There is an old legend about the Breretons, formerly owners of Brereton Hall, that they,like many other ancient families, had a death omen peculiar to themselves. In their case, it concerned a lake on their estate; whenever the head of the family was about to die, a black tree trunk would be seen floating in it. There is disagreement among local historians as to whether this lake is Blackmere, which still exists, or Bagmere, which has been drained. The omen is referred to by several writers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries;
William Camden in his Britannia (1586) gives a slightly variant account where it announces the death of the heir, not the head of the family:
A wonder is that I shall tell you, and yet no other than I have heard verified upon the credit of many
credible persons, and commonlie believed: That before the heire of this house of the Breretons dieth, there bee seene in a poole adjoining, bodies of trees swimming for certaine daies together.
Another sinister tradition, recorded by Christina Hole in the 1930s, is that once a year the ghosts of all the Breretons that ever lived gather at Shocklach church; the black phantom coaches in which they arrive block the lane leading to the lonely church.