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31 Days of Hallowe’en Tales: Day 23 – The Shipwrecks and Hauntings of Bispham Village

One of the oldest parts of the Fylde Coast, it’s no surprise that Bispham is haunted. On day 23 of our 31 days of Halloween Tales we hear about a ship’s bell, a lucky dog, a restless wpointsman and a ghostly tram.

The history of Bispham is particularly interesting. Much older than its sprawling sibling, Blackpool, Bispham can trace its history back to the Domesday Book of 1086, where it is listed as Biscopham, meaning Bishop’s estate or Bishop’s house.

One reason Bispham is so interesting is the fact that it was known as Bispham-with-Norbreck, which is evidence of a harmonious joint settlement between Anglo-Saxon Bispham and Viking Norbreck. Not only that, but Bispham’s church, All Hallows, is the oldest place of worship in the area and is dedicated to Hallowe’en itself (more about All Hallows tomorrow).

Up until the 1960s, Bispham was a village of quaint thatched cottages. Much of its history was stripped away when these fishermen’s cottages were demolished and replaced with the brutal architecture we see today.

The Shipwreck of The Abana

On 22nd December 1894 the Abana was caught in a storm in the Irish Sea. She was sailing from Liverpool to Florida when she began drifting north, the currents and banks of the Fylde Coast being incredibly treacherous to navigate, especially in a storm. Sadly, the ship was wrecked on the shores of Little Bispham that evening.

Luckily, the crew survived and, miraculously, so did the ship’s dog. They were all taken to The Red Lion pub for an ale and to warm themselves by the fire. They were so grateful to be rescued that they gave the ship’s bell and their lucky dog to the landlord of the Cleveleys Hotel, who had been the keen-eyed soul who spotted them floundering and sent for help. The bell can still be found in St Andrews Church. As for the wreck, this can be found at low tide just off the Bispham coast near Princes Way.

The top of Red Bank Road, where the old tram sheds were and where the apparition of a ghost tram can still be seen at 2.30am
More Bispham Folklore

There are plenty of ghostly goings on in Bispham too. The legend of the Pointsman of Old Bispham Station actually lies in Layton Station which, when it was first built, was actually called Bispham Station. On dark and stormy nights, the ghostly shade of a railway Pointsman can be seen walking slowly down the tracks, swinging his lantern in the dark.

Where modern-day Sainsbury’s lies were once the northern tram shed and station. In those days, trams would come up Red Bank Road and enter the tram sheds until the next morning. At 2.30am a regular apparition can still be observed of a ghostly tram silently gliding down the tracks and heading for its final destination in the long demolished tram sheds.

Read our previous Hallowe’en Tales

Day 1 – The Curse of Carleton Crematorium.
Day 2 – The Witch Ducking Stools of Poulton-Le-Fylde.
Day 3 – The Ghost-Seer of Weeton.
Day 4 – Smuggling, Drowned Nuns and Fallen Acrobats at Raikes Hall

Day 5 – The Hauntings at the Old Coach House
Day 6 – Old Scrat
Day 7 – A Goblin Funeral at Extwistle Hall
Day 8 – The Ghost of Lady Macbeth
Day 9 – The Mermaid & The Sea Serpent of Marton Mere
Day 10 – The Banshee of Poulton
Day 11 – The Possession of the Lancashire Seven
Day 12 – Lady Fleetwood of old Ross Hall
Day 13 – Tales of Boggart House Farm
Day 14 – Miss Bamber of Marton and her Charms
Day 15 – A Severed Head at Mowbreck Hall
Day 16 – Burnley’s Satanic Pigs and the Clogging of Owd Nick
Day 17 – Three Pilling Boggarts
Day 18 – Hall i’ th’Wood
Day 19 – The Skull House, Appley Bridge
Day 20 – The Boggart of Clegg Hall
Day 21 – The Haunted Hall on the Hill
Day 22 – The Wraiths of Wycoller

Take a look at Zowie Swan’s debut novel, Chingle Hall here.

Main image: Bispham Village c1910. Credit: Norbreck.net

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  • Zowie Swan is a local writer of fiction and folklaw. Her debut novel, Chingle Hall, is out now with Safety Pin Publishing. She's also bassist for Blackpool band Dischord.

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