The Dead Maids of Chapmanslade
Phil Jefferson from Chapmanslade writes:
Dilton Marsh's website tells the story of the Dead Maids of Chapmanslade. (This part of Chapmanslade used to be part of Dilton Marsh.)
A young lady of the parish was being pursued by two suitors. The two men decided to fight a duel to determine which one of them should marry her.
In the ensuing duel, one of them was shot dead.
This man had been the owner of a black dog which, seeing the demise of its master, attacked the other man, killing him.
Totally distressed at losing both her suitors, the young lady then took her own life and was buried at Dead Maids crossroads, which is located on the edge of the old parish.
Since then, the black dog has haunted the local woods, which appropriately are called Black Dog Woods.
The Black Dog Highwayman
Another story suggests that the black dog was, in fact, owned by a highwayman who used to conduct his business on what is now Black Dog Hill, on the A36.
Today, there is a straight road running up the hill, but in previous times the road used to meander tortuously up the hill and, with its many bends, was an ideal place for a highwayman to lurk.
The dog's job, by the way, was to leap up onto the stagecoach and attack the driver in the neck, thus halting the vehicle.
So, watch out if you are on the A36 between Warminster and Bath (the modern version of the black dog is a speed camera, by the way!).