Topics > County Durham > Sedgefield > Legend of the Pickled Parson

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.

Extert from: John Sykes Local Records: Historical register of remarkable events, which have occurred in Northumberland and Durham, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Berwick upon Tweed, 1833
Sedgefield 1792
from Geograph (geograph)
Green in Sedgefield

Pinned by Simon Cotterill
from Geograph (geograph)
Ceddesfield Hall, Rectory Road, Sedgefield

Pinned by Simon Cotterill
Legend of the 'Pickled Parson' used to promote historic parish
- Church Times, 19 May 2017. "THE legend of a Pickled Parson has been enlisted to boost visitor num­bers at a historic church in north-east England. The story of the ...

Added by
Simon Cotterill


Add a comment or share a memory.

Login to add a comment. Sign-up if you don't already have an account.


Co-Curate is a project which brings together online collections, museums, universities, schools and community groups to make and re-make stories and images from North East England and Cumbria. Co-Curate is a trans-disciplinary project that will open up 'official' museum and 'un-officia'l co-created community-based collections and archives through innovative collaborative approaches using social media and open archives/data.