This week we have a few more contributions from the files of the late Dr R C C Clay. Dr Clay was the grandfather of Robert Snow, an old friend of Uncanny UK who has kindly provided these interesting snippets for our use. the incidents all took place in Wiltshire.
Yesterday Mr W. E. V. Young told me that a few years ago a woman wrote to the local North Wilts newspaper that she had heard a sound behind her when driving her car from Beckhampton towards Silbury Hill. She looked in her driving mirror, and saw a stage coach.
Thinking that a cinematograph film was being made, she slowed down and allowed the coach to overtake her. She noticed the jangling of the horse’s harness, the dust thrown up by the horses’ feet, the sweat on the horses, and the boot boy blowing his horn.
She followed the coach for some way, but it suddenly vanished at the top of the slope near Silbury. Afterwards several people wrote to the paper saying that they had heard the coach pass along the road at various times. One woman, living in a cottage on a disused green road, stated that the coach had passed her cottage.
During the First World War Bertrand Sainsbury, a schoolmaster in the forces, cycled one Sunday afternoon to have tea with Mr Bert Young of Ebbesbourne Wake, Wilts, whom he had met at his training college. When he arrived at Mr Young’s house, he remarked that Ebbesbourne Wake had a strange custom if they always held their funerals at 4 pm on Sunday afternoons. Bert Young replied that funerals were not permitted on Sunday afternoons, and furthermore he was certain that no funerals had been arranged in the village for that day nor any other day in the near future.
Mr Sainsbury then stated that he had met a funeral procession at Jarvis Coombe Corner, halfway between Prescombe Farm and the fork in the road to Ebbesbourne Village. The road being narrow, he had to dismount from his bicycle, climbed into the bank, had taken off his hat, and proceeded on his way after the cortege had passed. Next day Bert Young visited his uncle James Young and aunt, who lived next door, and related the story. They repeated the story to me.
Walter Coombs, who married the daughter of Mr Bull of Teffont, is the son of old “Cadger Coombs”, who lived for many years at Sutton Row. Cadger was a simple uneducated labourer, but rather a mystic. He had gipsy blood in him.
In the early 1930s his son Walter was passing the church at Teffont Evias one evening when he saw a small funeral procession carrying a coffin “over the churchyard gate”. He was frightened and ran away.