Fiona made the last part of the story about Molly Tart meeting the ghost of Tom Moody into a kamishibai telling. She created the slides using photos of Away with Words group leader Ali and a few bits of clip art…
Molly Tart Sees A Ghost
Tom Moody was a huntsman,
he loved the hunt so much that
when he died his ghost continued to ride …..
but this story is about Molly Tart,
who lived in Wellington in 1861.
She was old and very superstitious and…
…worked as a gardener at Apley Castle.
One day when working in the garden
she was nearly run down
by a man on a big black horse.
When she looked down she saw
her precious vegetable patch had been
trampled under the horse’s hooves.
She ran to the Lord of Apley
and told him the story.
But when she showed him the vegetable patch,
it hadn’t been touched.
He thought she was senile…
…but maybe this story is about
Tom Moody, or at least his ghost.
How the story was created
This story is a mixture of real-life and local superstition, with a touch of imagination.
While researching at Shropshire Archives Fiona (the storyteller) discovered the intriguing story of an 18th century whipper-in of the Broseley Hunt, Tom Moody, who allegedly reappeared to join the hunt as a ghost. More research found fuller and slightly different versions of this life-story, including one in ballad form. Fiona also found a reference to a 19th century worker on the Apley Estate, Molly Tart, who was extremely superstitious. She decided to work with these two characters and create a story culminating with Molly seeing the ghost of Tom Moody.
To add authenticity to her story, Fiona continued to research at the Archives. She found a reference to Molly Tart in the Census records – which gave her the timeframe for the story.
She also found Information about the grounds of the Apley Estate, which she could use for background description. Finally she did some internet research into hunting, especially the role of the Whipper-In, which helped her understand the life Tom Moody would have led.
Fiona made a Kamishibai (Japanese Storybox) photographing group facilitator Ali posing as Molly Tart for each scene of the finale ghost story. This helped her perfect the telling of the final denouement to her tale.
The video shows Fiona telling the story on a family storywalk in Apley Woods. She chose to tell the tale at the entrance to the woods, where there is a gate depicting a man with a horse and hounds.
This story was brought back to life by young people as part of a Heritage Lottery Funded Young Roots project. They researched in Shropshire Archives and the local history collections to find records of stories they felt should be part of the region’s oral heritage. The project was facilitated by Mythstories museum and supported by Shropshire Archives and Telford & Wrekin Libraries.
‘Folklore of Shropshire’, Roy Palmer, p 213-5
‘Broseley & Its Surroundings’ by John Randall 1879, reprinted in 2001 with notes by Broseley Local History Society. P 269-274
‘Shropshire Folk-Lore’ by Charlotte Burne, p 266
‘The County Seats of Shropshire’, F. Leach 1891. (Apley Castle)
Why the project came about…
The Club met in Wellington. It is Shropshire’s oldest market town at the foot of The Wrekin with its Hillfort. It is also part of Telford, a still-evolving late-20th century ‘New Town’. As one club member said:
“They have pulled down my primary school, my secondary school is being rebuilt, the Colleges are merging next year. There will be nothing left of my childhood!”
So Club members decided to research and retell some of the stories of Wellington, to fill the void between the past and the present.
Seven Stories told by the Away With Words Storytelling Club
a “Young Roots” project funded by…