Legend of the Pickled Parson
1792 December 31 - About two o’clock on the morning, a fire broke out in one of the lodging rooms in the rectory house at Sedgefield, in the county of Durham, which consumed the greatest part of the building before it was extinguished; by the activity of the servants and the neighbourhood, the most valuable part of the furniture was preserved. The superstitious and vulgar inhabitants of Sedgefield, were, previously to the burning down of the rectory house alarmed by an apparition denominated the Pickled Parson, which for many years was presumed to infest the neighbourhood of the rector's hall “making night hideous”. The supposed origin of the tale is attributed to the cunning of a rector's wife, whose husband having died about a week before the tithes (which are generally let off to farmers and the rents paid on the 20th of December) became due, she concealed his death by salting his body in a private room. Her scheme succeeded; she received the emoluments of the living, and the next day made the decease of the rector public. Since the fire, the apparition has not been seen.