Sunday, 5 October 2014

The Spooky Knocking Knoll of Shillington, Bedfordshire

The Spooky Knocking Knoll of Shillington, Bedfordshire

The village of Shillington stands on the slopes of the chalk hills of southern Bedfordshire, and for years earned wealth from the nearby chalkpits. It is wealth of a very different kind that attracts the ghost of Shillington.

On a ridge towards Pegsdon stands the Knocking Knoll. This curiously shaped mound is, in fact, a prehistoric burial mound. Its exact date is unclear, but about 1500bc would be about right. On moonlit nights a solitary figure can be seen striding towards the mound. He is tall, muscular and dressed in armour, with a stout sword strapped to his waist. This phantom walks up to the Knocking Knoll and bangs on the side of the mound with a firm hand. He listens carefully, then vanishes.

Local legend has it that this is an ancient king or ruler of great wealth. He is checking to make sure that his vast treasure is still safely buried within the ancient mound. The locals were in little doubt that this formidable figure would interrupt anyone who tried to excavate for any hidden valuables.

In the later 19th century a group of antiquaries from London heard the stories, but were not put off by the tales of the ghostly guardian. They decided to excavate the mound, and set to work with shovels, picks and great enthusiasm. After many hours of digging, they had found only a few broken bronze trinkets and a skull. They declared that there was no treasure to be had, denouncing the locals as being rural simpletons for believing such a tale.

That very night the ghostly warrior returned. He surveyed the digging in silence, then bending forwards, knocked loudly. Satisfied his treasures were still safe, he turned and vanished.

from "Haunted Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire" by Rupert Matthews

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