Annie’s Tale

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On the west side of the old village of Winlaton Mill just where the River Derwent makes a bend after passing through Lockhaugh there once stood a flour mill owned by Messrs. Sharp & Walker of Lumley. Sharp and Walker were both tried at Durham in the year 1631 for the murder of a young woman called Anne Walker, a niece of John Walker, the owner of the mill. This young woman had gone to live at the house of her uncle to act as his housekeeper. She was described as a pleasing young woman of twenty-five, and her appearance handsome. However, alas, after staying some time at her uncle’s house, she found she was to become a mother. Then, Anne disappeared, no-one knew where.

It is said that the spirit of Anne appeared to John Graham, a miller at Lumley and revealed to him the shocking news that she had been murdered. She said her uncle had sent her away with Mark Sharp, telling her that he would take her to some place where she would be looked after until her trouble was over. Poor Anne didn’t realise that her uncle had a more devious plan. Sharp murdered her with a pick, making five wounds in her head and afterwards threw her down a pit.

Annie needed to be avenged and when her spirit appeared to John Graham telling him the dreadful circumstances of her death he went straight to the law; the pit was examined and the body found. Sharp and Walker were arrested and tried for murder; despite their protestations they were both hanged for the crime at Durham
in 1632. Annie had her revenge.