By the vestry door at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Lillington (by coincidence it is the Feast Day of St Mary Magdalene tomorrow), you will find a gravestone known rather uncomplimentary as, “The Miser’s Grave.” It is the grave of a certain Billy Treen who worked as a labourer and road scraper. He subsisted by living frugally (to put it mildly) and lived off things like potato peelings which he begged off neighbours. Not that it did him that much harm: he was aged seventy-seven years when he died in 1810. However when his estate was being sorted, he was found to be more than fairly well off. His gravestone had the inscription,
“I poorly liv’d and Poorly Dy’d
Poorly Buried, and no one Cry’d.”
It is said that this was put where parishioners could see it easily as a warning not to be so tight with money!
Where he was said to have lived, Cubbington Road, was in a thatched cottage. In the 1920’s the tenants were a married couple. The wife did not like one bedroom though as it always felt very eerie in there. To the point that they gave up their tenancy. They needed to do some maintenance work in there though before they left. The husband had to move a small cupboard in the bedroom. Behind it he found a purse containing some old silver coins. This was thought to have belonged to our friend, Billy Treen. When the cottage was being demolished a number of years later, treasure hunters getting into the site unauthorised were a real problem.
Another claim to fame from that area is that one of the Dambusters was said to have lived either at the end of the road where the church is (Vicarage Road) or the parallel road.
“Haunted Warwickshire” by Meg Elizabeth Atkins
Myths and hauntings of Warwickshire. At the junction of Lillington Avenue and Lillington Road, near to the Lillington boundary, used to be the Midland Oak, which reputedly marked the centre of England. It was felled in 1967 (I think that I can vaguely remember the stump of it) and an oak tree grown from an acorn was planted in its stead. A commemorative plaque was put there as well.
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”.