In 1922, the writer Alfred Williams, describing the countryside of this area, mentioned a story of ghost-laying which provides a humorous variation on this popular theme. At one time, it is said, the people of Highworth were troubled by the ghost of their late landowner, Squire Crowdy, who would roam the streets at midnight with a rope round his neck, or noisily drag a coach round the yard of the manor house. The vicar, together with a bailiff and some jurymen, went to the empty house to conduct an exorcism, but the ghost proved obstinate; it would only submit if it were laid in a barrel of cider and allowed to remain there. So that was done; Squire Crowdy’s ghost was sealed up in a barrel in his own cellar, and the cellar securely bricked up.



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