A notable sight in this village is the isolated grave of Samuel ‘Maggoty’ Johnson, a playwright and music master of the eighteenth century, whose eccentricities won him his nickname (the equivalent, in the slang of the time, to ‘batty’ or ‘nutty’). He was also employed as a jester at the local Old Hall – probably the last professional domestic jester in England. When he died in 1773, he was buried, at his own request, in a little wood rather than in the village churchyard; the lengthy inscription on the tombstone is his own composition. Understandably, there is a local tradition that his ghost can be seen. A twentieth-century sexton reported meeting him one moonlight night riding a white horse, and followed him through the wood towards the grave; he was just in time to hear the bump of the gravestone thudding back into place once Maggoty was inside.



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