The Plot Thickens

posted 11 Aug 2013, 14:16 by Stephen Pearson   [ updated 13 Aug 2013, 01:50 ]
As some of you may know we moved from Tuddenham to Barrow in the early part of 2012. Part of getting to know Barrow in preparation for the Rounds Festival involved learning a little about the local history. One of the most interesting tales revealed was that 'near the village school is a stone which is said to mark the spot where a highwayman was hanged, local legend has it that at midnight on every New Years Eve the stone turns over.'  A shot was fired, but missed during the attempted robbery in 1789, and the offender was then tracked down because his house had lost a shoe. In delving deeper the tale has become just a little more mysterious and as the Halloween Dance is fast approaching we felt we should tell.

Now are you sitting comfortable, we shall begin . . . . On the evening of Jan 6th 1783 at about eight in the evening  Mr William Macro of Barrow Hall was returning home on foot from the Red Lion in Barrow where he had been collecting taxes, when he was stopped near his home by a single highwayman, mounted on a brown horse, wearing a waggoner's frock.  Mr Macro seeing a horse pistol in his hand struck at it with his walking stick but missed, whereupon the villain fired at him. The ball however only grazed his cheek and singed the shoulder of his coat. The highway man then took off riding across the fields.  The next morning Mr Macro found the track of a horse with bar shoes which led to Kentford Bull, there he found the horse in the stable and apprehended the rider a James Steggles a blacksmith from Tuddenham. James was detained in custody and then executed at Bury on what the Judge described as no positive proof but a connected chain of evidence - a horse shoe print and a handkerchief amongst them.

So where did the tale of the stone come from, is this indeed the same story. Strangely where is the stone? I went to look for it and couldn't find it. The only pavement anywhere near the school is in Church Road, but there's no obvious sign of any unusual stone there now.

You might think this is a poor attempt to promote our dances but you would be wrong. We would not want you out on a cold winters eve, looking for a stone, when you could instead be enjoying the hospitality of Suzanne & Matt Baldry, accompanied by the delightful Julianne and Walt Burr at the Whirl & Twirls New Years Eve Dance, Tickets are available and must be purchased in advance.