Bradwell’s Lost Daughter

Silence swims as a fish in the water
Lighting the Lumb with her colours so bright

But each Christmas Eve see what magic transforms her
Bradwell’s lost daughter takes wing in the night

Get fromBradwell's Lost Daughter - The Dark Peak and The White

The Lumb Boggat is an old Bradwell story of a girl who was found dead under the stairs of a house in the late 1700s. Her ghost haunted the villagers, so they called an exorcist. He sent her spirit to live in the Lumb, a resurgence of the Bradshaw cavern in the middle of the village.

The Lumb

He also decreed that once a year she would turn into a white ousel (a white blackbird) and fly to Lumbly pool, in between Bradwell and Brough. Locals still watch out for the white bird when walking home at night.


I first came across the story of the Lumb Boggat on a great website called Peakland Heritage.  In a section called 'Beastlie Folklore', it describes the traditional legend from Bradwell:

The Lumb Boggart of Bradwell was no dog. It was first heard of over two centuries ago when the body of a young girl was found beneath the staircase of a house at Hill Head. The whole village began to be terrorised by nightly appearances of her ghost until an eccentric local character, believed to be a magician, agreed to help. Surrounded by a nervous crowd inside the haunted house, the magician knelt inside a chalk circle and concentrated until rivers of sweat ran down his face. All of a sudden the floor moved vigorously up and down. When the man called out “Arise, arise! I command thee!”, a spirit materialised. It was ordered to turn into a fish and make its home in the Lumb mouth. And there was one more instruction - once a year on Christmas Eve it had to transform itself from a fish into a white ousel (a white blackbird!) and fly to Lumbly Pool.

More digging on the subject led me to a publication written in 1912 by Seth Evans called 'Bradwell: Ancient & Modern. History of the Parish, and incidents in the Hope Valley & district: being collections and recollection in a Peakland village'.  There is a very good internet archive version of the book, taken from a copy at The University of California which can be seen here

In Chapter 14, 'Some Ancient Customs and Superstitions', I found the following passage:

The "Lumb Boggart"

"Woman and fish, so strangely blent in one,
So fables tell, and so old legends run.
Now on the wave greeting the newborn day;
Now on the velvet bank in sportive play;
And when prevailed the part of woman fair,
Into long flowing locks it curled its hair,
Breathes the swift zephyrs as they gently rise,
And its fair bosom heaves with human sighs;
But when the fish prevails beneath the tides,
Like lightning it a scaly monster glides;
And in its wat'ry cavern must remain
Till Easter Sunday morning comes again."
Kedfern, Hayfield.

Like all other mountain villages, Bradwell has its superstitions, and they would not be complete without the ghost story. Many a time have we crouched and run past "The Lumb," on a dark night, and oftener still has the hair on many heads stood straight when passing " Lumbly Pool," between Brough and Bamford.

It used to be said that about a century and a half ago the body of a young girl, who was supposed to have been murdered was found buried under the staircase of a house at Hill Head. The ghost of the girl appeared every night until everybody in the neighbourhood were terrified and thrown into a cold sweat. Unable to bear it any longer the people got a well known individual who belonged to the Baptists, then called "the new-fangled body", to undertake the task of "laying" the ghost. As this individual professed to be able to rale the planets, of course no one doubted his power of getting rid of the ghost.

The time came, and the haunted house was filled with affrighted spectators when the exorcist appeared among them with his paraphernalia, and when he prayed until streams of sweat poured from his face as he knelt within a ring he had chalked on the chamber floor, the lookers-on kneeling around, and later afterwards declared that they " felt the floor move for yards up and down in quick succession." Then the magician arose and exclaimed, " Arise ! arise! I charge and command thee," when the spirit appeared, and the man ordered it to depart and assume the body of a fish, and to locate itself in the Lumb Mouth. He also ordered that every Christmas eve the ghost should assume the form of a white ousel, and fly to Lumbly Pool.

Such is the story of the " Lumb Boggart," an absurd tale which everybody believed even down to half a century ago.

My thanks go to some more Evans’, Jackie and John of Bradwell, for chatting to me about the lumb boggart, and helping me locate the Lumb itself, when I went exploring and investigating on a rainy February afternoon.



Silence swims as a fish in the water
Lighting the Lumb with her colours so bright
But each Christmas Eve see what magic transforms her
Bradwell’s lost daughter takes wing in the night

Found alone at a house up at Hill Head
Poor long dead wretch buried under the stair
They’ve lifted her body and dug down so deeply
They’ve lain her to rest but no rest she finds there

See, she rises like mist in the meadow
Still, she comes like the shadow of night
With each ghostly creaking the dead girl comes creeping
The sorrowful spector avenging her plight

Soon, this village, so sleepless and shaken
Sent for a church man renowned for his skill
And strait way he’s come with no airs and no graces
And walked without word to that house on the hill

Into that house crammed the neighbours around him
Through doorways and windows they hung for the show
In a circle of chalk he has knelt down so steady
And prayed with such force water poured down his brow

All of a sudden, the floor took to shaking
Up, down and upwards, until this man cried out
"Arise, arise, I charge and command thee"
The whole world went still, and her ghost did appear

"Sorry am I now I look down upon you
So sad are your eyes that it makes my heart numb
If you will not be gone, you can stay in this village
But you must live as a fish in the mouth of the Lumb

And now for you sinners who gather around me
I’d have you reminded for causing this woe,
So she’ll rise once each season, and to lumbly pool hasten
She’ll fly as a blackbird, but as white as the snow

Silence swims as a fish in the water
Lighting the Lumb with her colours so bright
But each Christmas Eve, see what magic transforms her
Bradwell’s lost daughter takes wing in the night.

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