The gentle guardian ghost that tends to the graves at a small Shropshire churchyard

Shropshire has its fair share of ghost stories and gruesome folklore tales - but not all of the spirits that haunt the county have ill intent.

St Michael's Churchyard. Photo: Amy Boucher
St Michael's Churchyard. Photo: Amy Boucher

So goes the legend of the Lady of St Michael's Churchyard, a gentle ghost that supposedly haunts the grounds of the church in Madeley, Telford.

"Little is known about the identity of Madeley’s first ghost," says Amy Boucher, expert in Shropshire folklore who has looked into the legend of the ghostly woman.

"She can be found haunting St Michael’s Churchyard, which is certainly an atmospheric location.

"If you like graveyards, you will probably be impressed with St Michael’s, with its numerous unique graves. From Mary Tooth - whose epitaph reads ‘her warfare is complete’ (one can only assume what such warfare was) to the beautiful hand-crafted mosaic memorial to Charles Arthur Turner (a little boy who died whilst playing in the local area) it’s clear that history rises up through these stones.

The mosaic tribute to young Charles Arthur Turner. Photo: Amy Boucher

"It’s among these stones our ghost has decided to make their presence known. This female entity is frequently reported wandering through the graveyard, occasionally stopping at certain graves, before continuing her journey, only to lay flowers at one of the older, more neglected gravestones.

"She appears as an old lady, often with a dark grey or black cloak pulled tightly around her, as if she is cold. She pauses for a moment after laying the flowers, deep in thought before disappearing.

St Michael's Churchyard. Photo: Amy Boucher

"Most reported sightings occur in the morning when the graveyard is drenched in birdsong. People say that seeing the lady makes them feel calm and they are almost soothed by her presence, which makes her all the more lovely.

"Though we do not know who the woman is, nor her story, I’m not sure that it really matters - for it's wonderful to know that the churchyard is watched over by its own gentle guardian."

Read more of Amy's work at nearlyknowledgeablehistory.blogspot.com.

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