The headless revenant who carries his head under his arm is a cliché of literary ghost stories, but is less common than one might expect in folk traditions, and generally remains unexplained; at Rainham in the late twentieth century, however, Alan Bignell found a tale which accounts logically for this feature. In Tudor times a house in Rainham known as Bloor Place (which no longer exists) was the home of a certain Christopher Bloor, a notorious seducer of local women. One night as he was driving home along Bloor Lane, his coach was attacked by a crowd of local men whose wives and daughters he had disgraced, who overpowered the coachman and footman, and then dragged Bloor out of the vehicle and cut off his head. They stuck the head on a pole outside Rainham church and sent the coach with the headless corpse in it back to Bloor Place. Ever since then, it is said, a phantom coach can occasionally be seen at midnight driving down the lane from the church to Bloor Place. The horses, the coachman, and the footman are all headless; so is Christopher Bloor, sitting inside the coach, but he has retrieved his head from the churchyard, and is holding it under his arm.



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