Anne Naylor

Anne Naylor Haunting Story

In 1758, thirteen-year-old Anne Naylor and her younger sister were apprenticed to the Sarahs Metyard, a mother and daughter who ran a millinery shop on Bruton Street in West London, which resulted in a grisly murder and a haunting that still exists today. (A milliner is someone who designs or manufactures hats, particularly women’s hats.)

The Naylor sisters were two orphans who lived in an 18th-century London workhouse. It was common practise at the time for children to be apprenticed out to a local business once they reached the age of 12. Mrs. Sarah Metyard and her daughter Sarah “Sally” Metyard, who ran a millinery shop in the area, took in Anne Naylor and her younger sister. They ran this particular establishment with the help of five young girls who worked for them, but what they provided could not be described as “care.”

The girls in Metyard’s care were frequently beaten and starved. Both women had violent tempers and delighted in inflicting pain on the girls. Unfortunately, Anne was frequently their main target because she was sickly and couldn’t keep up with her assigned work. Anne managed to escape the Metyards’ house at one point, but they sent a boy to find her and forcefully return her to their shop. Sally beat Anne and then locked her in the attic with only bread and water as punishment.

Anne, who was now desperate, escaped the Metyard’s home once more, but this time Sally found her and brought her back. Mrs. Metyard viciously beat Anne with a broomstick before tying her to the Attic door, where she was forced to stand for hours on end during the day. She had been chained to this door for three days, with no food or water. Mrs. Metyard pointed her out to the other apprentices, warning them that if they tried to escape or disobey her, this would happen to them.

The other apprentices noticed Anne wasn’t moving on the fourth day. They summoned Sally. She hit Anne over the head with a shoe, but when she didn’t respond, she summoned her mother. Mrs Metyard attempted to resurrect Anne with smelling salts, but when this failed, the two women realized Anne had died. They hid her body in an attic trunk before attempting to cover up the crime. They pretended to bring her food for several days so the other apprentices wouldn’t suspect anything was wrong. They even left the attic door open and the shop door open, claiming Anne had fled once more.

After two months, the two women began to worry that their neighbors would notice the stench because Anne’s body was still in the trunk in the attic. They attempted to dispose of the body on Christmas Day by cutting it into small chunks and burning it in their fireplace. However, after attempting to burn these pieces in their fireplace and discovering that it was causing a foul odor, they decided to dispose of the remains by taking them and dumping them in an open sewer in Chick Lane, near the site of Farringdon Station.

The night watchman discovered Anne’s body and reported his grisly discovery to the Parish Constable, who informed the Coroner, Mr Umfreville. He, on the other hand, assumed they were the remains of a corpse dissected by the Surgeons and, as a result, declined to summon a jury for an inquest. Witnesses soon reported seeing the ghost of a young girl dressed in white in the area where the body had been dumped. Other witnesses reported hearing a young girl scream. Because so many people saw and heard this apparition, the majority of this London parish soon believed Chick Lane was haunted.

The Metyards would have gotten away with the crime if Sally hadn’t confessed in a fit of rage. Four years after they disposed of Anne’s body, the mother and daughter had a major disagreement, prompting Sally to leave and live with her lover. Sally told him what she and her mother had done when he mentioned the ghost of Chick Lane. He informed the authorities naively, downplaying Sally’s role in the hope that she would not be charged.

However, both Metyard women were arrested, tried at the Old Bailey, convicted, and sentenced to death. The pair were executed on July 19, 1768, and their bodies were to be given over to surgeons for dissection.
Mrs. Metyard collapsed as she was being led to the scaffold. Her jailers were unable to resuscitate her, so she was hanged while still unconscious. Sally sobbed as she took her last walk. Both bodies were put on public display after they were hanged before being removed and dissected at “Surgeon’s Hall.”

Chick Lane is now known as West Street. Many of the 18th century buildings in this area have been demolished and replaced with new ones. Despite these modifications, the area is still said to be haunted. The Farringdon Station, a London Underground stop, is close to where Anne’s body was discovered. Numerous witnesses claim to have heard Anne’s screams as she stood on the platform after the last train had left.

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