A Suffolk Ghost Story from the 1660s

Browsing the British Newspaper Archive looking for Manchester stories, couldn’t resist sharing this one – not from Manchester but fascinating all the same, particularly in vew of its date.

Manchester Mercury – Tuesday 25 February 1823


Mr Editor, The subjoined wonderful narrative is a copy of a very scarce tract in possession of a friend of mine in Suffolk. At this season of the year it may possibly amuse some of our fire-side readers. I am, &c. B.C.

Of a Dutchman that could see Ghosts, and of a ghost he saw in the town of Woodbridge, Suffolk.

Mr. Broom, the Minister of Woodbridge, in Suffolk, meeting one day in a barber’s shop in that town, a Dutch Lieutenant, (who was blown up with Opdam, and taken alive out of the water, and carried to that town, where he was a prisoner at large;) upon the occasion of some discourse, was told by him that he could see ghosts, and that he had seen divers. Mr. Broom rebuking him for talking idly, he persisted in it very stiffly.

Some days after, lighting upon him again, he asked him whether had seen any Ghost since his coming to that town? To which he replied, no.

But not long after this as they were walking together up the town, he said to Mr. Broom, yonder comes a ghost. He seeing nothing, asked him whereabouts it was? The other said, it is over against such a house, and it walks looking upward towards such a side, flirting one arm with a glove in its hand. He said moreover, when it came near them, they must give way to it; that he ever did so, and some that had not done so had suffered for it.

Anon he said, ‘tis upon us, let’s out of the way. Mr. Broom, believing all to be a fiction, as soon as he said those words, he took hold of his arm, and kept him by force in the way; but as he held him, there came such a force against them, that he was flung into the middle of the street, and one of the palms of his hands and one knee bruised and broken by the fall, which put him for a while to excessive pain.

But spying the Lieutenant laying like a dead man, he got up as soon as he could, and applied himself to his relief. With the help of others, he got him into the next shop, where they poured strong water down his throat, but for some time could discover no life in him. At length, what with the strong water, and what with well chafing him, he began to stir; and when he was come to himself, his first words were, “I will shew you no more ghosts.” Then he desired a pipe of tobacco ; but Mr. Broom told him he should take it at his house; for he feared, should he take it so soon there, it would make him sick.

Thereupon they went together to Mr. Broom’s house, where they were no sooner entering in, but the bell rang out. Mr. Broom presently sent his maid to learn who was dead. She brought word it was such an one, a tailor, who died suddenly, though he had been in a consumption a long time. And enquiring after the time of his death, they found it was as punctually as it could be guessed at the very time when the ghost appeared. The ghost had exactly this tailor’s known gait, who ordinarily went also with one arm swinging, and glove in that hand, and looking on one side upwards.

This relation was sent to Dr H. More from Mr. Edward Fowler; at the end whereof he writes, that Dr. Burton, as well as himself, heard it from Mr Broom’s own mouth. And I can add, that I also afterwards heard it from his own mouth in London.

(The defence of Opdam occurred in the year 1665, and as peace was signed between England, Holland and France in 1667, we may presume, that the event here recorded took place within that period.)

© 2016 Findmypast Newspaper Archive Limited


About LancashireFolk

Lancashire folklore, legends, ghosts, local history - author of 'Lancashire Folk' published by Schiffer Publishing 2016 - 9780764349836 £19.50. Please visit www.foliatehead.com to see upcoming books. The Enchanted Valley and Manchester Folk will be published in 2020. Cumbria Folk almost ready!
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3 Responses to A Suffolk Ghost Story from the 1660s

  1. simonjkyte says:

    many thought that year was going to be the end of the world


  2. Very cool. I always love a good ghost story! Thanks for sharing this!


  3. Great story, and not surprising at Woodbridge – lots of weird stories come from that place, not to mention the famous UFO encounter we were discussing the other night!


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