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Collecting folklore in the late nineteenth century, Charlotte Burne encountered a curious tradition at Fitz, which combines horror with grotesque humour. There was once a lady at Fitz who was buried with all her jewels, and a wicked parish clerk who opened the grave to steal them. The lady (unlike the heroines of other versions of this tale such as that told at STANTON ST BERNARD, Wiltshire) was well and truly dead, and did not revive. But from then on her ghost haunted the clerk, whose name was Holbeach (locally pronounced ‘Obitch’), in the form of a spectral colt. The first time he saw it he fell to his knees in terror, crying, ‘Abide, Satan, abide! I am a righteous man and a psalm-singer!’ Then the colt grew bolder, getting in front of him when he wanted to cross a stile, as if to force him to get on its back, so that he had no peace, and gradually lost his wits. Even after Holbeach was dead, ‘Obitch’s colt’ continued to walk in Cutberry Hollow.



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

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