Graded locations

Listed buildings are graded in each location in this blog. Eg. Grade I, II* II of grade I is of most importance. Grade A relates to Scotland. See BLB

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


Not for the faint of heart!

It's little wonder ghosts still haunt some places, as they still linger and fear to move on to the next world.

Only people who did heinous crimes were subjected to the most horrible of punishments in England.

In the past people craved a decent burial, but if you were tried for murder or any other heinous crime then you could find yourself gibbeted, or hanged drawn and quartered, flogged, burned alive, guillotined or pressed to death.
If you were lucky you would get off with a straight forward hanging from a long drop which brought you a quick death, alternatively if you weren't so lucky, you would be hung from a short drop where your body would have writhed about for at least and hour, you would choke and vomit yourself to death.  The innocent were also punished too. Gibbeting..hung up from a metal cage, the local blacksmith would measure you up for a gibbet cage and they would cram you in it, hang you 30 foot high off the ground then leave you to die where bits would drop off and what remained of your decomposing flesh the crows would peck off including your eyeballs.

Winter's Gibbet - - 671301
A Northumberland gibbet - stands on the site of one from which the body of William Winter, he was suspended in chains after he had been hanged at The Westgate in Newcastle. Today this grisly relic is called Winter's Gibbet.

'Gallows birds' The gibbet story of a Lincolnshire murderer 'Tom Otter' the flesh fell off his jawbone and a blue tit nested inside his mouth and had its young. The poem goes  "nine tongues within one head the tenth went out to seek for bread, to feed the living within the dead" As the old lady walked past his gibbet cage she noticed a nest of starlings in his rib cage. 44 years he was hung up in the gibbet, eventually it blew down in the wind. His bones lie buried beneath the gibbet post.  You can still hear the phantom creaking of the gibbet post and hear the rattling of chains that held up Tom Otter's gibbet cage.

The real story of Tom Otter - read on.. in the mouth of Thos. Otter, hanged in chains for the murder of his wife . . .   there is a nest containing several young birds half   fledged’  ‘It appears that, whilst the   carnivorous tomtit was feeding on the flesh of the   malefactor, he had an eye to a comfortable habitation in the vicinity of so much good cheer. . . . He actually   took possession of the dead man’s mouth, and he and   his mate brought forth a brood of young cannibals’. 

Resurrectionists by phiz

If you found yourself living rough in the sleazy part of Edinburgh in the 1700's then it wasn't a pleasant time for you, you didn't lay down to sleep without keeping one eye open because a body snatcher might be lurking round the next corner. Body snatching was rife in the area and you could have been their next victim! Body snatching and grave robbing was so bad graveyards had large walls and railings built around them, doctors would pay good money for a good supply of cadavers, they also used executed criminals for anatomical experimentation. But criminals found their own sinister methods of profiteering the business by supplying medical students with fresh bodies, so fresh in-fact they were just barely alive!  Burke and Hare were notorious body snatchers of the era, they had their own form of strangulation by restricting their victims breathing by covering the nose and mouth so as not to damage the body, the method was known as 'Burking'. Dr Knox paid up to seven pounds seven shillings for the bodies so he could carry out his 'no questions asked' work, easy money for the pair. When they did the grave robbing they would remove the body and replace it with tanning bark.  After many years the pair were found out through rumour and Burke was sentence to hang. On January 28th 1829 Burke was hanged, over 25,000 people attended the execution, the crowded cheered 'Burke him, Burke him!!"  Ironically HIS body also ended up being dissected by medical students who removed sections of his skin and bound a book with it, it is stamped on the front in gold lettering 'Burke's Skin 1829' but before dissection, Burke's corpse was put on a slab in town, a public exhibition for thousands to see and walk past at a rate of sixty people a minute. His skeleton can still be seen at Surgeon's Hall in Edinburgh along with his death mask and the life mask of is cohort Hare, but did you know, Hare got off Scot free!!

Mary I Queen of Scots

Mary Queen of Scots ghost wanders many an earthy pile, her life was taken away in 1587 by the executioners axe.
She laid down her head, putting her chin over the block with both her hands she laid there quietly, and stretching out her arms cried, "In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum" ("Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit"), she endured two strokes with the axe, making hardly a noise or moving so the executioner cut off her head, although not detaching it accurately, he lifted up her head to the view of all the assembly and bade God save the Queen. Then lifted her wig off her head, her hair appeared as grey as a women's of threescore and ten years old, cut very short, her face in a moment being so much altered from the form she had when she was alive, as few could remember her by her dead face. Her lips stirred up and a down a quarter of an hour after her head was cut off.

A very ordinary lady by the name of Margaret Clitherow who lived in York in the 1500's was found guilty of practicing Catholicism which was considered treason in that era.  She held mass in her house knowing that if the authorities found out, there would be hell to pay.  Alas one day her home was searched and chalices and vestments were found and she was arrested.  But the trial couldn't proceed because she wouldn't plead, she shouted "I need no trial!" which lead to a very barbaric death by pressing.  Only aged thirty she was laid on the floor with a stone under her back and a door place on top of her she was subjected to having heavier and heavier stones placed upon her chest until a plea was entered, the weight of the stones on  her chest became too great for the condemned lady to breathe, fatal suffocation finally occurred.  Her home is now a shrine.

If you are into gruesome stuff you may enjoy this pinterest account - warning, it has DEAD people posing as alive people ;) THE WEIRD THE WONDERFUL AND THE TABOO