How You Can Help

As I regard this website as a perpetual work-in-progress and intend it to be a comprehensive resource for folklore connected with the Lower Calder Valley, I welcome any contributions you might be able to make, from personal experiences to newspaper cuttings or other references I might have overlooked.

I would also be interested in hearing from anybody who was involved in the original cases I have described to learn how they feel about the events now, or anybody who currently occupies any of the buildings mentioned to discover if the associated tradition persists.

I cannot promise to include such information on the website – that decision will depend upon the substance of each individual story – but I am nevertheless interested in hearing any story you think might be relevant.

I should clarify that I am not a paranormal investigator. I do not make any claims regarding the existence or otherwise of supernatural phenomena. I seek merely to collect and record examples of folk belief in my local area.

If you think you have any information that might intrigue me, you can either enter it in the comment box on this page below or in the comment boxes below the entry for the site to which your story is connected. Alternatively, you can email me privately at moths.galore(NO SPAM) (remove the brackets and “NO SPAM” clause first).

A list of topics in which I am particularly interested:

  • Any information pertaining to a human skull discovered during renovations at Sowood House on Denholme Gate Road in Coley in the late 1960s.
  • Any personal experiences related to Robin Hood’s Grave and Kirklees Park.
  • Any information regarding the history of Ellen Royde and the Boggart Chair.
  • I have seen passing references to hauntings at The Black Swan pub in Brighouse, Highley Hall at Clifton and The Manor House pub at Southowram. If you have any information regarding ghosts at these locations or ideally, if you could direct me to the newspaper articles in which they’re mentioned, I would be very grateful.
Published on May 19, 2010 at 14:30  Comments (12)  

12 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Liked your Robin Hood stuff–Barbara

  2. I live in Rastrick and the area I am in is very haunted and I have traced back to the 1800s but found nothing but if you’re interested in discussing this further with me or my neighbour please email me


  3. Dear Kai—sorry to put this here but I have lost you e mail address since I got my nre computer.Have you read this–I am going to get in touch with David Hinchcliffe–thsi coincides with the mysterious abandonment of tjhe Redmonkey film, and I think I know who is behind the Notts thing at least. Drew said ages ago it was both KIRKLEES AND NOTTS wanting to keep things as they are for “bigger reasons”—also I have not read the book piblished in 2001 or even heard of it!

    Nottingham Fanatics wanted to kill MP

    ROBIN Hood fanatics threatened to kill Wakefield MP David Hinchliffe over his campaign to rewrite the legend, he revealed this week.

    Mr Hinchliffe received a number of anonymous death threats from angry Nottinghamshire residents after he called for recognition of Robin Hood’s Wakefield links last year.

    He said: “I have had various anonymous letters threatening all sorts of things in my time, you expect that in politics.

    “But there were some pretty nasty, vicious letters from Nottinghamshire threatening me and my family. Some of them said things like I would be struck down with illness.”

    Mr Hinchliffe, 56, who is set to retire from politics at the next general election, sparked controversy when he questioned Nottingham’s right to the Robin Hood myth.

    He said the Merrie City had more of a claim to the legendary hero, and it was unfair that roads into Nottingham displayed signs saying ‘Welcome to Robin Hood Country.’

    He even took his crusade to parliament by tabling a House of Commons motion ridiculing Nottingham’s Robin Hood associations. He said the historical Robin Hood was probably Robin Hode, a 14th century forester from Wakefield. During a later appearance on the Richard and Judy television programme to discuss the issue, Mr Hinchliffe said he was confronted by a fellow guest.

    He said: “I was on there with a guy dressed as Robin Hood, who was obviously there to defend Nottingham. He threatened to hit me. I still think we’ve got a credible case, but some people take these things so seriously.

    “I think it was just as a result of there being so much publicity about it. I didn’t report it to police – I’ve only ever done that once and I thought this was pretty harmless.”

    l David Hinchliffe will stand down at the next general election – for a profile of his career, see page 32.






  4. ps It was in 2005 we did the Redmonkey film which at the same time was shelved. I nevr had any death threats from Notts but soem pretty nasty insults. I think I know who it will have been!

  5. Dear Kai,
    I see you have a new book about soon called Huanted Huddersfield. Have you finished the book or are you still collecting stories? There is an intriguing account by a police officer in Outlane back in the 1960s. I included it in my recent book The Police and the Paranormal. I can send you details of the sighting, if you don’t have them already.
    Best wishes,
    Andy Owens

    • Many thanks for the offer, Andy, but I submitted the manuscript last month. I may have already come across the case and included it though – is it Phil Clay’s experience on the road past Nont Sarah’s?

