tale of Tom Otter is one of many stories of hauntings around Lincolnshire.
lived in the county in the early 1800s. His story begins when he
met a young girl called Mary Kirkham. The two became very close
and the Mary eventually gave birth to Tom Otters child. The laws
of the day stated that Tom must either marry her or go to jail.
Despite the fact that he was already married, on 3rd November 1805
Tom took her to be his wife.
night while they walked home together Tom killed Mary with a hedge
stake. It was not long before the murder was discovered and Tom
Otter was arrested and charged. He was sentenced to death at a trial
which took place at the Sun Inn, Saxilby.
Kirkham's body was found in the lane and was also taken to the Sun
Inn. As the body was brought in, blood spilled onto the steps of
the Inn. This blood was said to have stained the steps for many
years after the murder took place, no matter what attempts were
made to clean them.
14th March 1806 Tom Otter was hanged and then the body was fastened
in irons and hung upon a high post. Even this event was surrounded
by tragedy - the body fell from the post twice due to the weight
of the irons and upon falling the second time crushed one of men
and killed him.
stake with which Tom Otter killed Mary was kept for many years.
Every year on the night that the murder took place the stake would
be removed from wherever it was being kept. Many attempts were made
to secure it using iron hoops or staples, but nothing was found
that could hold it. The following morning, it would be found in
the spot where the murder took place and would be 'wet with gore'.
one knew what or who was moving the stake and it was eventually
burned by the Bishop of Lincoln in the yard outside the Cathedral.