The Crying Child of Marcham
Walled -Up in a Cupboard
to the Churchyard is a house with extensive remains of stone built
out-buildings: a dovecote, barns and more. The house has the date 1646 cut
into a stone in the wall. It is certainly 17th century.
occupant, Mr. Harpham, told how when he and his wife came, newly married,
to the house in 1899, they were occasionally disturbed by the sound of a
child crying. Their own three children were born after 1900. The crying
occurred at all times, but was most disturbing when it was heard in the
evening after their own children were in bed; as it caused the parents to
go upstairs to quiet the children, only to find them asleep.
About 1905, the house was repaired and done up. During the work, a cupboard or cavity was discovered under the stairs. In it was found a bundle: an old dress in which was wrapped the skeletonised remains of a young child. The police examined the remains and the dress was considered to be thirty or forty years old. The child's death was probably caused by violence according to indications on the skull. No inquest was held but the bones were given Christian burial in the Churchyard by the Vicar; after which the 'cryings' ceased.
Edited from the Berkshire Local History Recording Scheme (1934)
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