There is a legend of a Sir Richard Baker, who was surnamed Bloody Baker, wherein a ring bears its part. This Sir Richard Baker was buried in Cranbrook church, Kent, England, and his ganntlet, gloves, helmet and spurs are suspended over his tomb. The gloves are red. The Baker family had formerly large possessions in Cranbrook; but in the reign of Edward VI. great misfortunes fell on them; by extravagance and dissipation they gradually lost all their lands, until an old house in the village (now used as the poor-house) was all that remained to them. The sole representative of the family remaining at the accession of Queen Mary was Sir Richard Baker. He had spent some years abroad in consequence of a duel; but when Mary reigned he thought he might safely return, as he was a papist; when he came to Cranbrook, he took up his abode in his old house; he brought one foreign servant with him; and only these two lived there. Very soon strange stories began to be whispered respecting unearthly shrieks having been heard frequently to issue at nightfall from his house. Many people of importance were stopped and robbed in the Glastonbury woods and many unfortunate travellers were missed and never heard of more. Richard Baker still continued to live in seclusion, but he gradually repurchased his alienated property, although he was known to have spent all he possessed before he left England. But wickedness was not always to prosper. He formed an apparent attachment to a young lady in the neighborhood, remarkable for always wearing a great many jewels. He often pressed her to come and see his old house, telling her he had many curious things he wished to show her. She had always resisted fixing a day for her visit, but happening to walk within a short distance of his house, she determined to surprise him with a visit; her companion, a lady older than herself, endeavored to dissuade her from doing so, but she would not be turned from her purpose. They knocked at the door, but no one answered them; they, however, discovered it was not locked and determined to enter. At the head of the stairs hung a parrot which, on their passing, cried out:
"Peepoh, pretty lady, be not too bold,
Or your red blood will soon run cold."
And cold did run the blood of the adventurous damsel when, on opening one of the room doors, she found it filled with the dead bodies of murdered persons, chiefly women. Just then they heard a noise and on looking out of the window saw Bloody Baker and his servant bringing in the murdered body of a lady. Nearly dead with fear, they concealed themselves in a recess under the staircase. As the murderers, with their dead burthen, passed by them, the hand of the unfortunate murdered lady hung in the baluster of the stairs; with an oath, Bloody Baker chopped it off and it fell into the lap of one of the concealed ladies. As soon as the murderers had passed by, the ladies ran away, having the presence of mind to carry with them the dead hand, on one of the fingers of which was a ring. On reaching home, they told their story; and, in confirmation of it, displayed the ring. All the families who had lost relatives mysteriously were then told of what had been found out; and they determined to ask Baker to a large party, apparently in a friendly manner, but to have officers concealed. He came, suspecting nothing; and then the lady told him all she had seen, pretending it was a dream. "Fair lady," said he, "dreams are nothing; they are but fables." "They may be fables," said she, "but is this a fable?" and she produced the hand and ring. Upon this the officers rushed in and took him; and the tradition further says, he was burnt, notwithstanding Queen Mary tried to save him on account of the religion he professed.
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