'Ave ye 'eard the news about them strange goin's on over Tudhoe way, Nick!
The harvest was gathered at summer's end,
As the farmers and reapers made merry with friends,
But alas their provisions had dwindled quite thin,
So they sent simple Billy to fetch more gin.
Off he went as the sun gave its farewell,
Through Nicky-nack field on his journey pell mell*,
But one prankster aimed to startle the boy,
Dressing as a specter for nothing but toy.
Dawn broke with no sign of his soul,
Just a young shattered boy and wraith like hole,
The villagers searched with lantern and call,
But nary a trace of the missing man at all,
Years later when Autumn came 'round once more,
The miller walked home through the meadows and moor,
A figure ahead lent him haste in his tread,
Yet no matter his speed, the stranger fled.
At Nicky-Nack Bridge the phantom took flight,
Vanished without warning into the night,
Though every nook searched with diligence and care,
Of how he disappeared none could declare.
So if e'er you walk Tudhoe's haunt edged plains
Beware disappearing down its shadowed lanes
And keep to your companions after sunset
Lest spirits steal you away without reprisal or regret
*Pell Mell: very fast and not organized
Please allow me to explain...
In the latter part of the 1700's, a group of farmhands were celebrating the harvest at a local farm. When their booze ran out, they sent a mentally deficient man to procure more.
As a prank one of the men disguised himself as a ghost to frighten him upon his return to the village. Ye prankster never returned nor, did the boy...
At dawn, the trembling simpleton returned saying he saw the disguised man's white ghost be chased and carried off by a black ghost after the white ghost tried to flee. Only fragments of the sheet used in the disguise were ever found in the field.
Several years later in 1786, the village miller was walking home from Durham after dark (not nearly as intoxicated as I've been I'm sure!) . He spotted a man ahead on the road but couldn't catch up no matter how hard he tried (may have been there too!). Upon arriving at Nicky-Nack Bridge, the stranger had disappeared completely and without trace.
The origin story/myth of the Nicky-Nack ghost, (growing up as bairns) was that it was the ghost of an old miner who's decrepit hob nailed boots had seen better days. "nicky-nack, nicky-nack..." the flapping heal would sound as the miner slowly trudged to the bowels of hell each night for his shift! Some say the ghost is the devil himself!
Tudhoe Village is reputed to be one of the most haunted places in England...they have in no particular order and as well as the above:
The Green Lady of Tudhoe Old Hall and her giant pet mouse!
The Black Horse which, would rise up out of the pond and pace up and down the village when someone in the village was about to die.
The devil himself would also make a guest appearance from time to time at the blasted oak near Oak Tree House. I have no clue as to what house they are referring to or whether it even exists now?
Please leave a comment below if you have any clues? \
Thanks to the Tudhoe & Spennymoor Local History Society whom I 'repurposed/enhanced' a few of their excellent collection.
When digging around I happened upon this, I've not seen it but if anyone knows where you can please leave a message below. Cheers x