The Midville Ghost

The small Church of St Peter's, in Midville, East Lindsey has been in the news recently [1]. The tiny Georgian church, sits surrounded by trees, a small arboreal square in the wide flat expanse in what was once the mires and marshes of East Fen, and now part of the patchwork of busy farmland north of Boston.

The church which had fallen redundant, finally closing in 2014, was originally built in 1819, one of a number of chapels erected in a flourish of Georgian neo-classical construction on the newly drained fens [2]. A functional brick built structure with a wooden bell cupola sporting a weather vane, it had certainly seen better days when I visited it in 2022. With ground elder growing from the foundations and scaffolding encasing the east end. Regardless, it had drawn the attention of East London-based Fisher Gallery, who has submitted plans to turn St Peter's into an artists retreat. And while many residents of the fens will be familiar with redundant chapels that have been converted into domestic residences, shops (and in once case, a garage) local ire was raised by the announcement that as part of the development, plans were included to remove and re-site headstones to create an area for parking.

The story being reported on the website of The Lincolnite, May 17th, 2023.

While the remains of those interred would have not been disturbed, people both locally and further afield felt that as many of the graves were under 100 years old, removal of the markers was grossly disrespectful. 

But possibly a fact unknown to all parties, and one that might further tip the balance in favour of those wishing to preserve the sanctity and peace of this tiny fen Church, is the fact that it is also reportedly the location of a once-noted ghost!

In the April 1974 edition of Lincolnshire Life magazine, a letter sent in by a Mr C. Glenn is published in which he describes his childhood in East Fen, living one of a number of cottages that stood at the junction of the Bellwater and Hobhole Drain. Mr Glenn goes onto describe an experience his father had, while cycling at night on the straight road that runs alongside the Hobhole Drain.

He writes:

" Personally I am never sure about ghosts. I cannot prove they exist, neither can I prove they do not, so I keep an open mind on the subject. Strange things do happen, some difficult to explain; only once during my life have I wondered 'did I see a ghost', however, that is another story. The one I am about to tell was told me by my father, many years ago. As a small boy I lived with my parents at Midville, a flat, bleak and treeless area in the East Fen, just a few cottages and farms along the Hobhole Drain. Our house stood where the Bellwater Drain crosses the Hobhole at right angles, across from the Duke of Wellington Inn'. My father belonged to some club or other and one evening each week he would cycle along the Hobhole Bank to New Leake, some three miles to this club. A long straight road led to Midville church which stood alone by the Hobhole Drain, over the bridge and a sharp turn left and another straight road runs to New Leake. It was often past midnight when Father arrived home, a pal said to him, 'Di yar ivver see that ghoast when yi git to the church?'. My father, who was not afraid of anything, replied, 'Noa, I nivver see noa ghoast, I offen see an ode black dog come out of the church yard.' 'That's it,' said his pal, 'that's ghoast.' Father said that usually on a moonlight night as he passed Midville church, a big black dog would come from the church-yard, run along by his side for some distance, then, always at the same spot it would cross in front of his cycle and run down the drain bank and vanish. I believe 'black dog' ghosts are supposed to haunt certain roads in East Anglia. I wonder has any reader heard of the Midville ghost? "

Mr C. Glenn's letter on page 26 of the April 1974 edition of Lincolnshire Life.

And while I have already looked at other spectral Black Dogs from around Lincolnshire, this would appear to to be the only known surviving account of this particular one. I wonder how many of Lincolnshire's spectral horrors of this kind were never passed down to be recorded in print like this? At the time of writing this article, the plans for St Peter's had been withdrawn by the developers. So it would seem for the time being at least, the spirits both human and canine of Midville can rest easy once again.


Sources and further info:

[2] Christopher Webster of the Georgian Group wrote an interesting article about ‘Lincolnshire’s “1812 Fen Churches Act” and its buildings’, which includes St Peter's at Midville, for The Georgian Group Journal, Vol. xxV, 2017. 

[3] Lincolnshire folklorist and historian Sean McNeaney has a YouTube video about the Midville Ghost, mentioning the the same Lincolnshire Life article. You can watch it here:


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