Roy Palmer, who wrote The Folklore of Hereford and Worcester (1992), commented on various macabre traditions involving ghosts and hunting hounds. The owners of Church Farm at Besford used to have the task of kennelling foxhounds for the local hunt, on a part of their land known as Dog Kennel Place. A tale current in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries alleged that on one occasion, in the eighteenth century, the kennelman was woken by hearing some disturbance among the hounds, and went out to investigate. He did not return. Next day, people found his boots, with the feet and legs still in them, but nothing more, for the dogs had eaten the rest of him. From then on, ghostly boots, with their spurs jingling, could sometimes be heard tramping across Dog Kennel Place. Palmer notes that the story received fresh impetus from its apparent confirmation in 1930, when a skeleton lacking its lower legs was discovered at Church Farm; however, this skeleton, and others subsequently found there, were probably men killed in the battle of Worcester in the Civil War.

A similar story was told at Broadway, about the ghost of a kennelman, who walks in his nightshirt. He was killed by his own hounds when he went out during the night to quieten them; they did not recognize him, as he was wearing a nightshirt. Killer hounds are also mentioned in the more romantic legend told at CHADDESLEY CORBETT, and in connection with WAXHAM HALL, Norfolk.



Haunted England : The Penguin Book of Ghosts – Written by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson
Copyright © Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson 2005, 2008