It Was Dark And Stormy
Like most places, there are ghosts in Caversham as well …
I happened to see (August 2021) that the lease for the stable block at Caversham Court is open for bids. I hope whoever takes it on isn’t worried about ghosts.
Years ago, I used to know a chap who helped out with Toc H, when they had a presence – I think – at the Stable Block by St Peter (church) in Caversham. I say ‘I think’ because this is a long time ago.
This chap was locking up one evening at the Caversham Court stable block, after some kind of Toc H meeting, and he saw a Civil War era horseman either saddle-up or dismount (I can’t remember) at the stables. (I believe, perhaps vaguely remember, that the buildings on the left as you go into the courtyard were much older than the ones that are there now, and I think that’s where the horseman was.)
I don’t know how or why I think this, but this horseman was linked to Royalists in Caversham trying to reach allies in Oxford. The route in those days was along the river – i.e. along what we now know as the Warren. And the horseman is a ghost because he was felled by Parliamentarians, who’d stretched a rope across the path at neck height.
As I write, I can’t remember if the horseman in the story was of the classic headless variety – but a friend thinks I used to say it was. The tale’s embellishment includes that the poor chap was felled where the white house is along the Warren now, on your right as you head out from Caversham.
Incidentally, the chap who saw the ghost was notably brave, cycled all over Europe and played the harmonium. But that’s by-the-by.
I have no idea what I think about ghosts. I have no idea if there is any factual bedrock to the story. I can say the that chap who told me the tale wasn’t the kind you’d think of as being prone to flights of fancy – and his harmonium playing wasn’t akin to Nico’s. But whatever you think about it all, a ghost story is always good to tell.
PS: I don’t know whether it was ‘dark and stormy’ when he was locking up, but if it wasn’t it should have been.
PPS: Nico – I guess ‘The End’ would be the album of her’s to go for …!