The Phantom Cavalier

Written by Nick Duffy & posted on The History Of Wednesbury, Face Book – March 25th 2013

Just wondering if anyone had ever heard about sightings of a ‘Phantom Cavalier’ style figure being seen the Kings Hill Park region at all?
A Darlaston resident spoke to me a couple of years ago and related a story hailing back to the late 1970’s……

Our witness was nearing home, just before Midnight, after walking from Wednesbury to Darlaston along the Darlaston Road.
He turned into what he had always know as the “Blossom”, which is an un-adapted part of School Street, beginning next to the Chapel opposite the Scot(s) Arms Pub.
It was a beautiful bright Moonlit night, not a breath of wind, and just a little cold as it was at the end of October…….

Having reached the part of the gullet where it opens out into the main part of School Street itself, something happened to catch his attention… off to his right hand side.
Topographically speaking, on his immediate right was the high bank of the edge of Kings Hill Park, which is scattered with trees and bushes and had / has a low privet hedge along the top.
As he looked up, he froze with instant fear, as, looking down at him from the very top of the bank, was what he could only describe as a “Cavalier” style figure, in full period dress.
He says that he could clearly see a hat, complete with feathered plume, a cape, etc, etc.

Now, the witness was 18 yrs of age at the time, 6ft tall, around 15 stone in weight, very fit and not at all frightened of anyone or anything much, but after standing stock still for what was only the briefest of moments, he took flight and says he must surely have covered the last 100 metres or so to his house in under 10 seconds!
With shaking hands, he managed to let himself in the house, finding his Mom and Dad were in the process of just going off to bed for the night.
They were shocked at the state he was in and, as his Dad said, looking ‘as white as a ghost ! ‘.
He told them what had happened, and his Dad instantly said: “Right come on then, lets go and sort this weirdo out!!”.
He was convinced that someone was parading around the park dressed up, so, ‘reluctantly’ shall we say, our witness went over to the park with his father and had a good old look around.

Needless to say, they didn’t find or see anyone………

A very intriguing aspect to the experience was the fact that, where the ‘Cavalier’ had stood and looked down at him, was on the top level of the park, on the edge of what has always been called the ‘Bowling Green’.
Interestingly – given the historical context of the figure concerned – this part of the park is a wholly ‘man-made’ feature, supposedly being a by-product of industry in the area during the 19th Century.
Needless to say, if the hill itself is purely of the Victorian period…… then what would a figure from the 17th Century be doing actually standing on it?.
‘How’ would a 17th Century figure be standing on something that hadn’t actually existed for literally 200 years subsequently’?

(Some of the replies)
John Chance: Interesting nick i wonder if any archeological evidence exists near that location? as  around the time of the civil war that area was mostly agricultural and woodland and the nearest dwelling to this would have been wednesbury manor house?
It’s certainly worth investigating further to see if anyone else on kings hill has experienced this before.

Nick Duffy:  Hi John. This story was related to me a few years ago now and I’ve never heard of anything else along the same lines, to be honest.
There are a few houses within throwing distance of the site that have allegedly seen poltergeist activity, but certainly nothing that could be tied in with the Civil War period and so on.
There was – according to the little I’ve learned – a fair bit of spying and general skullduggery going on between the opposing fortresses of Rushall Hall and Dudley Castle for quite some time (in the CW).
A Wednesfield man being charged with spying by one side of the other and being taken off to London and executed!
(Sadly, I’m relating this data from dubious memory, but I do have it all written down somewhere?)

Nick Duffy:  On the general subject of Cavaliers being see ‘out of place’, I’ve just added something to the W.M.G.C. Facebook page about another local case / site, if anyone is interested?
I do hope that it’s okay to post this link up here THOW?  (No problems Nick, your link is below)

John Chance: I know there was a skirmish in west bromwich during the civil war in the fields at the back of Hill House dagger lane as bodies were found in early 1980’s

Nick Duffy:  Beautiful property, ‘Hill House’ John. I think the entire region would have been open to smallish skirmishes between the two sides.
I know Rushall Hall was condemned during it’s Royalist occupancy, due to the fact that it was widely regarded as more of a ‘robber barons stronghold’!!
I’d imagine the Royalists were mounting raiding parties and simply amassing riches!
There was a cavalry skirmish on Bushbury Hill in Wolverhampton – just down the road from Northycote Farm (just mentioned on our FB page) – with terrible losses on the Royalist side.
(The story goes that none of the Parliamentarian troops were killed in the action?)
What is known as The Triangle, at the front of Bushbury Church, is – according to local legend – the mass grave from the scrap concerned!?
(Though I don’t think this has ever actually been verified?)

John Chance: I believe there was another skirmish occurred between the royalists and the parliamentarians in early 1640’s at Tipton green a couple of years before the siege at Dudley Castle i believe the royalists won at the time

Nick Duffy: Hadn’t heard of that one John. I did read that the people of Wednesbury, falling under the banner of Dudley Castle were looked upon to part help with building / maintaining the defences of the fortress.
I’m going to have to find the related data out and go back over it, in case there is anything interesting to relate…..

John Chance: I think one area of investigation the book history of wednesbury by F.W HACKWOOD as this may hold some nuggets of info concerning Wednesbury during the civil war

Nick Duffy: I think (if I recall correctly) I visited Wednesbury Library while looking into this matter John, but can’t recall whether I looked at that one matey?

John Chance: They have a couple of copies of this book in the library and also books on the histories of other towns that make up our beloved Sandwell & Dudley also i may add all researched by F.W HACKWOOD

Nick Duffy: I’ve seen some of his newspaper articles collected in scrapbook format somewhere John…… May have been Wednesbury, or possibly Walsall Archives, perhaps?
I’ve an interest in the word ‘Hob’ (and all of its variants) and he did a piece which mentioned local examples of this  (incl. Wednesbury and Willenhall).

And there it is, all very interesting if you ask me? If you would like to know more, please visit this link:  West Midlands Ghost Club


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