Hauntingly good tales

Almost every village has its own tale of mystery and intrigue and Farnley Tyas is no different. As we prepare to celebrate the spookiest night of the year, spare a thought for the ghost of Woodsome Hall and keep an eye out for tired witches taking a break!

In the late seventeenth century, tyrant James Rimmington, who lived in the area, ruled by terror and is said to have been hated and feared by local villagers. When he died in December 1697, the locals’ relief was short-lived as James was not content to rest in peace. Instead, it’s said that his spirit lived on and he terrorised the residents of Farnley Tyas, and Woodsome Hall from his grave.

One story goes that a local man met the ghost when it was galloping on horseback down Woodsome Lane, accompanied by hounds one evening. While another resident claimed to see the ghost plucking a nail from a doorpost. What the ghost intended to use the nail for was not revealed.

“There’s some debate as to whether or not James Rimmington was as evil as the story paints him, or whether the rumours were spread by a disgruntled employee. Apparently there are reports that dispute his dark reputation, but I’d certainly keep an eye out on Halloween if you’re visiting the golf club,” says John Sykes, historian and Farnley Estates’ Director.

If you’re wandering around Farnley Tyas on Halloween, it’s not just ghosts on horseback that you need to look out for. Remember to look up to see if you can catch a glimpse of a witch. Some of the older houses in the village are designed with a witch’s seat on the eves. The flat stone that juts out by the gutter is reported to be a place where tired witches can rest.

Yet, far from being the bad omen you might suspect, a witch’s seat is supposed to bring good fortune on a home, by providing welcome hospitality to those passing by on broomstick. The grateful witches supposedly protect the house with a good fortune charm!     

A witches' seat in Farnley Tyas!