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Foister's Ghost (Ham Hill; Montacute)



Cleaning dusts off a ghostly murder story

The last thing Roy Madelin expected when he cleaned out his cupboards on a fine summer's day was to be reminded of the ghostly story of a murdering rogue who robbed pilgrims of their gold.
His parents, Phylis and Roy, had told him the tale of a cold-eyed killer who went under the name of Foister who preyed on travellers at Ham Hill - and he was curious to find out more.
Some 25 years ago, he contacted the Western Gazette and through its pages found W. Hardin Osborne of Montacute, who was able to tell him the full story and supply him with a map of where the events took place.
Foister, who lived in the district end of Montacute, would invite travellers to his home only to murder them in the night for their gold and jewellery.
The authorities eventually caught him for his heinous crimes, and stuck him in an iron gibbet hung from a tree at Batemore Barn, near the road now known as Foister's Gully, where he starved to death.
His cries of "bread for Foister" were heard for several days all over the village and when he was taken down his hands and wrists were found to have been gnawed to the bone.
A passing woman took pity and gave him some candles she was carrying but was almost lynched for her trouble.
This week, Mr Madelin, who is retired, found Mr Osborne's notes and diagrams while sorting through papers and contacted the Western Gazette again to breathe fresh life into the legend.
He said: "My mother told me of the time she and my father saw something on Ham Hill when I was younger.
"What she described as an evil substance came floating up to them. It then followed them down the hill bobbing up and down behind a hedge.
"There was also an odd, old lady living in Montacute around the time of the 1930s who is said to have seen Foister's ghost. She was called Katie Axe. She often used to wander off into the countryside by herself.
"One night, she burst into the Phelips Arms, I think it was, screaming 'I've seen the Devil at Batemore Barn.'
"I know that several other people have seen things up there as well. I just wanted to see if anyone else has seen anything mysterious."

Report BY Simon Garnett
Western Gazette, Yeovil Edition, Thursday 9th August 2001

Comment: Ham Hill is a large iron age hill fort, and gets its name from the hamstone that is quarried there.
et tu...?

You too? Damn...I was quite surprised at seeing the article without the accompanying pic....You'd think they'd at least have the good (or bad as the case may be?) grace to put the pic or a least a link to the pic with the article. I'd also be intesnsely fascinated to see it.
No pork pie...

wintermute said:
Hamstone? What the pigging hell is that?

IRONically enough, it is normal sandstone with a high iron content, which fits in nicely with the emf theories... not that I have an agenda or anything....