Old Monastery Pool (A Local Ghost Story)

An old picture of the Burnell Arms and a photo of me with local mirror carp.

Living in an old pub (the Burnell Arms) at the centre of a village in rural Nottinghamshire, I’ve heard plenty of eerie tales. For me, one stands out. It’s the story of someone I only ever hear referred to as ‘Young Charlie’ and a local pond known as ‘Old Monastery Pool’.

During the Second World War, Young Charlie could often be found inside the Burnell Arms (pictured top left) trading the trout and eels he’d plucked from local streams for extra ration stamps. Understanding he was a keen fisherman, one of the patrons told Young Charlie about Old Monastery Pool. Now, where I live, most of the local ponds are inhabited by mirror carp and, apparently, they’re all descended from the carp a group of monks used to rear in their monastery pond for food hundreds of years ago. The monastery is long gone, replaced by thick woodland, but the pond remains. The patron told Young Charlie all of this and, naturally, the lad was desperate to fish Old Monastery Pool to find out what, if anything, had survived there.

However, the landowner was strangely reluctant to give him permission. It took Young Charlie almost a year of begging before he finally, finally relented. As soon as he had his approval, Young Charlie made the long trek up to the woodland surrounding Old Monastery Pool. What he found in the dying light disappointed him. The pond was in the exact place the patron had said, but it was half silted up, clogged with pond weed and full of dead branches. Only a few patches of clear water remained and Young Charlie thought he could see through them right to the bottom. It seemed that the water was only a few inches deep, hardly the sort of place that might harbour a monster.

Not being one to accept defeat easily, Young Charlie chucked out a stick float and worm, hoping that there might still be a few minnows around, maybe even an eel or two. Almost as soon as his float stood straight in the water, it was swept under with all the ferocity of a colossal pike strike. Young Charlie’s line snapped instantly but he didn’t care, there was obviously something huge lurking in the pond! Maybe there was deeper water below the weed after all, the perfect hiding place for a giant fish that would have the pub talking for years!

Young Charlie wound in his loose line, sank back against a tree, reached into his basket and began switching to his most robust tackle. But, in his eagerness, he couldn’t resist a glance up at the pond. Standing on the other side of the bank amongst the trees, staring at him intently through the gloom, the murky shape of an old man dressed in tattered robes. Terrified, Young Charlie shot up from where he was sitting and slammed his head straight into a low branch, knocking himself out. When he came round it was pitch black and his rod, tackle and basket were smashed to pieces …

According to local legend, the monastery the pond belonged to was burned down when a cruel abbot refused fish to hungry villagers after a failed harvest. In doing so he bought death and a terrible curse upon himself. Now he’s doomed to patrol Old Monastery Pool day and night, making sure no one takes his precious fish. It’s said that Young Charlie found himself on the wrong side of the abbot’s wrathful apparition!

Postscript* Since first hearing this tale, I have visited Old Monastery Pool myself. I can confirm that the pond is a stagnant, weedy jumble but I never saw a ghostly monk. Maybe the curse is just baseless local myth? Saying that, I haven’t yet plucked up the courage to throw in a line!

January 27, 20165 Comments

Anchor Leg Vlog #1

Usually I don’t reveal much about my WIP’s until they’re nearly complete, but with my latest novel I want to do things a little differently. I’m going to post a series of vlog updates detailing the book’s process as I go along. So, without further ado, click on the video below to watch me introduce Anchor Leg!

Let me know what you thought in the comments section, more vlog updates to come!

You can view my YouTube channel by clicking here.

January 7, 2016Leave a comment

Release: December Awethology

Today marks the release of a new December-themed anthology! My festive poem That Couple is one of nineteen stories you’ll find inside The December Awethology: Dark Volume, all contributed by writers involved in the Awethors online community. The December Awethology: Light Volume is also out today.

The December Awethology: Dark Volume is available via Amazon UK now.

You can watch me perform That Couple by clicking here.

December 4, 2015Leave a comment

That Couple (Spoken Word)

Last year I posted an alternative Christmas poem entitled, Forgotten Carol. Well, this year, I’ve written another one! This time I thought I’d perform it on video, have a little go at some spoken word poetry. I hope you like it!

You can check out my YouTube channel here. Do let me know what you thought of my little experiment in the comments section and Merry Christmas!

December 1, 2015Leave a comment