Bad Bobby Bannister, Northamptonshire
Certain counties have their own special bogeymen (and women) who have scared children for generations: so it is in Northumberland with the Duergar Dwarves haunting the hills; Jenny Greenteeth in Shropshire , though she can be found elsewhere too; Yallery Brown in Lincolnshire ; and Bobby Bannister in Northamptonshire.
Different versions of the tale can be found with a little looking, though the invaluable Westwood and Simpson’s The Lore of the Land provides the most detailed information. They believe the bogeyman originated in the real-life figure of Sir Robert Banastre, a courtier to James I and Charles I , who though superficially pious was a thoroughly bad lot, demolishing homes to avoid paying to support the poor, doomed to haunt his home as he died with sins still unconfessed.
His spirit was said to have haunted the churchyard at Passenham in Northamptonshire until it was exorcised; but others claim that his shade resides there still, pulled behind a spectral horse because of his sudden death unshriven, his neck snapped in an accident whilst out hunting. To the children for whom Bobby Bannister is a lurking danger if they are less than sage the fine points will matter little.
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