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Haunted Horsemen on New Year’s Eve
Molesworth Arms is currently a hotel located in the civil parish and town in north Cornwall, England called Wadebridge. Built in the16th century, this old building was used as a coaching inn for hundreds of years.
According to local legend, the coachman was attacked and murdered by evil highwaymen while transporting rich aristocrats. The killers called out for the coachman to halt the coach, but he ignored the request, and drove right by them.
The highwaymen were able to race ahead of the coach, and set up a trap to stop its progress. A piece of wire was placed tight across the road and tied to a tree on each end.
The coachman continued his journey down the familiar road, and when the coach arrived at the trap, the horses went right through, and the driver was beheaded by the taut wire.
Each New Year’s Eve, the apparition of the coachman appears at the hotel. At midnight, a coach sweeps into the hotel courtyard driven by a headless coachman.
There are other legends of ghostly coaches appearing on New Year’s Eve. Runwell Hospital, located in Wickford (Essex) is believed to have once been the site of Runwell Hall Estate, owned by Henry VIII.
Each New Year’s Eve, the apparition of a ghost and carriage pulls up into the driveway. A woman disembarks from the carriage, walks up to the door, and is met by the butler…the dead butler.
John Bibby of Bootle (Lancashire), also known as The Headless Horseman, appears once each year on the last night of the year, riding down Bibby Lane, which connects Marsh Land and Peel Road, carrying his head in his lap. Some witnesses claimed to have also seen Bibby’s apparition on Halloween night.
Bibby was born in 1775, and founded the Bibby Line deep sea shipping line, the oldest in the world, in 1807.
In the year 1840, as an old man, Bibby was returning to his home when he was attacked, beaten unconscious and thrown into a pond by thugs. Only a pocket watch was stolen, but Bibby drowned in the pond that night.
Bramall Hall, a Tudor manor house located in Bramhall in the Borough of Stockport, Chesire has been the site of a phantom horse rider since the 1630s when William Davenport, owner of the great hall, provided shelter to a stranger during a storm.
The next morning, Mr. Davenport was found dead on the floor of the great room, and the stranger was the most likely suspect. Perhaps he was blamed mistakenly as it is the spectre of the red-caped stranger called “Red Rider” or “Scarlet Rider” who is seen each night on New Year’s Eve riding into the courtyard on his horse.
Ranworth Broad in Norfolk includes a New Year’s Eve legend from 1770. It seems Colonel Thomas Sydney resided in Ranworth Old Hall in that year. He was not known for his warmth and compassion, but as an evil-tempered drunkard.
At one New Year’s Eve hunt, Sydney was bested by a neighbor he had challenged to a horserace. A poor loser, Sydney shot his neighbor’s horse from under him, which sent the rider flying to his death as his neck was broken and his body was trampled by his own horse.
Sydney felt no regret at his actions, and held his hunt ball that evening. He was “totally without shame,” and boasted about his deeds.
During the ball, a figure appeared at the door to the Old Hall, dressed in black, and without facial features visible. The creature walked into the manor, picked up the Colonel and threw him across his shoulder. He carried him outside and whisked him away on his horse. Sydney finally found his voice and began screaming, but he was never seen alive again.
It was believed by locals to have been the devil that night. They think he came to claim one of his own. Every New Year’s Eve, the devil is said to be seen riding across Ranworth Broad with Colonel Sydney lying across the saddle.
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