Broken ground reveals a disused quarry dating back to the 19th century, with Lockwood Beck Reservoir in the distance1NYMNPA HER No: 22623. Cleveland HER SMR: 5917.. As the reservoir was constructed in the 1870s, it seems likely the quarry was associated with it2‘Cleveland Waterworks. | Northern Weekly Gazette | Thursday 28 March 1872 | British Newspaper Archive’. 2023. Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk <https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0003072/18720328/035/0004> [accessed 13 May 2023].
However, the mention of Lockwood Beck serves as an opportunity to share a story from the book ‘Strange Stories of the Chase‘ by the Countess of Feversham. According to the Countess, this particular story was told to her by Mr. R. J. M. Rastall of the Priory in Grosmont.
DURING the Winter of 1914-1915, when my regiment, the 4th Battalion Green Howards was stationed at Cramlington in Northumberland I went on leave to Whitby, where my parents were then living.
At the end of my leave, I motored back to Cramlington alone and wanting to make full use of the short time allowed, I did not set off on my journey until after dark.
It was a bright starry night without a sign of the fog, which so often enshrouds the North Yorkshire Moors at that time of the year.
Leaving Whitby, I took the Guisboro’ road. Today it is a fast main road, without the sharp corners and humped bridges, which constituted such hazards in the early days of motoring.
About half a mile before you reach the turn to Castleton and the Lockwood Beck, the road descends sharply down Lockwood Hill. In those days there was a large wood (Swindale Wood) on the North side, and on the South side was a thick fence.
I was about half way down the hill, approaching the Hagg Beck, when five or six couple of hounds came out of the wood onto the road.
As I jammed on the brakes, realized I was among the pack and it seemed that I must have hit some of them. They appeared to be all round and underneath the car.
At that same moment the leading hounds disappeared I through the fence on my right. I got out of the car, feeling sick with apprehension as to what I might find in the road. By the light of my headlamps I searched the roadside but to my amazement there was no sign of anything.
I stood still to listen, thinking that from the way in which hounds drove on over the road they must be close to their fox and that on this still clear night, I should surely hear their cry as they hunted on over the moor. But there was no sound.
Suddenly a feeling of fear overcame me. I was alone on the Moor road, late at night and I realised that there could be no rational explanation of what had taken place. Although I had seen a pack of hounds I had heard nothing, nor had I felt any kind of bump or impact when I drove into the middle of the pack.
I had known Swindale Wood since I was a boy and had enjoyed many good hunts from there; now my one thought was to get away from it. All I wanted was to arrive as quickly as possible at the Mess at Cramlington where I would join my friends. Next morning Colonel W. H. A. Wharton, who was my Commanding Officer and also Master of the Cleveland Hounds from 1886-1919 asked me what sort of drive back I had had the night before. I told him of my experience and he said at once, “You have seen the Lockwood Beck Ghost Pack.”
- 1NYMNPA HER No: 22623. Cleveland HER SMR: 5917.
- 2‘Cleveland Waterworks. | Northern Weekly Gazette | Thursday 28 March 1872 | British Newspaper Archive’. 2023. Britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk <https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/viewer/bl/0003072/18720328/035/0004> [accessed 13 May 2023]