Sexhow Ghost

An old woman of Sexhow, near Stokesley, appeared after her death to a farmer of the place, and informed him that, beneath a certain tree in his apple orchard, he would find a hoard of gold and silver which she had buried there. He was to take a spade and dig it up, keep the silver for his trouble, but give the gold to a niece of hers who was then living in great poverty, and whose place of abode she pointed out. At daybreak after his dream or vision, the farmer went to the spot indicated, dug and found the treasure, but kept it all to himself, though the sum allotted to him was considerable, and might have satisfied him.

From that day, however, he never knew rest or happiness. Though a sober man before, he took to drinking, but all in vain — his conscience gave him no rest. Every night, at home or abroad, old Nannie's ghost failed not to dog his steps, and reproach him with his faithlessness. At last, one Saturday evening, the neighbors heard him returning from Stokesley Market very late; his horse was galloping furiously, and as he left the high road to go into the lane which led to his own house he never stopped to open the gate at the entrance of the lane but cleared it with a bound. As he passed a neighbor's house, its inmates heard him screaming out, I will—I will—I will! and looking out they saw a little old woman in black, with a large straw hat on her head, whom they recognized as old Nannie, seated behind the terrified man on the runaway nag, and clinging to him closely. The farmer's hat was off, his hair stood on end, as he fled past them, uttering his fearful cry, I will—I will—I will! But when the horse reached the farm all was still, for the rider was a corpse.



  • 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. 321-322.

This article incorporates text from Notes on the folk-lore of the northern countries of England and the borders (1879) by William Henderson, which is in the public domain.