Weird Norfolk: The mystery of Trowse’s weeping white ghost horse

Beautiful night sky with white horse

Is the weeping white horse of Trowse the spirit of a woman who lost her life in the nearby river? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

It’s a spine-chilling tale that begins with a tragic death and ends with a warning for fair-haired children who wander in the dark lanes of Trowse.

In The Evening News of November 17 1971, a story was printed which had been given to the editor by Charles Sparrow, who lived in Meadowbrook Close. He had read other ghost stories printed in the newspaper and wanted to share his own that stretched back to when he was a lad in the spring of 1912.

There was, he said, a local tale that linked the tragic tale of young woman who fell under the ice on the River Yare during a bitter winter and who drowned as her young son watched helplessly from the river bank and a ghost. Since the woman’s untimely death, several villagers had reported seeing a phantom white horse in the village – a ghost horse that shed tears.

“I had been to tea with some relations at Bixley and was not feeling very happy about my cycle home to Trowse in the dark for I was only a little lad,” Mr Sparrow remembered.

“Taking a short cut through a private road, which brings you out on the Kirby road, opposite Crown Point Drive, I was thinking of my mother waiting for me as I cycled along.

“To my horror, something white came floating towards me over a gateway.  I have never cycled so fast in my life – and never since that night I have not liked being alone in the dark in the county.”

In tears, the young Mr Sparrow arrived home and told his parents what he had seen. His father suggested that the vision had been a bush full of blossom swaying in the wind rather than a ghost, and the child tried to banish the thought from his mind.

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“The next day after school I kissed my mother farewell and set out feeling brave and normal in the daylight. Arriving near the place I could see something white at the gate; jumping off my bike I was soon stroking the face of the loveliest white horse I have ever seen,” Mr Sparrow added.

“I stroked her for quite a while, the horse kept touching my cheek with its nose and all it wanted me to do was keep stroking its face.

“When I was about to leave, I could hardly believe it; there was water coming out of the horse’s eyes. When my father got home, I told him of these things and he said I was not to say anything to my brother or sisters, and on the Sunday morning he would come with me to see the horse.”

When the pair arrived at the field where young Charles had seen the horse the animal was gone, but there were hoof prints of an unshod horse on the other side of the gate.

“Walking home my father took my hand and said I was never to speak about the things I had seen or they would put me away and we would never see each other again,” said Mr Sparrow.

“He told me that many years ago a strange white horse had been seen on the road to Stoke but it disappeared and today this road is called White Horse Lane.”

No villagers owned a white horse, but when pressed, Mr Sparrow said something which was even stranger still.

 “The odd thing about it is that it was not the shape of a white horse I saw, but a figure, like a woman in white with arms outstretched,” he told the Evening News.

“The uncanny thing is, it is the only time in my life I have seen any animal weep.”

“If there is any one in that village with little lads with fair hair, I would not let them wander alone in the dark on the road to Bixley or in White Horse Lane. I hope if anyone sees the horse they will as kind to it as I was, but then my bones will be laid to rest in Trowse Churchyard, not so far away from those of the woman who drowned.”

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