By: Blonde Two
Are you sitting comfortably? Then I will begin …
Dartmoor’s hills hold many secrets, we will never know all of them. You only have to look at some of the place names to know that at night and in the mist, Dartmoor has been a place of dark things and dastardly deeds. I am going to tell you a tale of my own.
The Tale of Blonde Betsy
Betsy lived a long time ago on a farm on the edge of Dartmoor just above Okehampton. She was a fair Devonshire girl with rosy cheeks that were fresh from farmyard breezes and long blonde hair that she loved to comb. Betsy loved the farm but especially looked forward to her weekly visits to Okehampton Market. At the market, Betsy would buy ribbons for her hair and then she would spend a happy hour or two flirting with the local lads while her father had a drink in the inn.
But Betsy had ideas above her station and, although she knew the boys liked her, she only really had eyes for Anthony who was the son of the local manor house. Anthony used to come riding into town on his black horse and Betsy would swish her lovely blonde hair as he went past, hoping that he would notice her. Eventually Anthony did notice Betsy but he was an arrogant boy and unkind, he was not really interested in a farm girl but he led her on. He told Betsy that he would meet her on the logging rock on Hangingstone Hill in three months time and that if her hair was long enough for them both to sit on, he would marry her.
The months went by and Betsy’s hair did grow long enough for her to sit on. She met Anthony at the market and they arranged the meeting at Hangingstone Hill for the next evening. Betsy knew the way up to the hill well, it was a long walk but it was a fine evening and she was excited and sang Anthony’s name all the way. When she got to the logging stone, she arranged her hair and sat rocking the stone gently. Time went on and gradually Betsy realised that Anthony wasn’t coming. She got up sadly and started the long trek back home.
It was then that the mist came down and Betsy lost her bearings as have so many travellers before and since. Betsy wandered around all night looking for the stile that would lead her back down to the farm. The next day, the cloud was still low and the alarm was raised. Betsy’s family and friends searched all around for her but she had wandered into the middle of the high moor and her cold body was found that evening.
It is said that sad Betsy’s voice can still be heard at night on the North moor, especially around the stile that would have led her safely home. Her spirit only says one thing, “Anthony, Anthony, Anthony”. The story goes that if a beautiful blonde girl happens to be at the stile at half moon, she will see Betsy’s ghostly blonde hair as it wisps away, ever flowing behind Betsy in her search for the way home.