SHUCKLAND       Introduction        Alphabetical List of Locations
Location: Tollesbury, ESSEX
Encounter: In the late 1930s the author J. W. Day received a letter from Mrs. A. M. Osborne, a native of Tolleshunt D'Arcy, and whose father had been gardener to Squire Binney. In the 1920s she was a young woman, and a 'pupil teacher', who often had to cycle out at night from Tolleshunt to fetch the midwife from Tollesbury, two miles away.

There was a place on the [B1023] road that she hated called Jordan's Green [TL943106], where a lane led [north] up to Gorwell Hall, where a man was said to be buried with a stake through his heart, and she used to cycle past it as fast as she could. Then one very cold, moonlit January night she had to go for the midwife at about 12.30am, and had just heaved a sigh of relief as she got past Jordan's Green, when she saw the black dog on the road. "'Its head was level with my handlebars and its body seemed to stretch the length of my machine.'"

She felt cold, the hair on the back of her head stood on end, and she began to pray that the beast wouldn't knock her off her bike. It was so close that she could have reached out and touched the dog's harsh black coat, that seemed rough and uncared-for. It didn't attack her however, just keeping pace with her until they reached Seabrooks Lane, where "'it just went'."

On the return journey, she was relieved that the dog didn't reappear where it had left her, but when she got back to the Green at Gorwell Hall Lane [also known as the 'Chase'], it was lying in the middle of the road with its eyes shut, and a huge tongue that looked "'like bright red velvet'." There was very little room for her to get past, and as she did, she prayed that the creature wouldn't wake. But she reached her home safely and told her parents, who went out searching with lanterns. They found nothing, but told her never to travel that road alone again at night.

Source: James Wentworth Day: 'Essex Ghosts' (Spurbooks, 1973), p. 12-13.
Place Name: Tollesbury - OE 'Toll's fortified place or manor'
Other: At Jordan's Green, the Tollesbury/Tolleshunt parish boundary lies on the road here.

Location: Tollesbury
Encounter: "I have relatives there [Tollesbury] and it was a well-authenticated story that the old midwife of the village quite frequently claimed to meet Black Shuck as she cycled home in the small hours after delivering a baby. She was a tough old Essex woman, fearing nothing, and she described how Black Shuck trotted along beside her old sit-up-and-beg bicycle until he decided to make a right-angle turn through the spokes of her front wheel without upsetting the bike and disappeared into a nearby wall."
Source: Letter from Mr. Reg A. Walton to me, 13/8/1983.
Comments: It's possible that the witness here is the same midwife as that mentioned in the encounter above.

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