Stories that inspired M.R. James

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Episode 85 – The Tudor Chimney by A.N.L. Munby

August 2, 2021 | Episodes | Comments (21)

A.N.L. Munby

This episode Mike and Will grab their torches and disappear up ‘The Tudor Chimney’ by A.N.L. Munby. But what is that shape moving up above? Meh, it’s probably nothing.

Thanks to Debbie Wedge for providing the readings for this episode!

In this episode, we also mention Will’s new project, which explores the darker side of Oxfordshire’s history, including ghosts, legends, murders and mayhem!

Story notes:


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  1. Zach Forn says:

    Hello All, the story “The Tudor Chimney” can be found/read here in this online collection :

  2. CHris Marshall says:

    Littlecote House is a large Tudor house close to the Wiltshire Berkshire border and was the scene of the murder of a child by William Darrell who threw the baby into the fireplace where it was consumed by the fire. Darrell was subsequently brought to trial but seems to have managed to avoid a severe sentence.

    Admittedly this is not on all fours with your story but it has elements of it.


    CHris Marshall

    • David Marsh says:

      That may be the inspiration for ‘How fear departed from the long gallery though’

      • CHris Marshall says:

        Just read the summary of “How fear departed from the long gallery” and that is exactly the Littlecote story.


  3. Rick Kennett says:

    POW camp commandant: “For you, Herr Munby, ze war is over!”

    Munby: “Smashing! Now I can write ghost stories!”

  4. MarkB says:

    I’m just downloading the episode for listening later tonight, but I’ll throw out this off topic nugget. I’ve been watching episodes of Time Team on Youtube recently (for the first time), and one of the archeologists speaks in the perfect local yocal voice Monty liked so much. I can just hear him reading lines for an M.R. James radio play.

    Looked him up: Mick Aston. .

  5. Mike says:

    Oh my! I’ve been to Littlecott House a number of times and didn’t realise it had such a ghastly story associated with it.

  6. Josephine says:

    Hi guys, I don’t have a public Twitter but the Latin reads:

    « In memory of M. R. James, once provost of our college, an author without rival of this kind of story. »

  7. A Rat in the Wall says:

    I think you two liked this better than I did, but I still enjoyed it. It was nothing groundbreaking but a good specimen of the type, has all the bits you want from an antiquarian ghost story. However I do think M.R. James did go a little more nasty than Munby did, we do get a decent amount of mutilation such as poison-blackened corpses, ripped-off faces, and jaws smashed to bits. That being said, I haven’t read his other stories, so we shall see. Would mind hearing about them in future, either.

    Looking forward to the podcast anniversary now, too!

  8. Rich Johnson says:

    Really enjoyed this episode and the story, I’ll definitely be looking it up to read, thanks for the link.

    The description of the apparition had some Jamesian elements further to the ones you mention: the burnt features reminded me of the thing with the “burnt human face” that crawls out of the book in Mr Humphreys and his Inheritance, and the fact that the legs are ‘horribly thin’ is a direct quote from The Mezzotint – “The legs of the appearance alone could be plainly discerned, and they were horribly thin.”

  9. Eddie says:

    Congrats lads on a nearly 10 year run and here’s to many more! Pleased that you wrangled your way onto Spotify, as both the podcast and yourselves deserve the wider audience. Will – your project sounds great. Mike – work on your Latin pronunciations!

    Really enjoyed the story, reading and discussion. The story worked well I thought within the trope of the haunted mansion genre. Could almost imagine it as Kevin McCloud “Grand Designs” meets The Haunting of Bly Manor. Can’t wait for the next ‘cast!

  10. Lucy says:

    Another great episode, thanks lads. You mentioned Sundial Press — I’ve been badgering you for ages about Mist and other Ghost Stories by Richmal Crompton, re-printed in a beautiful hardback by Sundial a few years ago. One for your next series I hope! (Along with Curfew and other Eerie Tales by Lucy M Boston, another of my hobby horses…) Really looking forward to your anniversary special, I’ll dig out my party frock!

  11. SRebInNH says:

    This was entertaining and Will’s new site looks so sharp! Great work, and happy upcoming podiversary!

  12. Robert Maitland says:

    It occurs to me that the terrible smell becomes evident in different spots around the house, but not in the fireplace, when the architect is making his visit, because the ghost, which seems to have a corporeal presence, has been freed from its impromptu tomb and is now wandering the halls of its former home.

  13. Christopher Martin says:

    Really enjoyed another episode by you guys. I have spent so many happy hours listening to the back episodes of this podcast since I retired from the working world two years ago. I sometimes wonder though, given your enthusiasm for the ghost story genre, and the colossal effort you both pour into producing the podcast, if you have written any ghost stories yourselves.

  14. Julia Morgan says:

    If you’re running out of stories and authors, I have a few to suggest.

    Do forgive me if you have done them already.

    A M Burrage, his One Who Saw is terrifying, but he’s better known for The Waxwork.

    Seaton’s Aunt by Walter de la Mare.

    Hugh Walpole. His Tarnhelm is very nasty, and he’s written other horrors too.

    Florence Flannery, by Marjorie Bowen, perhaps best known for The Crown Derby Plate.

    D K Broster’s Couching at the Door has a dust-monster in it that haunts the protagonist.

    There’s a huge number of stories for you to do!

    • Christopher Martin says:

      Also the ghost stories of Robert Westall. He would certainly be a suitable post-war successor to M. R. James. In particular, I like the Ugly House and The Last Days of Miss Dorinda Molyneaux.

  15. Aaron Gullison says:

    Lucky’s Grove can be found in Ghosts for Christmas by Richard Dalby, which is available to borrow at Internet Archive:

  16. Christopher Martin says:

    Also the ghost stories of Robert Westall. He would certainly be a suitable post-war successor to M. R. James. In particular, I like the Ugly House and The Last Days of Miss Dorinda Molyneaux.

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