According to a tale recorded in 1936, there was once a certain Squire Fulford who haunted Fulford House ‘because they didn’t bury he proper, where he’d wished’. A parson advised them: ‘You must take up old Squire and bury he in the sand down by the river, and you must bind he down wi’ straw beens [binds].’ And so they did, ‘but every night he takes one cockstride nearer Fulford House. And I suppose one night he’ll get back there again,’ said the local narrator. ‘Anyone can see him at 12 o’clock at night, for I expect it goes on just the same.’

This tale ingeniously combines the motif of a corpse or a skull which refuses to lie in a churchyard and insists on some peculiar resting place, with that of a banishment from which the dead man returns at the rate of one cockstride a year. Theo Brown doubted that the squire’s body was reburied in the sand; she thought that ‘judging by other stories, it was more likely his clothes and personal belongings, which, if left in the house, were supposed to attract the spirit home.’ She was probably referring to the story of Mr Lyde’s ghost at SALCOMBE REGIS.



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