeared lived in Martindale, at a cottage called "Henhow." His wife had heard some unaccountable noises in or around the house, and informed her husband, but no further notice was taken. One morning he had to go to his work at an early hour and, having several miles to walk, he started soon after midnight. He had not got above two hundred yards: from the house, when the dog by which he was accompanied gave signs of alarm. He looked round at the other side of the wall that bounded the road, appeared a woman, keeping pace with him, and carrying a child in her arms. There was no means of escape; he spoke to the figure, and asked her what "was troubling her." Then she told him her story. She had once lived at Henhow, and had been seduced. Her seducer, to cloak his guilt and her frailty, met her by appointment at a certain market town, and gave her a medicine, the purpose of which is obvious. It proved too potent, and killed both mother and child. Her doom was to wander thus for a hundred years, forty of which were already expired. On his return home at night, the man told what he had seen and heard, and when the extraordinary story spread through the dale, the " old wives " were enabled to recall some almost forgotten incidents precisely identical with those related by the apparition. The seducer was known to be a clergyman. <c The occurrence is believed to have made a lasting impression on the old man," says Sullivan, "who still lives, and was until very lately a shepherd on the fells. There can be no moral doubt that he both saw and spoke with the apparition ; but what share his imagination had therein, or how it had been excited, are mysteries, and so they are likely to remain."



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