Francis Brown was an 18th century yeoman farmer whose farm was near to the village of Muggington not far from Derby. Mr Brown, who was a heavy drinker, had apparently misappropriated some public funds and was a very disturbed man. It is not certain what happened one dark and stormy night in 1723 when Brown went into a field to get his horse, but the horse was rushing around, frightened by the storm and making it extremely difficult for its master to halter it. One story says that Brown, in his drunken rage cried out ‘If I can’t halter thee, I’ll halter the devil,’ whereupon the horse vanished in a flash of lightening; whilst another version has it that Brown tried to halter a cow in mistake for his horse and was terrified when faced with a black horned face. Either way Mr Brown was brought to his senses and he became a reformed man. In witness of this he built a small chapel onto his farm house and endowed it with land.
This interesting little chapel, known locally as Halter Devil Chapel, is still there and can be visited, a lasting epitaph to Mr Brown. It is still used from time to time for Church of England services.
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Photo taken in Weston Underwood, Derbyshire, UK
Misplaced? Suggest new location