Every village in Suffolk has its share of ghosts, but Badwell Ash maybe has more than most. Erstwhile Local recorder Margaret Symonds reviews some of the field…
First, there is the haunted pond on Shackerland Hall farm, one of the few ponds in all Suffolk to have its own name - “Nan Silvers”, named for the jilted young woman who allegedly drowned herself there, at some date now lost. Nan Silvers, it is said, can be seen in the water of the pond on the night of the full moon. As children on the farm, we never went to check…..
Then there's the story of Mrs Etteridge, a woman - or ex-woman - who walks along Richer Road. According to an account given to me years later, Mrs Etteridge was most famously spotted in the 1920s by a yard boy at Parkers Farm (corner of The Street and Richer Road). This boy was watching a horseman digging his garden one evening, across the road from the old cemetery. As it became dusk he saw the figure of a woman walking beside the hedge. He did not recognize her but noticed that she had long hair, down to her waist. She seemed to pass through the hedge, crossed the road, and passed again through the cemetery hedge. On returning home, he told his father what he had seen and described the woman to him. His father recognized her as the wife of the farmer who had lived at Parkers Farm some years before.
On Holland's Hill, now officially “Ashfield Hill” the road which runs from Long Thurlow Rd down to Great Ashfield, there are reports of a “white figure” that walks there by dark.
The White Horse pub, of course, has been a coaching inn since the fourteenth century. It is said that on New Year's Eve each year a ghostly coach and horses drives along the road from Badwell towards Walsham… and all who see it are supposed to drop dead or die soon after.
According to local legend the phantasm is the product of a curse. The story goes that the coach and horses knocked down and killed a small boy, whose mother pronounced the curse upon the driver, dooming him to drive his carriage forever.
If you have other ghostly stories of Badwell, we would love to hear from you.