Not very dissimilar, apparently, from the barghest or boggart, is the pad-foot or supernatural dog, sheep, or animal of somewhat similar description, in the Leeds district. It belongs to the same type of superstition and possesses analogous characteristics.

The hearing or seeing of a pad-foot were said to betoken of a death in the family of that person. There was apparently one to a place or locality. A description of the pad-foot is found in The dialect of Leeds and its neighbourhood:

It is said to have been customary with it to pace in front of a house where a death was soon to happen; and a frequent employment was to meet those who were going to a sick person's house by night, and go before them to the door where the noise of its step would cease. It was said to be sometimes invisible, but at other times both to be seen as well as heard, padding lightly in the rear of persons, and within a stretch of thought would be in front of them, at their side, or in the distance. It is said too to have "roared," — the noise made being totally unlike that made by any other animal. It was in size said to be somewhat larger than a sheep, and to be long and smooth-haired. Sometimes the trail of a chain would be heard accompanying the light, quick pad of the feet; but at all times when "t' padfoit" was abroad, few dared venture out to any distance at nights.

The Padfoot is also described as about the size of a small donkey, black, with shaggy hair and large eyes like saucers; others say that it is somewhat larger than a sheep, with long smooth hair. It is better to leave it alone, for a word or a blow gave it power over you.



  • Hazlitt, W. Carew. (1905). Faith and Folklore. 2 vols. London: Reeves and Turner, p. 2:470.
  • Henderson, W. (1879). Notes on the folk-lore of the northern countries of England and the borders. Covent Garden: W. Satchell, Peyton and Co., pp. 273-274.
  • Robinson, C. Clough. (1862). The dialect of Leeds and its neighbourhood. London: J.R. Smith, pp. 380-381.