Old Dyke MillThere is a stretch of marshland at the end of Old Dyke Lane.
It’s always bleak and lonely and there’s often wind and rain.
For no one ever goes there, save the keeper of the mill,
And he’s been dead for twenty years, but people see him still.

At times when dusk is fallen and there’s not the slightest breeze
The mill sails start a turning; least that’s what some folk sees
It goes against all nature that the mill should come to life,
And you can guess that rumours round the village pub are rife.

As pints are swigged and darts are thrown the talk is of poor miller
And whether after twenty years they still might find his killer
Especially on those windless nights, when mill sails round are flung,
They whisper of poor miller, and the night they found him, hung.

They say that out on Old Dyke Lane, when moon is shining full,
The ghost of Thomas Carver strides across the marsh so dull
They say the sack he carries on his back contains his soul
And that searching for his murderer can be his only goal

But no one dared to follow in his tracks beyond the lane,
The Blacksmith, he turned down a bet and said, “You’re all insane,”
“Though I’ve the biggest muscles hereabouts, and I’m not boasting,
There ain’t no way in this wide world you’ll get me out there, ‘ghosting’.”

The story might have ended there, but save for Adam Weedon,
A local teenage schoolboy who was very fond of reading.
His favourite kind of stories which he read most all the time,
Encompassed fact or fiction and were always ones on crime.

One book called ‘Diamond Robberies’ went back to 1820
It kept young Adam mesmerised on crooks and thieves a plenty
But halfway through there was a tale that read just like a thriller
About a massive diamond, and a murder, and a miller

The story wouldn’t say just where the crime had been committed
For though the salient facts were there, locations were omitted
A mention of a windmill near a village had been given, and
Young Adam’s mind began to get imagination driven.

He went back to the library, and scanned the ancient papers,
The broadsheets and the tabloid rags for local crimes and capers
At last he found two columns which referred to stolen jewellery, and
It gave him lots of info on the diamond thief’s tomfoolery

It seemed the naughty burglar was a stranger to the county
And didn’t know exactly where to hide his stolen bounty
The journalist had written that he’s climbed up Burnt Stump Hill
From where he saw what he assumed was just a disused mill

The rest became a legend, and a week after the raid,
They’d taken poor Tom’s body to the graveyard to be laid
The thief had somehow vanished and the trail had just gone dead
And clues were nowhere to be found, or so the story said

The tale had now just petered out as facts made way for guessing
So Adam thought right there and then he’d solve the crime, no messing
Leads were what he needed and the best clues he’d obtain
By getting out his trusty bike and head to Old Dyke Lane

At six ‘o’ clock on Saturday through morning mist he travelled
And in his mind he thought by lunch he’s have the crime unravelled
He parked his bike and made his way across the marshy bog
Until he saw a mill-like shape come looming through the fog

The mill was like a monster, and the door was like its mouth
It seemed to eat young Adam as he entered from the south
He gazed above, through musty air, and saw the mighty workings
The gears and cogs through which he’d have to do his sleuth-like searchings

But just as he began to take the steps up to the top
He heard a bang and clatter, which brought Adam to a stop
He peeped at where the sound had come, and his a few steps back
And there he saw a human form, and next to it, a sack

The ghostly one was hunting like the evil one possessed
And all around lay bits of the machinery that he’s messed
To see this filled young Adam with a great deal of suspicion
No way was this a kind of supernatural apparition

But what could he be looking for in such a way so manic
The young lad’s mind began to race and soon filled up with panic
Should he wait for dark to come, then slink into the night
Or run like mad and pedal down the lane with all his might?

Before his mind had thought it through, he’d tip-toed out the door
Re-traced his steps , got on his bike as down the lane he tore
He soon got home and yelled upstairs for Mum and dad to waken
And when they saw his ashen face both parents looked quite shaken

He told them what he’s seen, and he began to catch his breath
His parents, not quite woken, said, “You’ll worry us to death.”
“I told you not to go there,” said his Dad. “The place is haunted.”
“That was no ghost!” the lad replied, his thinking quite undaunted.

