In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Avenbury church (now disused) was reputed haunted; organ music could be heard at a time when there was nobody inside the building. A local man told Andrew Haggard he himself had heard it, to his great alarm, and explained the reason for the haunting. There had once been two brothers living at Brookhouse:
The one, he were a good chap and ’a used to play the organ in the church reg’lar. Everybody liked un. T’other he were a sclem [good-for-nothing], never did no work, and was allus [always] a-pothering his brother for money and such. Nobody couldn’t suffer un. How it come to happen I don’t rightly know, but one evening they comes to blows on the water bridge over the prill [brook] just off the Bromyard road, and the one he kills his brother for dead. And that weren’t the end of it, not by no manner of means, for after that the organ used to play nights, and no lights nor nobody there. A could hear un on the road and all quiet – there’s scores heered un one time or another.
The informant went on to explain that this haunting ‘come on so powerful’ that the vicar decided to conduct an exorcism on the bridge at the same hour as the murder had taken place; as usual in such tales, it was an exhausting task and two out of three candles went out, while ‘the passon he prays that hard till the sweat fair runs off his nose.’ The third candle flared up brightly, and the job was done. ‘That didn’t stop the music altogether,’ said the informant, ‘but the pain had gone out of it and them as lived about there didn’t take a lot of notice, but strangers as knowed about it wouldn’t go near or nights the place after dark, and them as didn’t know, well they got terrified.’
Haunted England : The Penguin Book of Ghosts – Written by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson –
Copyright © Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson 2005, 2008