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Church of St Mary the Virgin

In the 16th century, Lady Elizabeth Dudley was left with a large estate when her husband died, even though most of it had belonged to her; when she died her fortune would pass to her son, Baron Stourton. He, however, had debts to pay and tried to convince his mother to place everything under one control - his. The steward of the estate, William Hartgill suggested that the Baron should give her an annuity to live on - whereupon there was an argument and the Baron stormed out empty handed. He mustered a gang of ruffians to pounce on Hartgill when he was en route to church - but Hartgill had brought his son, who had planned to go hunting after the service and had brought his crossbow. One of the ruffians was dispatched when they charged the Hartgills, who then barricaded themselves in the tower with their parents until help arrived. The Baron was arrested but refused to pay compensation to the Hartgills and when he was released from prison, he sent a message to the Hartgills to meet at the church to pay and end the feud. It was ruse; the Baron still harboured resentment. The Hartgills were suspicious but agreed to the meeting with several men, where a purse of coins was handed over. But when they left the church, the Baron's men levelled their guns at the crowd during which Mrs Hartgill was stabbed, and the two men of the family was dragged off. One of the villains informed the authorities that the Hartgill men had been murdered; the Baron was arrested and hanged after a trial, which also found evidence of robbery and stealing sheep and cattle. The phantoms of the Hartgills have since been seen in the churchyard and, rarely seen, is the spectre of a man with a gun and sword, hidden amongst the trees and shrubs.


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