The Rev. Frederick George Llewellin was the Vicar of Kidsgrove from 1922 until his death in 1941.
Llewellin wrote a book “The Lighter Side of a Parson’s Life” about his ministry in Kidsgrove.
In this edited extract from the chapter about the boat people who lived and worked on the Trent & Mersey Canal, he tells the story of the Kidcrew Buggut – a ghost that haunts the Brindley Tunnel which runs under Harecastle Hill.
The Kidcrew Buggut
“Lor, bless yer, lad, don’t yer know? Did yer never hear tell o’ it? Well, gaffer, years ago, in the very middle o’ the tunnel right atween Tunstall on the one side and Kitcrew (Kidsgrove) junction on the other, two men murdered a woman and thew her body inter the tunnel and because it wor a deed o’ violence, and her life wor taken from her before it wur axed fur, that ‘ere ‘oman have never lain quiet.
“But years ago as it wor, she’d appear, sometimes in the form o’ a white horse, sometimes like a female without a ‘ead, but whenever her comes, trouble’s sure to foller. Never wor there an accident at the collieries but the Kitcrew Buggut wor sure to come to tell o’ it. Somebody ‘ll die, or be murdered or drowned in the cut (the canal) or coal mine when that ‘ere ghost appears.”
Llewellin took this version of the story from L.T. Meads’ “Water Gipsies” and went on to say:
“The more recent tradition was that the ghost appeared at times in the Squire’s garden at Clough Hall. On more than one occasion the buggut scared ‘men on evil bent,’ and on other occasions terrified those who saw it.
“I feel it is my duty to say that contrary to local tradition the ‘buggut’ is not obliging enough to tell us of forthcoming disaster. Would that it could, for in my time as Vicar of Kidsgrove we have suffered from a terrible fire following an explosion which killed some men and maimed others, a general strike leaving almost irreparable ruin in its train, and thirdly a flooded mine accompanied by further sad fatalities.”
Edited by David Martin
Photograph Copyright The Phoenix Trust 2012