The Cotehill highwayman ghost
Be Careful On Those Dark Roads
The Cotehill highwayman ghost
This is the true story of a highway man who terrorised the great highroad south of Carlisle in the latter years of the 18th century. His name was John Whitefield and he lived in the area of Coathill just south of Carlisle. It was said that the roads around Barrock Fell and High Hester Was so dangerous to travel only the bravest would venture out on those highways at night one night in 1777 in September a merchant from Armathwaite called Isaac Dodd been supping With friends in the city of Carlisle. We had intended to get away during the afternoon but the company was good and the wine flowed.
In the end he protested he had to go home but they pointed to the failing light and dreary September afternoon who is going to fade and be dark by the time he got home to Almuth wait. But Isaac Dodd loved his wife and he loved his dog and he loved his own bed and so despite their protestations mounted his big bay stallion on the mounting block outside their house in English Street. they begged him one more time to stay, For the first time mentioned the highway man John Whitefield, but Isaac Dodd waved away their concerns and reigned in his horse, turned away from them while I watched him go and headed and headed down on the great high road that leads ultimately to London.
Persistent drizzle had set in, making the evening even darker by the time he got to the Golden Fleece Night had fallen. He was soaking wet as was his horse and he regretted not accepting the offer of a bed for the night in Carlisle.
You will remember that it was said that only the bravest ventured onto the Great high Road after dark through the forest of Inglewood stretches down from Carlisle to Penrith. Was Isaac Dodd one of the bravest of men or the most foolish? The truth is that young man and he at that time was only in his 30s never believe that the bad outcome is that happened to others will ever happen to them. Indeed they feel immortal.
Like many men have been fortunate in life for he had made money in shipping and in textiles – he thought his good luck was his own doing, rather than gods, or a few freethinkers prefer it: the roll of the dice. Imagine Snowhill fortune would come near him, so Office said, headed for home, thoughts on money and maybe his wife and children or his dog. The rain fell there was no wind and it was dark of the Golden fleece in and it was very near Stygian at the Sun by the time he reached the code Hilton he could see nothing in the drifting banks of drizzle. But neither did he take heed of the weather was a dark for his mind was elsewhere load by claret wine and good food in the slow clip clop of his horses hooves. And then a man emerged from the shadow of a tree. At first Isaac Dodd did not see him, but the man called out“stand and deliver. Give me your money and your gold. “
Mr Isaac Dodd pulled up short, instantly out of reverie but naughty eight removed from his pride and he replied, “and Hoody you, sir to a cost an honest Traveler on such a dark and dreary night as this. “
“I am one you should know by reputation, it’s not my name. I am one for whose sake you should avoid this road after dark. I am one who shall shoot you dead, sir, should you not comply with my polite and reasonable request to hand me all your money.
“Isaac Dodd replied, “I’ll give it you that you’ve been polite, but I would not concede that you were reasonable to do mine or my riches of pistol point. “
“I think you find your life in exchange for gold watch a handful of Guineas and what other Geegaws you carry in your bags is very reasonable offer. “
Marks you will not find me so easily turned. How about you! “Isaac Dodd pulled out his rapier and pulled out his pistol but John Whitefield was the quicker man and he fired. Isaac Dodd was sorely wounded and felt the lead pistol shot into his lung. But he was not a man to give an easily and he with his knees he urged his horse towards the Highwomen. Instead and intending to skewer him with the point of his rapier.
John Whitefield is on foot and he grabbed and Isaac Dodd and arranged him from his horse. Isaac Dodd fell heavily into the ground bleeding. But he reached up and grabbed at the high women’s coat ripping a silver button from it. He clenched his fists tight around the silver bullet button.
“And we will you give me your gold and your watch now or will I take it from you.? “
Bleeding and weakened Isaac Dodd was unable to stop the Richard Harmon from taking off his expensive coat and everything from him his gold watch and looting from his pockets his pocket book containing bank notes.
“And now mount your horse, get in the saddle and let the beast take you home for you have not long left to live if I’m any judge of the wound in your chest. And I am not a vicious man nor without feeling and I would wish that you had time to say farewell to your loved ones before you breathe your last breath. “
And Isaac don’t knowing that he was dying as help onto his horse by his murderer and John Whitefield slapped the horses rump and set it on his way to Almuth wait.
Isaac Dodd was bent over his horse bleeding, weakening with every mile but the horse knew its way home and took him faithfully home.
At his grand house at his house enormous weight the servant was watching out for his masters return and he heard the horses hooves and came out and was alarmed to see the state‘s master was in. And it was no difficult task to see that his master was mortally wounded.
And as they brought Isaac David into his sitting room and his wife and children crowded around him he told them he has met his end with the hand of the Highwomen and he told them to love them and he told them that he was sorry to leave him so soon in his life and his children so young and his wife so beautiful.
And then Isaac Dodd breathed his last
And as he died his fist open and a silver button fell from his grasp clattered on the stone floor.
The authorities of the county of Cumberland had long wanted to put a stop to the predations of John Whitefield because of the road and the price of the time it’s happened I suspected it was he. So they began their investigations and it was found the John Whitefields “lacked button and the button that it falling from Isaac dogs hand matched the missing button from John Whitefield coat. And that was all they needed.
At this sizes in Carlisle the judge took no time in finding John Whitefield guilty of the murder of Isaac Dodd and he
Convicted him of murder and said that he should be hung in a gibbet by the great highroad under the shadow of Barrock Fell.
But that was not the end of the matter. John Whitefield took a full week to die. The traffic on foot and on horse that went past was subjected to his screams. That alternated with desperate whimpers. That escalated once again to screams when a crow or a raven delighted and he’s still living buddy.
It seemed that the John Whitefield was possessed Of a demonic power that would not let him die. There was a coach that went daily between Carlisle and Penrith and the coach driver who made that journey was subjected to the screams of John Whitefield every time his coach passed the gibbet at barrock fell.
And it could be the disc coach driver was a crew man or it could be that his hand was guided by mercy and his heart was full of sympathy for the terrible plight of John Whitefield. Because no matter what crime a man is committed that punishment seems to cruel to anyone.
Iand so the driver of the male coach what’s a loaded pistol that he kept beside him for protection against such high women as John Whitefield and he shot John Whitefield dead and after the rolling report of the musket of the pistol shot the countryside descended into silence until John widefield was dead and the coin of the rocks begin again.
Even that was not the end of the story. When that was the Great Main Road North travellers open till even recent times would report hearing the screaming of a man just under the foul barrack after leaving high Hesket. Those reports are become less common now there’s traffic on that road is less and most people go by the motorway
But be careful because should you find yourself on the lonely road on a dark night in November it is said that on the anniversary of the crime John Whitefield is freed from the gibbet and one does the world end again looking still for victims