One of Charlotte Burne’s elderly informants told how a certain squire in days long past fell to his death from an upper window of Millichope Hall, causing an indelible bloodstain on the ground below. Moreover, for some reason his estate ‘didna go to the right heir’. And so the old squire ‘came again’ – and, said the informant in low and solemn tones, ‘The form as he come in was that of a flayed bull!’

Spectral cattle are mentioned fairly frequently in other counties too, either as the ghosts of humans or, more commonly, as supernatural creatures in their own right, but the gruesome idea that the creature is flayed seems to be a Shropshire speciality, found also in some versions of the BAGBURY legend. To find parallels one must go to Scotland or Scandinavia.



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