      “The Police & the Paranormal” looks like a very interesting conceit for a book and I shall have to get a copy once my finances have recovered from the Christmas onslaught.

      I also see that you’re a fellow CFZ Press author. My first book, “Grave Concerns: The Follies and Folklore of Robin Hood’s Final Resting Place” was just published by them a couple of weeks ago.


  6. i worked on the renovations at Scout Hall,Shibden in the eighties,and have quite a few spooky tales to tell

  7. We used to live at Ellen Royd, Midgley. It might be helpful to know that the previous name for Ellen Royd was Boggard House (sic): a tombstone in Luddenden Churchyard commemorates one William Oddie of Boggard House – I’m afraid I can’t remember the date of this, 16 or early 17th century? So the name stretches back some time. We were told that the boggart stone or chair, formerly in the garden of Ellen Royd, was identified as a broken Saxon font and relocated to Luddenden church. I don’t have absolute provenance for this, but a font of this nature is to be found in the church. It may be that Ellen Royd was the site of an earlier church in the area, being on higher and dryer ground than Luddenden, and acquired spirit-legends often associated with religious sites. Certainly the headless horseman was supposed to ride up Ellen Royd (or Boggard!) Lane on All Souls Night. Hope this is useful…

    • Thanks for your comment Penny. I’d come across the previous name for Midgley’s Ellen Royd before. There a lot of detail about the house in the 1928 Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society. The Elland legend definitely seems to have been imported from Midgley, although whether accidentally or deliberately is impossible to tell. A full discussion of my findings regarding this confusion will actually soon appear in the next issue of Northern Earth Magazine (see for details)

      However, I’ve never heard of that particular headless horseman before, so I’m particularly grateful for that information. There are no shortage of such ghosts in the Calder Valley but I think the nearest one I’d come across was supposed to ride between Mayroyd House at Hebden Bridge and Broadbottom Farm at Mytholmroyd. Can you recall if there was any legend attached to the Ellen Royd Lane horseman: who it was supposed to be, why he rode, etc?

  8. Hi! no, sorry, all we ever knew about the headless horseman was his alleged route up Ellen Royd Lane and, of course, his association with Hallowe’en. To substantiate the possibility that this might have been the site of a very early church – when we first moved in, workmen were searching around for loose stones to mend a boundary wall and came up with what was indistinguishable from an early holy water stoop. So two bits of ecclesiastical stonework seem to have been found on one site. In addition, the house borders onto Kershaw -or church copse. Which many have assumed to refer to Luddenden church, but reference to Kershaw predates the church at Luddenden by centuries. But it’s all conjecture on our part, of course…lovely house, we miss it greatly.

    • Thanks for your reply. I shall certainly now be looking out for further details about the headless horseman and will let you know if I come across anything. Thanks also for further information about the possibility of Ellen Royd being the site of an early church. I seem to recall that the discovery of the font there in the 18th or 19th Century was attributed to it have being taken there from Luddenden church after it was sacked by Roundheads during the Civil War, but that may just be a later legend. The fact that you found further ecclesiastic items and connection to Kershaw is certainly suggestive. If Ellen Royd was the site of an early, possibly deconsecrated and forgotten church, it would (as you say) explain how it came to be known as a “boggart house”. This would be especially true if evidence of burials were ever found there, as unconsecrated and ancient graves were firmly associated with post-mortem return throughout the medieval and early modern period.

  9. Hi
    I was googling “Elland Hall” because my late mother’s famiily farmed there at one time – before her own lifetime. Their name was Watson. She used to say that they left before the war (presumably the First World War) over a disputed rent increase but should have swallowed the rise as farmers made a lot of money in the war. My only reason for telling you this is that I read the story above about the moving fireplace. As a child, I had a recurring nightmare – which turned my blood cold and never failed to wake me – in which not specifically a fireplace but a sunken room, entered by a short flight of four or five steps, used to jump to one side and then resume its original position. I couldn’t see what moved specifically – the back wall (out of site in the darkness – would be as close as I could come to anything precise. Why this imagined occurrence should be terrifying as well as odd, and where such a thought came from, I don’t know. But I was reminded of the dream by your story of the moving fireplace and the hidden room. I also google about this topic very occasionally in search of a clue to the Hounsfield family who married into the Watsons and gave me my middle name (I am Paul Hounsfield Turner) – and for the same reason – the intermarrying – my maternal grandfather was James Hounsfield Watson. He later worked on the farm at Harewood House and along with his wife Edith (nee Booth) is among the faces in the large staff photo taken in the 1950s of all the workers on the estate. Finally, my family has a small painting of Elland Hall to help show that this is true.

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