Last months I wrote the first part of this series of articles on screaming skulls a typically British phenomenon and, yes you guessed it folks here is part two.
(Part one can be found HERE)
So now dear reader we take a trip down to the Tudor Manor of Bettiscombe in the picturesque county of Dorset. And the legend of the skull is as follows.
The story goes that Azariah Pinny whose family had been land owners in Bettiscomb for many generations had supported the Duke of Monmouth in his failed rebellion against the crown and was captured after the famed battle of Sedgemore (6 July 1685), which took place near Weston Zoyland in the county of Somerset. As a punishment he was sentenced to be hung, drawn and quartered by the infamous Bloody Judge Jeffreys but, as was the way back then money and influence could get you off of most things. His sentence was commuted to that of deportation for the cost of £65, which was in those days a great deal of money and, it seems the price of a life. This it turned out was no real hard ship for Azariah as he was sent to the island of Nevis in the Caribbean where he became a plantation owner and made his fortune. At one point he owned some 729 acres which was a large portion of the small island. He only returned to England when the slavery became illegal which prompted him to sell his plantations and travel home to Bettiscomb, bringing with him a former slave deemed trust worthy enough to be in the families employ.
Unfortunately, I have been unable to find the name of this former slave and I suppose that recording such things in this time wasn’t seen as important but, legend has it the poor fellow contracted what was suspected as being tuberculous and died shortly afterwards. His final wishes was that he be laid to rest in his home land of Nevis which Azariah agreed to. But when the poor man died his master negated on his agreement and had him interred in the local church yard.
It wasn’t long after the body was laid to rest that spine chilling screams and moans were heard coming from the very church yard where the slave had been buried. This of course unnerved the villagers who demanded that Azariah do something to amend the situation. The solution was to disinter the decomposing corpse and place it in the loft of the Manor house where it would remain, slowly turning to dust until just the skull remained. Legend has it that this solved the problem of the unearthly screams. However, that isn’t the end of the story.
This is where for a while details start to get a little thin and it is said that on many occasions occupants of the manor have tried to remove the skull, with one even throwing it rather disrespectfully into a near by pond. But each and every a time terrible banging and screaming can be heard through out the house with doors slamming and poltergeist type phenomena manifesting only to be abated by its return.
So I shall end this story by sadly debunking at least part of it. For you see dear reader that in the 1960s a member of the Pinny family, an archaeologist by profession examined the skull and found it to be much more ancient than previously thought, it was aged at around 2000 to 3000 years old and not to have belonged to an African male but that of a white European woman. Make of that what you will my friends.
Keep an eye out for part 3 coming soon.