Grandad John Horsfield.
Fernilee Cottage

Over 70 years ago I remember evenings with stories by Grandad Horsfield he kept us enthralled with so many tales told while we were staying at the family stone cottage at Fernilee no TV internet or mobile phones in those days we played games enjoying the dark evenings kept warm by a roaing coal fire.
The story of Nedd was one I remember. Today lots have been written and like to include these on this page.

The Ghost of Old Nedd’s Skull.

Just beyond Ladder Hill towards Combs Reservoir lies Tunstead Farm. Ned Dickinson who returned from the Huguenot Wars in France (1562-98) to reclaim his Tunstead farm, only to find it had been taken over by his murderous cousins who were not too keen to give it back. They chopped off Ned’s head and buried him in the garden, only to find the severed skull back in the house hidden a cupboard many attempts to move the skull resulted in terrible catastrophes Just to name one a railway bridge needed to be built on land owned by Tunstead farm big mistake! The story attracted so much publicity at the time that Lancashire poet Samuel Laycock wrote this poem in 1870 called “Address to Dicky”:

Neaw, Dickie, be quiet wi’ thee, lad,
An ‘let navvies an’ railways a ‘be;
Mon tha shouldn’t do soa, it’s too bad,
What harm are they doin’ to thee?
Deed folk shouldn’t meddle at o’
But leov o’ these matters to th’ wick;
They’ll see they’re done gradely, aw know-
Dos’t’ yer what aw say to thee, Dick?

The Errwood ghost

Goytsclough Quarry; believed to have paved Oxford Street and Regent Street in London

The focal point for the whole valley is Errwood Hall. Once the heart of a flourishing community, the Hall was demolished in 1934 By Stockport Water Corporation to make way for the reservoir,
The nearby Roman road known as The Street is a shrine to St. Joseph, the patron saint and protector of the Catholic Church in the Goyt Valley was once a prosperous and industrious community and the shrine was a popular destination for people seeking a peaceful place to pray. Now the villages, factories and farms of the valley are long gone and the monument seems isolated and spooky.


Inside the shrine, above the picture of St. Joseph is the carved inscription Munca se Ic Invoca evano a San Jose prueba de gratitude which means No one asks in vain of St. Joseph, a token of gratitude. The initials D de Y, are those of Dona Maria Dolores de Ybarguen, a Spanish lady of noble birth who lived at nearby Errwood Hall as a companion to the lady of the house

Carl Bothamley wites:

When I was a child, we visited The Goyt Valley and Erwood Hall hundreds of times. Mum and Dad, myself and two brothers. I recall walking past a pipe that the river ran through and one time as I looked down, myself and brother saw a pair of legs lying in the water. It was wearing Wellington boots and the body lay inside the pipe. We ran back to our Dad and told him what we had seen.

That is what I recall. My parents, however tell it differently. They say that my brother and I had walked on ahead and had come running back with a look of fear upon our faces. They said how we told them that we had both seen a young boy walking in the river. He was wearing long trousers, a dirty shirt, long socks, big boots and a flat cap. The same kind of clothing they would have worn when Errwood Hall was up and running! We told my parents that we saw the boy walk into the pipe so my Dad ran ahead, jumped into the river and went into the pipe to look for this boy. He never found anybody. Now every time I pass the pipe with my children, I tell them of the time saw this little boy and still have a look to see if he is still there!

A friend and I decided it would be a dare to go for a midnight walk up to Errwood Hall but it was pitch black and I was frightened to death. On the path leading up to The Hall I felt like piercing eyes were all upon us from every direction so quickly I suggested we went back to the car. The reason my friend wanted to return to the site was because a few weeks prior to that, he and a pal went up the same path and were stopped in their tracks by an apparition of someone dressed as a butler. They fled and went back home. Weeks passed and we returned in the daylight where we made it to the graveyard to find that all the people who worked at the hall; all named and the position they held there. To the discovery of a Frank who happened to be the butler to the family. A very eerie feeling fell upon us.

