Whether you believe in them or not, you can’t deny that there’s nothing quite like a good ghost story. What you might not have known is that for centuries there have been some strange things going on in Littleport – of the supernatural kind.
Whilst we completely understand that some residents have loved living in Littleport, did you know that it’s believed some couldn’t bear to stop living here even after death?
The Ghosts of The Grange
Built in 1855 as a Vicarage to St. George’s Church for Rev. Edward Bowyer Sparkes, The Grange is a large Victorian property. Now home to Littleport Grange Care Home, the building has had many roles in the past, ranging from; that Victorian vicarage, to a home to Thomas Peacock of Hope Brothers Ltd, an RAF Hospital, and the Transport & General Workers Union (TGWU) Convalescence Home in the 1930s.
With such a range of uses and occupants, comes a range of ghostly sightings.
A grey lady has been seen on the upper floor, sometimes mistaken as a nurse – but she hasn’t been seen by staff – only the residents. She’s been spotted lurking in a long grey dress, with a white apron and starched hat – perhaps harking from the Victorian or Edwardian era.
A room in the Grange was once the library – home to a large collection of nursing treaties – but has since been converted. Whilst the grey lady seen upstairs is considered a genteel and benign spirit, a ghost in the library has been known to cause trouble for the nursing staff – with pokes, pinches, and unseen hands. The library was once visited by a dog, who remained unsettled throughout his time in this room.
Phantom footsteps and a ghostly airman have also been witnessed.
The building itself has been greatly modified, so whether this has increased or decreased the ghostly activity remains unknown.
If you’re not already spooked by the stories of ghosts, then there’s even been reports of seeing (or hearing) a headless horseman on Camel Road heading towards Apes Hall.
The horseman, believed to be an 18th Century squire has also been seen near Ponts Hill, but occasionally it’s just the horse that gallops down the street.
The most infamous phantom dogs in this area is of course Black Shuck, or ‘Old Shuck’ as he’s often known.
This legend stretches back centuries, with sightings of a large black dog all across East Anglia for centuries.
It’s not just Black Shuck that roams the fields at night, as it is said that another phantom dog roams the banks of Bulldog Bridge near Shippea Hill station, born out of another old story.
A young maid named x was sent to pick mint, and when she got to the bank at Shippea Hill, she was assaulted by a man in monk’s robes. A black dog leapt to her defence, and the monk and the dog fought – both to their deaths.
The dog’s body is said to have been buried by the roadside, and it continues to patrol the area.
The lonely dragoon
The ghost of a dragoon is believed to wander the riverbank at Littleport, a victim of resentment in the aftermath of the 1816 Littleport Riots.
Witches of Littleport
Lastly, sightings of witches have taken place on Ely Road/High Street, Littleport – and we have photographic evidence!
It is unclear where these three witches were going, but they are believed to have come from nearby Witcham.
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Main image: Melander & Bro., Publisher. The Haunted Lane. Spirit Photographs, 1889. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/2006686826/.