THE CRAWLS, the story of the Tichborne Dole and its curse

tichborne dole

March 25th is ‘Lady Day’, the traditional name of the Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin.

It is also a day of festivities in Tichborne, Hampshire, when donations of flour, which have been blessed by the local parish priest, are handed out from the front of Tichborne House — and, a time when, once more, the villagers serve to abate the terror of an age-old curse!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Listen …can you hear her?

Strain your ears, press them close to the soil and you surely will!

That wretched wheeze: a drawn-out throttling of the throat that sounds like murder.

Then comes the coughing: a diseased hack-hack-hack, as if a seal gasping for air.

I am dying.

She is dying, but slowly.

What an odd place to die?

The plough-ravaged soil caresses her, taking her down.

Earth binds itself to her fingers; black rivers run across her back.

I will not let him win.

She has crawled this field many times before — every accursed March 25th for the past eight hundred years. And crawl it she must, for without her spirit, and the curse that is renewed each and every Lady Day, Tichborne would be nothing more than a dream of the past. So, let us bless the soul of Lady Mabella and allow her to tell her tale; a tale that has come to be known as ‘The Terror of Tichborne’. Continue reading