The most celebrated of Rainham's ghosts is that of Christopher Bloor, who is said to ride along Berengrave Lane in a phantom carriage, carrying his head under his arm. Edwin Harris' "Local Legends," published in 1898, states "That Christopher Bloor, carrying his head under his arm, riding in a carriage drawn by headless horses, driven by a headless coachman, and attended by a headless footman, makes a nightly journey from the church to his old home, only stopping to water his horses in the pool at Queen Court, where an old woman always sits spinning on the top of the barn. Queen Court, at which he is said to stop, lies in the lane leading from Upper to Lower Rainham."
Lower Bloors Lane in winter.
Another legend tells how Bloor was beheaded by a gang of irate husbands in Berengrave Lane after having been found guilty of several indiscretions with a number of their wives. It is said that his head was cut off and stuck on a pole, which was then placed on the top of the tower of St. Margaret's church. There is no hard evidence for this tale, but Christopher Bloor was a real person, and recent research has shown that he did die a young man.
Bloor's ghost featured in a cartoon strip by local artist Arthur Prosser
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The Headless Spinner
The ghostly spinner mentioned in the above story may have been a local legend in her own right. There is another tale that describes how, if anyone dared look at the headless woman, they would be cursed and lose their head too! No villager would venture passed Queen Court at night unless they really had to, and then they would run past quickly with their fingers and thumbs crossed as a charm against the witch, and saying aloud the name of the patron saint of Rainham; "Saint Margaret, Saint Margaret!" The barn in Berengrave Lane burned down after the war, and thankfully its ghost has not been seen since!
Berengrave Lane in the early nineteen hundreds.
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Although no one has seen the above spirits in living memory, a popular resident of Rainham had a more recent and well documented brush with the supernatural. Willoughby Gray was a TV celebrity during the fifties, and lived at Bloors Place until 1960. An article in a local paper describes how he saw the ghost of one of his ancestor's standing next to a portrait of himself in the living room at Bloors Place. The Grays had several dogs and cats, and apparently not one of them would come into the room for several days afterwards!
Bloors Place in the early 20th century. Notice the spooky similarity to the modern picture in "A Potted History."
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