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29 Oct: A chilling tale from a Cromer church

Here is a chilling tale told by author Walter Rye in his book Cromer Past and Present, published in 1899, of a grisly ghost seen at the dead of night.

The tale is set in the churchyard of St Peter and St Paul’s which was built in the 15th century but by the end of the 17th century was partially ruined. Before it was rebuilt, the churchyard was used by the townspeople as common land (during this time, hedgehogs were bought at a cost of four pence each to keep down the ‘vermin’) and this sighting was on a path made across the ruined chancel.

St Peter and St Paul, Cromer. CREDIT: Siofra Connor

'This path, now happily closed, was not much used after sunset, for the old ruins are an eerie place after dark and there is more than one ghost story lingering about them,' wrote Rye, who penned more than 80 works on Norfolk.

“An old man I employed some years ago to clear away some of the rubbish, told me that not long ago, as he was crossing the chancel at night, a little child-like figure, dressed in white, arose from the ground within an arms-length of him, and gradually increased in height till its face was level with his and that then, all of a sudden, a great gash appeared across its throat, the blood poured down in a great torrent over its white clothes, and it vanished in a flash leaving a sighing sound in his ears”.

In addition to the terrifying blood-soaked ghost, there was also said to be a smuggler's tunnel linking St Peter and St Paul to Cromer Hall, half a mile away, which was once the family home of the Windhams. Another tunnel which it was said ran under the church, started at the promenade and until recently, there were townsfolk who could remember an entrance being accessible…


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