The Revd John Garnage, rector of Sedgefield, died in the second week of December 1747, about a week before the tithes payable to the incumbent fell due. It is said that his widow, who, observed William Brockie in 1886, was a woman ‘with all her wits about her’, prudently laid his body up in salt and kept it hidden until after the twentieth of the month, on which day the tithe-farmers came to pay their rents. Thus she received all the payments of the living that year, which would otherwise have gone to the Bishop of Durham, and only after the money was safe did she announce her husband’s death. Her deception did not please the ghost of the departed, however. ‘The Pickled Parson’, as he was popularly known, proceeded to haunt the parsonage and create nightly disturbances in the neighbourhood. This continued for the better part of half a century, until finally, on New Year’s morning, 1792, a fire broke out in the rectory and most of the building was destroyed. From that day on, ‘the Pickled Parson’ was never seen again.



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