The Ghost of Lady Bennet

This song was written for the Living Archive Band’s radio ballad The Horse and the Tractor, but was not included when the ghost story fell victim to the editorial axe- a not inappropriate metaphor! The song intertwines two stories- the murder of Lady Grace Bennet at Calverton Manor, Buckinghamshire in 1694, and the childhood fears of Richard Fountaine who was brought to live in Calverton Manor after his family had bought the farm and the house. Not surprisingly, having heard rumours of hauntings, the boy was not happy, as he recounted much later in life:-

Richard Fountaine talking to Roger Kitchen in 2009

Manor House

Grace Bennet was widowed when her husband Simon died in 1682, and thereafter she lived alone as Lady of the Manor in Calverton. She was widely disliked for her ‘mean and covetous’ ways, and being ‘a terror to the village’ she would have anyone found gathering firewood on her land severely beaten.

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Farewell, old friend

No going back. I have sold my fiddle.

My 19th century German workshop Maggini copy, with two bands of purfling front and back, and an extra turn in the scroll (apparently not one of Maggini’s signatures).

In thirty years together we have seen and done a lot: from Castlethorpe Village Hall to Westminster Hall, from Leicester to Leipzig, countless ceilidhs, innumerable morris stands and nearly as many pubs as there are stars in the sky. I ought to be sad, but I truly am not. I keep saying that l’d rather all my instruments were being played and loved rather than hanging on my wall, and I mean it. It isn’t even leaving the village, so I could ask to see it every so often if I really wanted to. It is in good hands. So long!

Old friend