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 The ghost of a gypsy piper.

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PostSubject: The ghost of a gypsy piper.   Fri May 08, 2009 4:25 pm

At the Saddler
Street
end of Elvet Bridge stood St James�s Chapel which was replaced
by a House of Correction in 1632. Two PRISON CELLS associated with the
long since demolished Great North Gate in Saddler Street can be seen beneath
the western land arch of Elvet Bridge. The cells are reputed to be haunted
by the GHOST OF JIMMY ALLAN, a gypsy piper who was one of the most notorious
and colourful characters in the history of Northumbria. Jimmy was an adopted
member of the Faas, a famous gypsy clan who inhabited the Cheviot Hills
on the border between England and Scotland. Jimmy�s father Wull Faa had
taught him to play the Northumbrian pipes at
a very young age and the young man�s musical talents caught the attention
of people far and wide until he eventually succeeded in becoming the official
piper to the Duchess of Northumberland, a post he held for two years.

Unfortunately Jimmy
was a man of many diversions with a great love of drinking and gambling
and an eye for pretty women, many of whom he conned out of purse. Cattle
stealing was another of Jimmy�s vices but his favourite pastime seems
to have been enlisting and deserting from British and Foreign armies.
On the run for most of his life, Jimmy was pursued far and wide for desertion
and other crimes. He was locked up twice and escaped twice, running off
to Edinburgh and Dublin where he astonished the residents of those cities
with his musical abilities. His journeys took him much further still to
the Dutch East Indies via India and to the Baltic "without any passport
but his pipes".

In 1803 Jimmy was
finally arrested at Jedburgh in the borders for stealing a horse from
Gateshead in the County of Durham. From Jedburgh
he was taken to Durham where he was tried and sentenced to death. Luckily
for him someone intervened and his sentence was reduced to life imprisonment
. Jimmy remained locked up in the cell beneath Durham�s Elvet Bridge for
seven years where he eventually died in the year 1810 aged seventy seven.
He was rather unfortunate because a pardon had been granted which arrived
only a few days after his death. As for the cells underneath Elvet Bridge,
it is said that if you listen carefully you may still be able to hear
the eerie, haunting musical sounds of Jimmy�s Northumbrian pipes - it
is Jimmy�s ghost of course !
So ask for a riverside table at the Bella Italia restaraunt in Durham. Look across to the opposite bank...there you will see the two cells!pics to follow, when I figure out how to upload them!
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