This one is an epic, we thought the Ashton one was hard work but this one took over two weeks. We are really finding it hard to tell stories with no real locations but we are still trying to be inventive.
This story covers at least 3 murders, a gibbet, hanging, a pan of fat and an alien or two. Its all in Wardlow Mires and I would recommend a visit if you are ever in the Peak District.
The transcript is below
The Red Shoes And The Gibbet
Hi and welcome to our next story about the strange and bloody history of the peak district
We first came across this story from our initial look at the area for Ghostly happenings.
Wardlow Mires is found on the A623 sort of between Castleton and Bakewell
The place you are looking for is Peter’s Stone, which is a bit off the beaten track but as you can see, it is well worth visiting – note Parking is pretty limited.
So why did it attract our interest? Well, it is meant to be a pretty haunted place, so much so that people would not go there after dark and it’s also said to be the last Gibbet in Derbyshire. So that’s at least two boxes ticked, throw in the fact that we have a murder story, red shoes and an extraordinary pub that looks like it could stand-in for the Slaughtered Lamb in American Werewolf In London what’s not to love?
As always the truth isn’t really like the legend, and we have seen a lot a conflicts in the lore vs newspaper reports. We are going to present verified information from a hundred years worth of newspaper reporting on this.
Right let’s start with the Red Shoes
My mum used to warn me about red shoes – which probably explains my fascination with them and lots of other things that we won’t go into right now
Moving swiftly on, in Wardlow, there was a turnpike which was basically a toll booth, and a barrier and travellers had to pay to pass through. A bit like the M6 toll road but probably without the service stations
Around 1810 this turnpike was operated by a widow by the name of Hannah Oliver. The first thing to get straight was that this widow wasn’t an old woman, as some people have described her. Hannah Oliver was about 45 years of age and if some reports are to believed liked to have a fun time. Track down The Perambulations of Barney. The Irishman for more details – in my mind she was a MILF.
One day Hannah got a pair of red shoes specially made for her by a cobbler in a local village called Stoney Middleton. Now, this cobbler had a bit of an odd practice of placing a scroll containing some scripture inside the shoe. As it turns out, this bit is crucial, but it’s still a bit weird but remember this bit. Hannah had lovely red shoes, and I can imagine her operating the turnpike wearing her shoes and drawing attention to the fact she was wearing them. Waiting for someone to say ‘ooh they are lovely shoes, Hannah, are they new? There is no point having shoes like that if you don’t have people noticing them is there?
On a cold morning in January 1815, there was a great commotion outside of the turnpike as the barrier was down, and there was no one around to open the gate. From reports, the barmaid from the local pub went into the house and found Hannah dead. The points that everyone seems to agree on is that she was strangled and money and other items, including the shoes, were missing. The bits that aren’t mentioned widely apart from a couple of newspaper reports is that she was tied to her chair and her head was fastened back. Put this way, it looks more like a robbery gone wrong than a straight forward murder.
It is also reported that she had a relationship with her murderer, she used to give him money, and it was when she stopped this that the murder happened.
On with the story, in the local village, there was a young woman who was with child, and she was visited soon after the murder by the child’s father with some gifts and a proposal. The gifts included money and a pair of red shoes, and the proposal was the usual thing of blaming the child on another poor lad. It seems that she agreed to this and skipped off with her new shoes and some cash probably to break the news of fatherhood to some unsuspecting bloke in the village. I don’t know the name of the girl involved, but the lad was called Anthony Lingard, and he was aged 21.
News soon caught up with the girl about the murder of the widow in the turnpike and the missing red shoes. At this point, she must have put two and two together and decided to return the shoes to Anthony Lingard pretty sharpish. He tried to talk his way out of this by saying that he swapped a pair of stockings for them, but she was having none of it and Anthony was left holding the baby as it were.
Eventually, the law caught up with Anthony Lingard, and he was arrested and put on trial for the murder of Hannah Oliver in derby assises. I have seen numerous accounts of how he got arrested ranging from the girl actually dobbing him in, to a possibly better story of her being seen wearing the shoes and when she was questioned about it, she blamed Anthony Lingard for giving them to her.
What does seem to be clear is that she and the cobbler were witnesses for the prosecution. The cobbler proved that the shoes were Hannahs because remember the bit earlier, he told the court to look in the shoes for the parchment. They did and found a piece of paper which bore the words “commit no crimes” hidden in the shoe.
So finding him guilty, Lingard was sentenced to death by Hanging in Derby and from all accounts eventually came to terms with his fate and even forgave the girl for basically turning him in and being a witness against him. Don’t think I would have. The judge, before leaving added one more kick in the crotch by declaring that after his death, his body should be hung in a spot close to the location where the murder had been committed. I suppose that being hung is bad enough news but somehow being told that your body is meant to be hung from a pole adds a bit of a sting.
Lingard was hung in Derby, and his body was conveyed to Wardlow mires to be put in the Gibbet. At this point, I think I need to highlight the cost of all this. To me, we are in the times that a few pence was a weekly wage and families sat down for a Sunday lunch of an enormous turnip or something. This whole investigation, court, hanging and gibbet thing cost over 100 quid. A 100 quid! It cost 10 quid just to move the body from Derby to Wardlow.
One reason for the gibbet was that really they were massively popular. Literally, thousands of people turned up to see it, they had Punch and Judy stalls, Hog Roasts everything for a fun day out for all the family. This gibbet was so popular that the local minister is reported to have given up holding his sermon in his empty local church and instead started preaching from the top of the mound. If they had charged people then perhaps they won’t have been 100 quid out of pocket.