Grimshawe family plot above Errwood Hall

If the restless spirits of the Goyt Valley are not enough to chill your blood then there are tales of more earthly exploits. Someone once told me that they witnessed two groups of shifty-looking men meeting up in one of the carparks. The men exchanged bags and went their separate ways. When you consider that the valley is a quiet and secluded spot adjacent to Stockport and Manchester, it is perhaps no surprise that it would be used for an illicit rendezvous. Back in the 1980s, two youths were murdered here.

Matt Finney got wrote:

I was out biking in the Goyt one morning and came across a sheep carcass. When I say sheep, there was not much left of it and it had been ripped apart. Definitely not a dog. Another episode up near Erwood Hall, late at night and four of us heard a roar. We all looked at each other in case it was someone joking only to hear it again. Never ran 200m in the dark quicker than we did then, straight in the car and off!

An elderly gentleman who lived on a farm in the valley for many years before the reservoirs. He told me that he saw “the beast” on several locations. It never came near the farm or bothered anyone but he would see the four-legged black thing prowling the moors at a distance and sometimes hear its fierce and lonely cry at night, as Matt and his comrades had done on that fateful evening.

Bensays wrote:

Me and my friend thought we saw a large cat like creature “the beast” when driving in the valley late one night, I will never forget the eyes watching us.

Alexsays remembers:

Oh wow where do I start. I’ve done so much solo hiking around the Goyt, well off the tracks, had so many frightening experiences it’s crazy. Anything from having a rock thrown at me, something scream at me like a monkey, saw what appeared to be a large cat cross the logging road at night, creepiest thing is it made no sound whatsoever. It was really low and long, best way I can describe it. I fought my way into some thick thick dense pines, had o crawl mostly, and came across the skeleton of multiple deer and a wild boar, all in one place… disturbing. Really deep in the forest, nowhere near any hiking trails.

Also heard voices, like mumbling voices.

High Peak News 10 December 1910 wrote

In nearby Deep Dale you can find Hobs Thirst House Cave named after the goblin that lived there. Two Neolithic human skeletons were excavated from the cave by Victorian archaeologist Micah Salt. All in all, a creepy set of associations that compel.

Many strange stories have been written about a ghost seen at Fernilee Shallcross Hall near Elnor lane to quote.

The story goes that the “ghost” is in the shape of a large dog of the greyhound type, and that the dog walks on in front or sometimes by the side of the person, but when anyone has stooped down to stroke it, it has vanished into thin air !    Those who have witnessed this peculiar phenomenon declare that it causes a most creepy sensation.

Only recently two men were going from Fernilee, when they espied a large dog in front of them, which was described as having a luminous appearance.    One of the men was so startled that he commenced to run to Fernilee, but the other stayed behind and tried to stroke the animal, but it vanished. It is stated that the “dog ghost” has been seen frequently in the neighbourhood of Elnor House, which is situated in this lonely locality.

this could be related to the Saxon Cross which is around that area. Such myths are that entities/Paranormal events occur on Ley Lines, and around Whaley Bridge we are criss-crossed by such Energy Lines that can easily be picked up on EMF meters. These also explain why frequently fuses blow out and we have occasional power surges.

The whole area is riddled with Activity from William Woods Stone up on the Disley Tops, the Plague and Murder stones nearby, the Saxon Cross near Elnor Lane, Stone Circles on Ladder Hill and in Dove Holes, not to mention Ghosts being seen and Dickeys Skull at Tunstead.

Ladderhill stands 1050 feet above sea level and is distinctive due to the giant TV relay station. The mounds of a Bronze age Round Barrow thought to have been built 2600 years BC and used up to 700 AD, with fantastic views over Whaley Bridge Combs Reservoir and Fernilee Valley and beyond. A bronze-age axe head was discovered at this site in 2005
Imagine life at the time of customs of people of a bygone age.

Fernilee Cottages and farm with Ladderhill TV relay tower on the horizon.

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