Living Lore: Gary Stocker and The Phantom Miller of Bearley

I would like to welcome Gary Stocker, who, having seen my appeal for folklore and folk tales, sent me an email packed with wonderful stuff. So much, in fact, that I decided a regular series of posts was the only way to go.

Gary had also seen the National Trust appeal for folklore and traditions and was kind enough to sent me a copy of his initial email to them, am packed with the small traditions of every day. In that email, Gary expressed the belief that the internet will help preserve these old traditions. I hope so too, but while many areas have collected their folklore in books, others have not and having found it difficult to locate the small traditions of many counties, I am convinced that the only way to gather these stories is to ask people to share them.

Gary wrote: “I think that there is probably more interest in folklore now, than in my grandparents’ time. When I was a child in the seventies you used to have visions of old timers telling stories of the old days, ghost stories and old legends. If ever I asked my grandparents or great uncles/aunts, you were met with complete uninterest. In fact one of my grandfathers was a complete sceptic! I am guessing that their generation were trying to leave that behind and modernise.

I think that the renewed interest in folklore now is probably driven by rapid changes in technology and the social changes associated with it. Folklore acts as a kind of anchor to the past.”

Gary also sent me a number of articles and photographs… Look out for his posts on Sundays at five pm, UK time. His first post tells of…

The Phantom Miller of Bearley

Gary Stocker

Hill where windmill stood.

To the north of the Warwickshire village of Bearley, up until the 1930’s, there stood the remains of a windmill. It fell into disuse in the nineteenth century. Trees grew up around it and was finally demolished in the 1930’s and the building materials reused.

Pool where the ghostly horses are said to drink.

The millstone is said to still be there. According to legend there is meant to be sacks of gold under it. The ghost of a miller holds it in place though. The only time he releases his hold is at midnight at the full moon, when he leads his six black horses down the hill to drink at a pond.

The sunken pathway (“Roman Road”)

There is a sunken track, known as the “Roman Road”, which runs parallel to the official public footpath and leads to the pond. The track appears to be very old. In places it is halfway passable, then it gets very overgrown and in places it disappears altogether.

Druid oak

The path becomes School Lane, goes past a nine hundred year old druid oak and terminates at the church of St Mary Virgin. The church itself was haunted and there is a blocked off doorway in one of the walls.

Blocked up doorway.

Source: “Haunted Warwickshire” by Meg Elizabeth Atkins pages 46 – 47.

(I just had to include this video to which Gary sent me the link 😉 )

About the author

Gary Stocker graduated from Coventry Polytechnic in 1991 with a degree in combined engineering. He worked in civil engineering for nearly twenty years. For the last six years he has worked in materials science and currently works as a test engineer. His hobbies and interests include voluntary work, conservation work and blacksmithing. He is also interested in history, mythology and folklore and he says, “most things”.

How did your granny predict the weather? What did your great uncle Albert tell you about the little green men he saw in the woods that night? What strange creature stalks the woods in your area?

So many of these old stories are slipping away for want of being recorded. legendary creatures, odd bits of folklore, folk remedies and charms, and all the old stories that brought our landscape to life…

Tell me a story, share memories of the old ways that are being forgotten, share the folklore of your home. I am not looking for fiction with this feature, but for genuine bits of folklore, old wives tales, folk magic and local legends. Why not share what you know and preserve it for the future?

Email me at and put ‘Living Lore’ in the subject line. All I need is your article, bio and links, along with any of your own images you would like me to include and I’ll do the rest.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email:
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14 Responses to Living Lore: Gary Stocker and The Phantom Miller of Bearley

  1. The Druid Oak is beautiful!


  2. dolemite3 says:

    It certainly is. Unfortunately I have not been able to find out anymore about it other than that though.


    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thank you very much for sending so much wonderful stuff, Gary!
      There are a good many ‘Druid Oaks’ dotted around the country. I believe one interpretation of the word ‘druid’ means ‘knower of oaks’.


  3. Losing the Plot says:

    Fabulous, Derry or Doire means oak in Irish so anywhere you see that in a place name refers to the oaks that once grew there.

    Btw, I would also have been studying at Cov Poly in 1991, Env Sci.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Alli Templeton says:

    A fantastic and intriguing tale, Sue. I’m going to have to go and find this place now… 🙂


  5. dolemite3 says:

    If you look on the Ordnance Survey map, the footpath is literally due north from the church (it is Gary, I will change my name from dolemite3).


    • Sue Vincent says:

      Thanks for that, Gary.
      (If you click the ‘reply’ beneath a comment, rather than the main one, you’ll respond to that particular person and the system will let them know. 😉 )


  6. Thank you for another wonderful informative posting, Sue! Have a beautiful evening! Michael


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