The skulls still kept in some houses in Derbyshire were probably originally displayed as simple curios or perhaps (judging from the position of some of them in windows, like ‘witch-balls’) as evilaverting charms. Bones mentioned by S. O. Addy may have had a like purpose, though explained by a ghost story. In Household Tales (1895), he writes:
There is an old farmhouse in the Peak Forest, in Derbyshire, at which, it is said, there once lived two sisters who loved the same man. To put an end to their rivalry one sister murdered the other, but the dying sister said that her bones would never rest in any grave. And so it happens that her bones are kept in a ‘cheese-fat’ [vat] in the farmhouse which stands in the staircase window. If the bones are removed from the vat trouble comes upon the house, strange noises are heard at night, the cattle die, or are seized with illness.
Though he speaks of a skull rather than bones being kept here, Clarence Daniel, in Ghosts of Derbyshire (1973), identifies this unnamed farmhouse as Dunscar Farm, near Castleton. Others says the cheese vat in the staircase window was at TUNSTEAD FARM.
Haunted England : The Penguin Book of Ghosts – Written by Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson –
Copyright © Jennifer Westwood and Jacqueline Simpson 2005, 2008