Now, it so happened that his Dad played darts with sergeant Dean
He went downstairs and phoned to tell his what his son had seen
“Well thanks,” the sergeant answered him. “I’ll get my men together,
We’ll see if we can’t catch Old Carver’s ghost once and forever.

The mill was soon surrounded by the sergeant’s men in blue
“No come on out,” he ordered, “If you know what’s good for you.”
Meanwhile two big policemen went to get the man inside
The chased him higher up ‘til he had nowhere else to hide.

The man now breathing heavily gave up without a fight
Then handcuffed he was led outside into the morning light
It took five days of questioning at the station to determine
That here was thief and killer; a nasty little vermin

The police had their confession from the man, whose name was Randall
Which silenced claims of those who thought their police work was a scandal
His statement told the story from the raid up to his capture
Which Adam heard via sergeant dean, his mind in constant rapture

Now, Randall’s story stated that he’s raided Grayson’s Jewellers
And hidden all the diamonds somewhere safe, which was his rule, as
He could then escape, unburdened of his booty from the police
Then go back some time later to collect it at his ease

He’d carefully secreted all the gems within the gears
He thought that as a disused mill , they’d hide there safe for years
Yet though the mill looked derelict, Tom Carver called it home
And save for odd trips to the pub he never liked to roam

It seemed as Randall slinked away, Tom staggered homeward, steaming
And in the morning must have seen the sack of jewels gleaming
Days later he had started out to hide them in the ground
And halfway through the job was interrupted by a sound

Tom must have headed back along the footpath to the mill
For that’s when Randall saw him as he moved in for the kill
For Tom had only seconds to secrete the last big spangle
Before the robber throttled him and lynched him high to dangle

As quick as light he got a spade and dug into the mound
Then pulled out nearly all that Tom had buried in the ground
But there was one thing missing from his bag of sparkling loot
The diamond called the ‘King of Hearts’; a gem of gems, a beaut.

Now, knowing that soon the cops would soon descent upon the mill
Randall left the murder scene going back via Burnt Stump Hill
That where he left his footprints of his tiny little shoes
The police thought kids had made them and ignored these tell-tale clues

For twenty years at intervals he found himself returning
To find the ‘King of Hearts’ was the obsession that was burning
He moved the gears to find it as he worked at dizzy heights
Which made the sails revolve around upon those windless nights

That’s just what he was doing when young Adam came a viewing
The tale the lad had told his Pa had thus been his undoing
There was no ghost of Carver, it was Randall with his sack
And he ended with these words, “You’ll never get your diamond back.”

The case made every headline as it rumbled through the court
Which Adam read, bedevilled by the reoccurring thought, that
The Coppers in the gem search, though each like of thought had followed
Had not used lateral thinking, and imagined, ‘Was it swallowed?’

If Adam’s hunch was certain, then the police would find the stone
Some six feet under, where they’d find Tom’s rotting skin and bone
He told his dad his theory and his dad thought long and hard
Then his dad phoned up the sergeant who got hold of Scotland yard

They had to get permission to exhume Tom carver’s bones
But six weeks on, a JCB clawed out the soil and stones
Behind a screen a crane cam in and lifted out the coffin
And then there set to business a forensic type of boffin

The lid came creaking off, revealing Carver’s last remains
A skeleton of ribs and spine, and rotting flesh and veins
The boffin chap delved deep into the intestinal parts
And his on something big and hard. It was the ‘King of Hearts’.

So Adam was a hero, for his genius he was praised
And many pints of bitter in his name that night were raised
His dad was proud as punch that his young lad had solved the mystery
And said of his detective skills, “Well, they’ll go down in history.”

The mill became a tourist trap, where folks could hear the story
Of Carver, Randall and the gem, with details grim and gory
When Adam tells the tale himself it gives them all a thrill
To hear first hand just how he solved, the mystery of the mill.

The Mystery of Old Dyke Mill a Poem by Richard Coppin