- Cauld Lad of Hylton
ruins of Hylton Castle(in Sunderland, Northern England) are reputed to be haunted by the ghostof a murdered stable boy, known locally as the Cauld Lad of Hylton.K. M. Briggs, "The Fairies in English Tradition and Literature", p 33 University of Chicago Press, London, 1967] The events are said to have taken place in the 16th or 17th century and there are several legends concerning the ghost's origins.
One story states that the stable boy was caught courting
Baron Hylton's daughter, and was killed.
Another version says that the baron ordered that his horse be prepared for an important journey, but the stable boy, Robert Skelton, had overslept. There are several versions of what happened next. The enraged baron was said to have either :*
decapitated the boy:*hit the boy on the back of the head with a riding crop, striking a spot that had been injured (and weakened) the day before, causing a fatal blow:*stabbed him with a nearby pitchfork.
He was then reported to have disposed of the body in a deep pond, or an unused well.
Several months later, the body was recovered. The baron was tried for Skelton's
murder, but had an alibi. An old farm worker stated that the baron had ordered the boy to remove a tool from the top shelf in the barn, and the boy had fallen, seriously wounding himself in the process. The baron had tended to the wounds, but the boy had died. It is on record that Robert Hylton, 13th Baron Hyltonwas pardoned in 1609.
Soon afterwards, strange events began to occur in the
castle. The kitchenwould be tidied at night if left in a mess, or messed up if left tidy. An unseen person would take hot ashes from the fires, and lie on them, leaving an imprint of a body. Chamber pots were emptied on the floor.
After a while, a
cookstayed up until midnightto see who was causing the mischief. He saw the ghost of a nakedboy, and heard him crying "I'm cauld" ("I'm cold"). The cook and his wife left a warm cloakfor the ghost, and the next night they heard, "Here's a cloak and here's a hood, the Cauld Lad of Hylton will do no more good." The ghost disappeared and the strange occurrences ceased, though even now people claim to have heard the ghostly cries of the Cauld Lad.
The behaviour of the ghost suggests a
poltergeist. Other versions of the tale describe the Cauld Lad as an elf, barghest[Henry Tegner, Ghosts of The North Country, 1991 Butler Publishing ISBN 0946928401] or brownie who is under a spell from which he can only be released by being given a gift. His mischief is intended to draw attention to himself in the hope that he will be saved. He sings the following song, which indicates how long he expects to be enchanted: :"Wae's me, wae's me," (= Woeis me, woe is me,):"The acorn's not yet fallen from the tree,":"That's to grow the wood,":"That's to make the cradle,":"That's to rock the bairn" (= That will rock the baby),:"That's to grow to the man":"That's to lay me!" (= That will exorciseme!)
According to Robert Surtees, a local antiquarian, as well as haunting the castle, the Cauld Lad also appeared as a
ferryman on the North Hylton side of the River Wearand would take passengers halfway across before disappearing and leaving them stranded. Even as late as the 1970s, long after the ghost was supposed to have been laid, local people claimed to have seen mysterious lights high up in the castle. This is despite the fact the upper floors in the castle had gone. Joseph Jacobsincluded this tale in "English Fairy Tales"; he noted that the ghost's behavior is similar to that of the elves in " The Elves and the Shoemaker", collected by the Brothers Grimm. [Joseph Jacobs, "English Fairy Tales", " [http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/jacobs/english/cauldlad.html The Cauld Lad of Hilton] "] There is a fairy taletitled "The Cauld Lad of Hilton" in the anthology " Old Witch Boneyleg" by Ruth Manning-Sanders.
* [http://www.wearsideonline.com/Hylton_Castle.html Wearside Online: Hylton Castle]
* [http://www.surlalunefairytales.com/authors/jacobs/english/cauldlad.html "The Cauld Lad of Hilton"] as collected by
Joseph Jacobs, a brownie variant
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Cauld Lad of Hilton — According to Surtees s History and Antiquities of Durham (1820), this was the ghost of a stable lad, killed by one of the Barons of Hilton in an outburst of temper, who haunted Hylton castle; he worked like a *brownie by cleaning up untidy… … A Dictionary of English folklore
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