Thursday 16 July 2020

A Spaldington sprite

Yet again it is raining and I have just put a bucket underneath an overflowing gutter. The garden is growing crops of chickweed as well as rather too many courgettes for us to eat. But the chickweed is useful as the chickens are spending a lot of time in their pen. This is to protect them from the fox.

I heard them cackling one day a couple of weeks ago and there was a lovely {!!!} young fox looking at me from just outside the kitchen window.  Although I let Molly straight out it was too late and we lost a chicken, as did our neighbours.

I have been enjoying a new page - All about Goole - on facebook. Lots of lovely memories are coming up. I am not from Goole but went to school there and have lots of lovely Goole friends.

I am sorry to say that my local history classes will not be resuming in the autumn as my only option was to run them as Zoom courses but having consulted several students they felt that we would not be able to capture the social interaction - ie the interjections [interruptions!] from everyone and the cups of tea!!! I - and they - are hopeful that we can meet face to face in 2021!!

But I am not bored and have been working hard on a new version of my website - WordPress is a challenge but I think I am getting there. And I am trying to write a page about the history of the different villages.

When researching Spaldington I came across this article from the Goole Times of 1875. I knew of Robin Roundcap but this version has some extra detail.

Not far from the Howden station, is the rural village Spaldington, in which place, not very many years ago, was standing an old mansion in the Elizabethan style, known as Spaldington Hall.

The hall was said to be haunted by a genuine ghost of the old school, half ghost and half fairy. This ghost was always known by the name of Robin Roundcap, and was believed to have been the ghost of a family jester in the time of James I. Tradition said that for some mischievous pranks played on his master he was kicked downstairs, and broke his neck. This kind treatment he resented haunting his master during his life, and the house after his death. It is related was very fond of frightening the maids, of hiding their shoes, kirtles, household utensils, and farming implements -  in short, if anything was lost or broken,  it was put down to Robin’s account.

He was credited with wonderful powers of imitation, aud whatever noisy operations were going on the house, or outbuildings, the same noise would heard in the next room, or somewhere not far off. When the boys were chopping sticks, at the other side of the heap they would see sticks flying, but without seeing the axe or directing it.

Robin would frequently reply to questions, sometimes volunteer statements, but was seldom seen with the naked eye, and never twice had he the same personal appearance. The story was, once upon a time a poor unfortunate packman was going up the house to make an honest penny, when he encountered Robin in  a form that so frightened him that threw down his pack and ran away,

It would appear Robin was no Good Templar, for he was charged with drinking the ale barrels dry and a particular fancy he had for eating pasties, cakes, tarts, or, in fact, anything good or sweet. Ill-natured people would have it the servants had the lion’s share of the plunder. One of his freaks was that of getting into the brick oven and putting footprints on all the large rye loaves when baking, or of pushing in large rusty nails to spoil the servants’ knives. The worst freak was get into the churn and spoil the butter and although they tried to burn him out by inserting a red-hot poker, but this only served to prove his laughter, without any beneficial result to either cream or butter.

At last the farmer—who was then occupying the house—became so provoked by the doings of Robin, he resolved to leave the house aud remove to another a short distance from the farmstead, that he might be able to attend the farm without the annoyance he had been subject to so long. When the furniture was being removed to the new abode, the farmer met an old neighbour, who said, 'l see you are flitting when,  to the astonishment of both, Robin bawled out from within—“ Yes, we are flitting". "Well,” said the farmer, “we may as well flit back, for it is no good paying two rents, aud be pested at both houses,”  and he returned to his old residence.

The good vicar was next consulted, and he kindly offered himself, “by book and by bell", to appear in person at the old mansion, to show cause why his unjust spirit should not be conjured down, and set at rest lor ever.

We are not able to give particulars of the charm used by the clerk in holy orders. Robin begged that it should only be for a year and a day. ln the end, the matter was so far compromised, that he was only to be conjured down into an old draw-well, for three generations, which was accordingly enacted, and willow stake driven through him, which was said afterwards to became great tree.

About fifty years ago, the rising generation were anxiously looking forward to his return. But, alas, for poor Robin before his day came, the old mansion was taken down, and a modern house built in its place, so modern that there was not a decent corner for the ghost to lodge in.

The old hall, home of the Vavasours, was taken down in 1838 and Old Hall Farm now stands on the site. Is there still a large willow tree there??!!!

I do not have many pictures of Spaldington  - would love to see more - but I found this on the internet of Hobgoblin Hall in the Lake District and imagined that the Old Hall where Robin Roundcap lived may have been like this!!!