Tobias Gill - Hanged in Blythburgh Suffolk

Picture (c) by John Ashley Photography

The small Suffolk village of Blythburg sits at the head of the River Blyth estuary about four miles west of Southwold. As well as the ghostly tale associated with the church of Blythburgh there is also another ghost that is said to haunt this small village. 

This ghost is sighted where the Walberswick road meets the A12 known locally as Toby's Walk about half a mile to the south of the village close to the picnic area.

Back in the year 1750 a detachment of Dragoons were based at Blythburg. In June of that year the body of a local girl Anne Blakemore of Walberswick was found. The finger of suspicion pointed at one of the Dragoons a Tobias Gill. Tobias was a tall muscular black man who had the nickname 'Black Tob'. He had a way with the ladies but when in his cups had a reputation for brawling. He was actually found lying next to the body of the dead girl in a drunken stupor, but when roused swore that he had not harmed her.

Despite his protestations of innocence he was found guilty and sentenced to be hung in chains on the spot where the body of the girl had been found. So on 14th September 1750 Tobias was dragged still pleading his innocence to the scene of the crime, where gallows had been set up.

Spotting the local mail coach, Tobias asked that instead of being hung that he be dragged at the end of a rope by the coach, but to no avail and his sentence was carried out and he was hanged.

However, when things had quietened down again in the village, questions began to be asked as to whether Tobias had been guilty of the girls murder. The coroner admitted that there had been no marks on Anne Blakemore's body and in fact there was little evidence that she had actually been murdered, but may have died from natural causes.

As a result of this probable injustice Tobias's ghost is said to roam the spot where he was hanged bemoaning his fate. Other sightings have seen him thundering over the common in a coach pulled by four black chargers. There have also been reports that suggest that the ghost of Anne Blakemore haunts the area by running in front of cars and then disappearing.
  Picture (c)
                    by John Ashley Photography