Ghostly Tale

A spooky story of grave goings-on

This article appeared in the Leicester Mercury (2.5.95) by Greg. Drozdz
In the 1830's there was a great stir in the district concerning grave robbers and the appearance of the ghost of a white lady in Dadlington.
The story is told that a beautiful young girl from Dadlington fell in love with a local farmer. This was not to her parents' liking as they had high hopes that she would marry into one of the landed families of the county. Against her parents wishes, the girl married her true love but was cut off from the family. After a year of marriage, disaster struck when the farmer died. The girl died shortly after from a broken heart, and was buried with her husband. The parents felt great remorse and decided that if in life they could not make amends, they could do so in death.
They hired four roughs from Hinckley to dig up her body in Dadlington Churchyard, under the cover of darkness and transfer it to their family plot in the same Churchyard. On a moonless night the men undertook the task, their grim shadows playing on the church walls from the light of their lamps. They had perhaps imbibed a little before undertaking the ride to Dadlington - a little bit of Dutch courage needed to perform the grisly task. However their work was clumsy, for in the light of day, the villagers found broken bits of the coffin strewn all over the churchyard.
Village gossip was full of nocturnal mystery, with many conjecturing as to the meaning of the debris in the churchyard. The four roughs laid low and kept their silence but they were troubled by the stories. They could not, however, hold their silence any longer and set out for the village one evening to listen to the stories that were being told.
They were making their way home by horse and cart, when on approaching the turn for Hinckley and Stoke Golding, their path was blocked by a white lady on a white horse. To their horror they recognised the face of the dead woman whose corpse they had so recently moved. Gripped by fear they watched as the horse bolted and jumped a hedge into an arable field and disappeared.
Had the young lady resented the interference with her mortal remains? Was she seeking, in spirit, once again, to flee those who had disowned her? We shall never know.
The story of the graveyard marauders was told by one of their number to the local historian Tom Harrold who wrote the story down. Modern travellers to Dadlington by night, should beware of the beautiful white lady on a dashing white steed.
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