In his diary of ‘A Tour to the West, 1781’, the Hon. John Byng described a visit on 9 July to some friends at Caversham. He sat with them in the old gallery of their house until supper time, by moonlight, and commented on its atmosphere:
The gallery gloom may do very well for a few summer evenings and for lovers; but wou’d soon overcome the spirits of a nervous man wishing for cards and candles. As other old galleries are, so this is reported to be haunted, and that at
midnight a coach and horses without heads, scour thro’ the gallery, terrifying those that are awake, but never awaking the sleepers; as I can well testify: of this coach history the family are ignorant. – Pulleyn, a carpenter, was supposed to have been (in former times) resident in this house, and therein to have kill’d himself; he also alarms the family nightly, by working and making all kinds of hammering noises: one room is call’d Pulleyns room. (In Mr Windhams house in Norfolk, where we pass’d some weeks of last winter, is a similar story of an old woman who spins throughout the night with much noise.)

It is unusual, and rather paradoxical, to hear of a phantom coach manifesting itself indoors, but nocturnal noises are a common feature of hauntings. The house in Norfolk to which Byng alludes is Felbrigg Hall.



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