John Thurlow Reade was the eldest of eleven children born to John and Anna-Maria Reade. He sailed for India in 1817 while working for the East India Company.
In those days mails from India were rare and irregular and when one was reported, John’s mother would go to meet the mail coach. She had not received a letter for some time and one evening in 1827, whilst walking down the road, Mrs Reade saw the wraith of her son coming towards her and exhibiting signs of utmost distress. She was convinced that he had died and not received a Christian burial.
The following day she arranged with the Vicar of Ipsden to hold a burial service in the church. Both she and the Vicar were strong Protestants and quite unlikely to give way to morbid suspersitions, but they were completely convinced of the significance of the vision.
The next mail brought news that John Thurlow Reade had died of dysentery whilst on a journey through the jungle near Sehaarunpore and had been buried by his servants there and then.
In 1860, one of his younger brothers Edward Anderdon Reade erected a monument to his eldest brother. He chose the site nearest to the point where the wraith had appeared and had the stone engraved:
JOHN THURLOW READE ESQUIRE
NOVEMBER 25TH A.D. 1827
‘ALAS MY BROTHER’
Edward hoped that this would lay to rest the spirit of his revered brother which it seemed to do so as there were no more sightings.
From an excerpt from the book The Old Place by Angela Spencer-Harper, published in 2007. For more information go to www.oldplace.free-online.co.uk
This is a private woodland: please admire the memorial from the roadside.