The new video is up and this is one of our favourite stories.
It has a werewolf in it and you don’t get many of them these days so we had to do something with it. Of course thinking about something doesn’t always help when you try to visualise it and this video is one of the ones that make us think that this really isn’t worth it.
Anyway we have done the best we can and its a long one so please bear with it – it has political intrigue as well.
Full transcript below
Behind me is the site of Ashton Old Hall and this was Built on the site of an earlier fort, Ashton Old Hall dates to the 11th century and at some point had dungeons
The hall was refurbished in 1840 and was used as a stop off for the Earl of Stamford and Warrington when he visited the grouse moors in Stalybridge. It was finally demolished in the 1900s
The first story about Ashton Old Hall happened in the 12th Century. This concerns the werewolf, Henry the 2nd, Prince Henry his son, and a bunch of monks from Wales
It seems that part of Glossop was given to the Welsh monks of Basingwerke who collected their dues on the Monks Road. It was here that the villagers asked the Abbot to help them with a shape-shifting witch who was terrorising the neighbourhood. The Abbot proclaimed that whatever shape the witch was in, at that moment, she would remain in until she died.
It was a good idea, generally. Apart from the teeny weeny problem that the witch was in the current form of a giant werewolf. If she been the shape of a fluffy bunny or a little mouse, then it would have worked.
From here the legend gets a bit fuzzy. Some versions say that the King, his son and the hunting party got wind of this and decided to hunt the werewolf down and then we have the other option that the king is out for a hunt in Longdendale, and they come across it. To put this all in perspective The Forest of High Peak was, in medieval times, a moorland forest covering most of the north west of Derbyshire, It was a royal hunting reserve, administered at one time by William Peverel, a follower of William I, who was based at Peveril castle in castleton
It probably doesn’t make a difference to the story as the essential bit is, when he gets there young Prince Henry gets separated from the rest of the hunting party and comes across the werewolf shaped witch. A fight ensues, and the prince is close to being defeated by the beast when the Baron of Ashton comes across the pair and manages to kill the werewolf and save the prince.
Everyone is pleased with the outcome, and the Baron invites them all back to his place for a slap-up meal, and the King offers the baron the prize of the werewolf’s head, to hang on his wall like you do.
When they get the body back to Ashton Old Hall, they discover, after cutting her open, 3 babies heads, that she ate that morning.
What I found interesting is no one mentions the wounds to the prince – if we follow the lore he must have been bitten and so must have been a werewolf after his encounter unless werewitchwolves don’t count. The other odd thing seems to be that it appears to link to the Dr Who Episode about the werewolf and Queen Victoria. What are the BBC not telling us?
Looking briefly at the prince’s life after this attack, we can see that he ended up being a champion on the battlefield and at tournaments both in England and abroad. He was known as the young king and started a rebellion against his father and his brother, Richard the Lionheart. No one had ever seen a knight so war-like. How did he become so good at fighting? Why didn’t they let him become King? He was the rightful King after his father. What were they keeping out of the Royal bloodline? He never had any children. Prince Henry was found dead one night, naked in front of a crucifix. His father, the King, refused to see him.
Now we move to the other legend of Ashton Old Hall, Robert Assheton commonly known as the Black Knight. This is set in the 15th Century, 400 years later.
Now we don’t want to become the history channel, but there are a few bits about the Black Knight that just don’t seem right.
The Black Knight was given Ashton during the reign of Richard the Third as he seemed to be a good friend of the King and he had helped him get the throne. The rumours were that the Black knight was an evil person in Ashton, but it doesn’t seem that he was the same in Middleton. They loved him there. Every year, in the spring, the story is that the Knight would ride around Ashton and if he found a weed growing in any field he would put the tenant in a barrel with nails on the inside and push the poor tenant down the hill at crickets lane – this is the lane as it looks today. We have never heard of that punishment before, and it seems quite rare and only really appears in the Fairy Tale of the goose girl. We did try to search for it on google, but some of the sites offered were a little risqué, so we left it at that. I would not recommend searching for it
A popular rhyme at the time was supposedly
“Sweet Jesu for thy mercies sake
and for thy bitter passion
Save us from the axe of the tower
And from Sir Ralph of Assheton’
So he was a bad man and bad enough to have a poem written about him, but I really don’t know why the peasants of Ashton would be worried about being beheaded in the tower of London over things that would happen locally. When did that happen?
We initially hoped we could tie the Black Knight to the reports of the Ghost Rider in Luzley, but as we said in video 5, we cannot find out how or when he died. As far as we can see, he died because he was shot by unknown assailants, shot by a relative or shot by a wronged woman. As to the location of death, you can choose Ashton or Middleton or anything else in between. I do find it odd that such a significant figure in history just disappears. Well it was strange until I put 2 and 2 together
If the Black Knight was a good friend of Richard the Third it makes sense that all records of him disappeared when Richard died at the battle of Bosworth the timings seem to match at least. If the Tudors can make everyone believe that Richard was a deformed hunchback, I am sure they could change the story to make it look like the Black Knight was a representative of Satan in Ashton. Even Blackadder mentions that Henry the Seventh was one of the biggest liars around, even worse than saint Ralph the Liar
This leads us nicely to our last story about the Black Knight from John Roby’s Traditions of Lancashire.
So let’s start with the concept of a heriot, and I don’t mean the friendly vets in the Yorkshire Dales. No, this was more of a death tax. In the middle ages, if you popped your clogs, your widow or family not only had to deal with you dying but also had to pay tribute to the lord of your land.
It was one Christmas just before a large Yule dinner that our tale begins and the Black Knight decided to pay a festive visit to a widow in Ashton and remind her that she had not paid her Heriot yet. The poor woman was finding it hard to support her 4 young children and an eldest child who seems to be best described as having learning difficulties. The knight wasn’t really interested in her pleas and told her to bring the one remaining cow to his Hall by tomorrow
It was then that the oldest child asked the Knight if he was prepared to pay his Heriot to his master soon.
The knight was a bit taken aback by someone asking him a question, especially something as strange as that and could only just ask who was the master that the boy was talking about
The boy responded simply Satan
This answer had a profound impact on the knight who turned a shade of pale grey and stormed out of the cottage.
He went back to the hall where the merriment was in full swing, and at some point in the party, a strange small person covered in a cloak joined the group of festive well-wishers. This little chap seemed to have a liking for slapstick and practical jokes and eventually ended up pushing the knight over. The room went silent, and soon, the only noise was the strange sound of laughing from the little fellow who now appeared to have a pointed tail peeking out of his cloak.
The knight went red in the face, and what follows can only be described as a BennyHill style chase around the hall, with the knight swinging and missing the small guest. It is mentioned that while the knight missed the mischievous character, he managed to hit and knock over most of his other guests.
Eventually, the guest threw off his cloak and scampered up to one of the ledges on the top of the hall, safely out of reach of the bellowing knight and his club.
In a screechy voice, the imp said to the knight ‘Yout heriot is your soul and we will collect this Easter.’
It is said that on hearing this, the knight left the field of battle for the first time in his life and left the hall to his half unconscious guests and the crackling imp
The black knight from all accounts that we can find died at Easter