Great Baddow has quite a few ghastly tales and many people have seen ghosts and experienced hauntings in the village. For such a relatively small place it is a hotbed of paranormal activity.
St. Mary’s Church
St. Mary’s Church has two ghostly tales. A ghostly apparition, thought to be that of a monk, has been seen drifting along the aisles between the pews before leaving through the west door. He always leaves by the same exit, but nobody is really sure why. During the Fourteenth Century the old west wall was removed to be replaced by the tower and the current arcades. It may be that this was the main exit in the past.
Also at St. Mary’s is the apparition of ghostly soldiers, in what appears to be civil war uniform, standing outside the church and looking at it. The church yard was the starting point of the Peasants Revolt, as led by Jack Straw in 1381. The revolt was not successful – Jack Straw was executed and his head displayed on London Bridge. The other leaders, Wat Tyler and John Ball, were killed in battle and hanged respectively. What happened to the many other protesters is not known, but we can assume that many of the “men of Essex” died and were never identified. Maybe the ghosts are the fallen soldiers?
The White Horse
The White Horse is an old building and the site dates back to the times of King Henry VIII; he bought the land for Catherine of Aragon. However, more recently, the building itself has been the home to a couple of ghosts.
If you ever feel a chill on the stairs at the west side of the pub (to the toilets) it is thought that a local murderer and one of his victims haunt the stairs.
Around 200 years ago a wealthy landowner by the name of Molly Ram (sometimes written as Mollie Ram) used to enjoy a drink or two, much to the displeasure of her husband. Rumour has it that after one night too many drinking at the Royal Oak in Sandon, which is now The Crown, Mollie was murdered by her husband and dumped in a ditch on Lover’s Lane. Some people have witnessed a ghost on The Bringey too, which is the path that leads from the centre of Baddow to Woodhill Road, that leads to The Crown.
Her husband was not seen again, it is assumed that he fled the scene of the murder to avoid prosecution and a certain death penalty. As Mollie was such a popular character, the lane was renamed Molrams Lane.
According to a tale recited in Great Baddow, An Oral History, one night two women were walking one evening after dark along Molrams Lane towards Ladywell Corner on the Southend Road when they felt someone was behind them. They both turned and nobody was there but they had a strong feeling of an evil presence which continued to follow them for several hundred yards. It was pitch black as there was no street lighting and few houses. Eventually they reached a house and were bathed in light, and one of them said “Thank God!”, at which point the evil presence immediately left.
So, if you hear a bump or a scream, or see any ghostly figures on the paths, fear not, it will just be one of our friendly ghosts.