The Ghost of Sandy Lane

The Ghost of Sandy Lane

The terrible sight of an angry old man, blood running down his front and shaking his fist at the world, is said to be seen running down the lonely lane on dark nights.  Disappearing through a wall of a barn, the figure is thought to be the ghost of Joshua Rigby, a Lowton farmer, who met a violent end on 18th September 1883.  Described by the locals as a “nowty mon”, Joshua was known for his cruelty to his elderly sisters and his considerable wealth.  He was often heard boasting about his money in the local pubs and taunting his nephews about what he would do with it after he died. After being caught beating his sister with a belt, he was persuaded by his nephew John Gibbons to make a will in case he was sent to prison for cruelty.  In June 1883 he signed his will, leaving everything to John. A few weeks later Joshua was discovered in his bedroom with his throat cut and a search revealed the old man’s will and bank book in John Gibbons’ pocket.  He was arrested and an inquest was held at the Jolly Carter Inn.  Two doctors gave evidence that a blow from John Gibbons’ heavy boots could have caused Joshua’s head injuries.  A long grey hair was found in the seam of the accused’s boot  and he was commited to the Crown Court at Liverpool to stand trial for murder.  The trial, however, fell apart and John returned to Lowton after two months in prison looking the picture of health and having gained 30lbs!  A special edition of the Leigh Chronicle detailing the case sold like hot cakes and the gruesome goings-on were the main topic of conversation and speculation for weeks.  For years after that, however, many people continued to report sightings of the old man’s ghost stalking the lanes and fields around the farm – it is often seen by the late night customers of the Jolly Carter Inn.

Sources “Ghosts of Leigh” by Cyril Ward and Memories of Lowton by Richard Ridyard.

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