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The Pickled Parson

St. Edmund’s church was built in medieval times its tower can be seen from miles around. The former Rectory now Ceddesfield Hall was reputedly haunted by “THE PICKLED PARSON” who was said to reside in a lost tunnel leading from St Edmunds Church to the Rectory. 

The story goes . . .

John Gamage was Rector of Sedgefield in the 1740’s. In those days the farmers used to pay “tithes” to the parson – one farmer would pay with a sack of wheat, another with a load of hay, another with a sheep, and so on. 

In December, 1747, John Gamage died suddenly, just a few days before Christmas. The farmers always paid their tithes at Christmas. The rector’s wife knew that the farmers would not pay to a dead man, or, if they did pay, the goods would be seized by the Bishop of Durham. 

So what did she do?

She told nobody that the Rector was dead. She got a large chest, put the body in, and covered it with salt. Christmas came and all the farmers paid their tithes. When all were paid she took the body out of the salt, put it in bed, and then told everybody that the Rector had just died. When they came to see the dead Rector he looked quite fresh, just as though he had died after Christmas instead of before. 

But that is not all. The story goes on to say that the dead Rector was so displeased with his wife’s trickery that his ghost haunted the rectory for many years. However, in 1792, the haunted part of the rectory was burnt down-and the ghost was never more seen or heard!