The draw of the gibbet was strong – there are loads of newspapers with letters to the editor from some bloke saying when I was a lad my dad took me to see the gibbet, and I always wondered what the crime was etc.
The other reason for a gibbet was that they were to be a deterrent to others.
This plan didn’t work if you take these two examples into account. Hannah Bocking was a 16-year-old girl who by all accounts, had a dark personality. She was insanely jealous of another young girl in the village by the name of Jane Grant who lived with Hannah’s grandfather-in-law as a servant. This seems to have annoyed Hannah as for some reason, she had been turned away from that family in the past. Hannah decided to do away with Jane by poisoning her and so obtained arsenic and baked it into a cake. She gave the cake to the girl as part of a trip out to pick flowers and see the cows in the field where the gibbet with the remains of Anthony Lingard was still swinging in the breeze. The girl ate the cake and died soon after but not before putting the blame on Hannah.
Hannah was arrested and tried in Derby, found guilty and was hung, one of the youngest people to be executed in the country.
The next tale of the lack of impact involves the younger brother of Anthony Lingard, who almost followed his brother with a sentence of death following being arrested on a charge of highway robbery. I say almost because I can find the record of the death sentence but no history of it being carried out. Some say that he was transported to the colonies.
Another small note about the crime – highway robbery conjures up the vision of Dick Turpin and coaches being robbed, dancing in the moonlight with pretty damsels. Well, it wasn’t that. Basically, he and his friend robbed a bloke coming out of a pub. As it was near a road, it was classed as highway robbery. How much did he steal I hear you say for him to be hung for such a crime? About 2 quid. I think the only thing that shocked me more was finding out that someone was being hung for bestiality just after him. I bet that guy was embarrassed on so many levels.
Some more bonus facts about gibbets, firstly there is a report that when the gibbet was finally taken down and his remains removed, someone wrote to the papers reporting that the skull ended up in Belle Vue, Manchester. I have also seen that confirmed in a scientific paper – I have a fascination with Belle Vue from when I was a child and also some form of compulsion that makes me want to find the final resting place of those we investigate. I will find out more and maybe we will be able to do a video about belle vues macabre history
It seems that the common practice was to cover the bodies in tar before popping them into the gibbet to make them last longer. That didn’t work out too well for three bodies hanging in Chevin near Duffield as one night someone set fire to the tar-covered remains, and the villagers were given the spectacle of 3 giant tar candles burning throughout the night. It is said that the tar burned so well that only the chains remained when the fire went out.
Usually, you were dead when you went in the gibbet, but this wasn’t always the case. In Baslow, near Bakewell, there lived an old woman who was minding her own business cooking some bacon for her breakfast in a pan when a beggar asked her for some spare hot fat. She responded that she had none spare for the likes of him which angered him and shouting you have it all then, he killed her by pouring the hot fat down her throat. This crime was considered so horrible it was decided to sentence him to be gibbetted alive. He was left in a gibbet to die and had nearly done so when the story goes that a baker passed by the gibbet and offered him some bread. This seems to have had two impacts – it revived the poor sod and started a series of wails and screams so great that the local Earl heard them and got an Act Of Parliament passed to stop live gibbetting ever happening again. The other impact was that the poor baker had to flee the village if not the country. There is a moral here – I think its don’t give your bread to someone in a gibbet.
So lets recap, we have a murder, red shoes, strange pub, hanging and a gibbet – what are we missing? Oh yes, the ghosts which let’s face it was the main reason we started this.
Ok ghosts and the Wardlow gibbet. You are going to hate me – if you like ghost stories, don’t listen to this bit, put your fingers in your ears, and I will tell you when to listen again.
The ghost story is two-fold, the noises from the location upset people, the noises were described as a wind like wailing or creaking metal. – erm it’s a dead body in a basket made of metal it’s going to make noise while it’s up and from what I can find it was in place for over eight years following the crime. The other bit is that at night, people were scared by a spate of spooky happenings, which involved them having something splashed in their face or hearing scary noises. That sounded hopeful until I found a report in the 1920s which has these jolly japes being attributed to bored locals looking for a bit of fun and this activity happened at lots of gibbet locations. It’s true what they say the devil does find work for idle hands.
Right ghost followers – you can listen again
I think that’s covered everything apart from the Xfiles or Cyril fletcher bit.
There are lots of prehistoric areas around the peaks, but Wardlow seems to have been a special place in its time
While building the toll road that started all this, the workmen discovered one of the most important barrows ever found in the UK, and indeed I believe only 3 of these have ever been uncovered.
The barrow contained 17 skeletons arranged in a sort of spoke arrangement circling a central stone area. The bodies were placed on large flat stones, and in the centre, there was a long chest with to other bodies in it. The coffins were 2 feet deep, and nearly 8 feet long – remember that bit.
Later someone called Bateman excavated another barrow known locally as ‘RollingHill.’. When they opened this barrow, they found two urns and 3 skeletons in oblong coffins. Now, these skeletons were of a, and I quote, great dimension and gigantic stature. One of the skeletons was in a sitting position.
All this stuff is supposed to be part of the Bateman collection in Sheffield, and I have purchased his two books cataloguing his finds. I will be wading
Of course, I am now convinced that Wardlow was actually an alien colony started by Ridlays Scotts engineers from the alien series and the skeleton found sitting up was actually the jockey pilot from the first alien film. You heard it here first………
And that’s it for this week, if you enjoyed the video please hit like and if you would like to leave a comment we would love to hear from you