By Newall Duke in the West Sussex Gazette 24th Oct 1963.

In the early part of the century a girl completely disappeared from the village of Burpham, and though every effort was made to trace her, no clue was ever found. The girl was French and lived at the Manor House owned by Squire Goble, and was governess to his three little daughters. The Squire had a house at Chichester, which he used in the summer, coming to Burpham for the hunting season, and kept his own pack of foxhounds there. The remains of the wall of the kennels can still be seen and large elm trees, blown down about 50 years ago, contained large iron spikes where pieces of horsemeat were hung to feed the pack. The trees were known as the Rookery.

Madam Goble was fond of the attractive French girl and conversed with her in French. One September evening, soon after their return to Burpham for the hunting season, the girl said, "the children are all asleep, madam. May I go for a walk?" "Certainly" was the reply. Late that evening, when she had not returned, a search was made. Two people had seen her walking towards the Downs, but after that she was never seen again.

One cannot rule out the possibility that the Arun had not claimed another victim, as there had been many drowning accidents at this time near Burpham, the worst being when seven Arundel men from one boat were drowned. There are seven fir trees just outside the churchyard in their memory.

The mystery of the girl who disappeared was just before the arrival of Mr. Foster, the Vicar in 1845; he does allude to it in his notes. In the thatched cottage adjoining the house from where the girl walked out on that fateful night lived a family. The wife was born in the house and reared 14 children there, and lived to a great age. Every September she used to say, "Madam Goble walks," but would never say more, or why.

The Squire seemed able to do what he liked, with no one to reprimand him. On occasions he had dinner parties for men guests. When they left in the small hours on horseback the Squire would see them off and blow his hunting horn and hulloa. This would rouse the pack nearby, and the whole village. The noise was "enough to waken the dead" said the old vicar. *

Soon after the squire sold the house and land to the church for a vicarage and Mr. Foster was the first Vicar to use it. In 1937 it was sold again and a small vicarage built. It is now a guest-house, but still they do say "Madam Goble walks."

Published in Volume 6, Issue 2, June 1999 of The Goble Family Newsletter.

In our #2 English Lines database there is a James Goble (1726 - 1771) who was known to be "Squire Goble."


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