At the Gatehouse

My response to A Dash of Sunny Prompt Nights On Popular Demand – Lets gather around for some ghost stories – [8]

Sanaa has asked us to gather around for some ghost stories, either a poem or a fiction piece, and for inspiration gave us the poems: ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ by John Keats, ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’ by Sylvia Plath and ‘The Stolen Child’ by William Butler Yeats. The story I have taken for my poem is a local one.


A thousand years ago, St Benet’s Abbey

Was a wealthy, thriving Anglo-Saxon monastery;

Now it is ruined and shrouded in mystery,

Isolated and not far from the sea,

Deep in the tidal marshes of the Broads.

All that remains on the north bank of the Bure

Under wide open windswept Norfolk skies

Is a gloomy gate house, a windmill and nothing more.

But if, on the 25th of May, you’re out walking late

And make your way past the abbey,

Beware the screams of agony

Of a monk who was bribed to be a traitor,

And then hanged from a beam above the gate.

Woe betide those who hear his screams

Or witness the final act of tragedy

That takes place at midnight,

When the shape of a monk writhes in agony

Of death, swinging stiff from the beam

And, with a final groan, ends the terrifying sight.

Many years ago, on All Hallows Eve

In foggy darkness, a wherryman lost his way

And found himself opposite the old gateway,

Rooted to the spot by the awful scene;

As soon as it was over, with a yell of terror

He stumbled off to reach his boat

Moored nearby and drowned in the river.


© Kim M. Russell, 2016

At the gatehouse

Image found on


12 thoughts on “At the Gatehouse

  1. I do so love historic buildings and ruins and the stories they hold in broken a character in its own right – you have created a wonderful sense of history and people still very much alive – in a contrary and wonderful way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, Jae Rose! We have so many historic buildings and ruins, as well as ghosts, in Norfolk. I love sharing them in writing. 😊


  2. Whoa! Firstly, welcome to Prompt Nights, Kim 🙂 such a pleasure to have you with us. Second, this is such an eerie and blood curdling tale and that too local you say?! I was especially caught by the lines ‘Woe betide those who hear his screams or witness the final act of tragedy that takes place at midnight.’ Quite a gruesome image and a tale which we won’t soon forget. Beautifully executed.

    Lots of love,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the lovely warm welcome, Sanaa. I only discovered your prompt this afternoon and I will drop by again. Norfolk is full of ghostly tales and there’s a ghost walk in Norwich with the Man in Black which is thrilling. I love everything supernatural. I’m pleased you enjoyed the Shrieking Monk. 😨Love, Kim x


  3. Now that’s my kind of ghost story…local legend mixed with historical fact* yes I would be the idiot sitting there at midnight with a recording devise* 😀 XXX

    Liked by 1 person

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