Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Ghost Coach of Weston Rhyn

The lanes to the west of the village are the haunt of a phantom coach and a white lady. It is generally said that the lady sometimes rides in the coach, and at other times walks on foot, so it would seem that these two apparently distinct phantoms are in fact the same haunting.

The barbaric events that led to the haunting took place in the 1640s when Civil War between the supporters of king and parliament stalked across England and Wales. The good folk of Weston Rhyn were supporters of the king, so they refused to pay their taxes to the authorities in Shrewsbury, who backed Parliament. Such action was bound to bring retribution, which duly arrived in the shape of a troop of Roundhead cavalry which came trotting into Weston Rhyn early one morning as the Civil Wars drew to a close.

The troopers arrested Miss Phillips, the owner of nearby Tyn-y-Rhos Hall, and rounded up the villagers. Even at swordpoint the villagers refused to hand over their cash. The troopers built up a huge fire, placing on it a large cauldron of water. As this water grew scalding hot, they lowered into it Miss Phillips, then pulled her out and threw her into the chilly waters of the nearby stream. It was too much. The villagers not only paid their taxes, but also handed over a Catholic priest who had been hiding nearby.

The jubilant troopers bound the priest and Miss Phillips, hauling them off to Chirk for prompt execution. It was soon after this that the quiet phantom of Miss Phillips began to be seen walking the lanes around her old home. The ghostly coach is seen less frequently, but is a rather more spectacular apparition as it trots by pulled by four grey horses.

The second ghostly apparition at Weston Rhyn is unconnected with that of Miss Phillips. This is the ghost of a young man who served in France during the Great War. The unfortunate soldier suffered badly in one of the first gas attacks, before the British had learned how to cope with this new German weapon. His lungs were terribly burned and he was no longer fit for active service. He was sent home to the clear air of Shropshire, but never fully recovered and died a few months later. His sad phantom is not seen often, but exudes an air of melancholy when it is encountered.

This is an extract from Haunted Places of Shropshire by Rupert Matthews

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