Phantom black dogs are prevalent throughout the country and are known by many names, in the Staffordshire area it is known as the Padfoot. It is usually perceived as being black with glowing red eyes and is about the size of a calf.
The person who sees the Padfoot isn’t normally the person who suffers dire consequences, for instance if it is seen in a churchyard it could mean that it is the vicar who is going to die. Although the Padfoot is the harbinger of death it is also seen at burial places and certain wells such as the Indefont well and also the Egg well which seem to attract it for some reason.
The Egg well which seems to attract the Padfoot.
There are areas close to the Leek to Ashbourne road where sightings of the Padfoot have been made, this to some extent follows the route that Bonnie Prince Charlie took on his march to Derby, and whether skirmishes took place and led to deaths along the route this may explain the reason why the Padfoot has been seen in these areas.
Oxhaye farm on the Leek to Ashbourne road.
Oxhaye farm was formerly a pub called the Red Lion, and it is thought that two Jacobite soldiers fought with each other and as a result were killed, their bodies were buried at the rear of the farm and it has been said that the Padfoot guards their graves.
The burial site of two Jacobite soldiers behind Oxhaye farm that is said to be guarded by a phantom black dog
Another place where three Jacobite soldiers were killed is further on along the Leek to Buxton road at Swinscoe, the phantom black dog is said to guard these graves as well.
If you travel through Ipstones on the A5053, about a mile further on down the road you can see Hermitage farm on the right hand side, this house is over three hundred years old and is also haunted. It has been said that ghostly screams have been heard coming from below one of the windows, also organ music has been heard on some occasions. Yet once more the Padfoot has been seen around this area, mainly at the end of the lane leading to the farmhouse, one person is said to have tried to kick out at the phantom dog, however his foot passed right through it, another time a light was seen travelling up the lane before disppearing before it reached the house!
The driveway leading to Hermitage farm where the Padfoot was seen.