Nuns’ Bridges, Thetford
The Nuns’ Bridges took their name from the nearby nunnery (the Priory of St. George) and they carry the ancient trackway known as the Icknield Way over the Little Ouse River and the River Thet in Thetford. Once the site of the towns ducking stool during the middle ages, Nun’s Bridges has a story attached to it concerning the death of a young child and his ghost.
The child was George Dacre, 5th Baron Dacre of Gilsland and Baron Greystoke (Born 1561 – Died 17 May 1569), son of Lord Thomas, 4th Baron who had died in 1566. His widowed mother Elizabeth Leyburne (Born 1536), secretly married Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk (Born 10 March 1536 – Died 2 June 1572) on 29 January 1567. Following her death on 4 September 1567, George and his three sisters (Anne, Mary and Elizabeth) were left under the guardianship of their step father the Duke of Norfolk.
George Dacre died on 17 May 1569 whilst at Thetford under the care of the household of Sir Richard Fulmerston. Following the Dissolution of the Benedictine Priory of St. George in 1537, it was granted to Sir Richard Fulmerston who converted it into his home and it was here (possibly in the long gallery) that the young George died when he fell from a wooden rocking horse injuring his head.
Local legend suggests that Sir Richard Fulmerston (who is sometimes mistakenly referred to as George’s Guardian) murdered the child by removing some pins from the horse and subsequently making it unsafe. However, he is wrongfully accused, as Sir Richard Fulmerston (Born 1516) had actually died on 3 February 1567, two years before the death of the young Lord Dacre.
According to the Thetford Haunted Trail, the ghost of Lord George Dacre used to haunt the Nuns’ Bridges riding a headless rocking horse, until his spirit was at some point exorcised.