Joe's Hole - Tas River


Written by Christina Bleach

The myth of Joe’s Hole has been passed down, by word of mouth, amongst the children of Hapton and the local area for many years and has struck trepidation and dread into each new generations hearts and imagination.

Rumour has been passed, usually from older children to the younger ones with the likelihood, no doubt, of added sensation each time the story was told.

On speaking to Nancy Dunthorne, she stated that her and her sisters and their friends believed Joe’s body to be stuck deep down in the mud of the Tas river in the area known as ‘Joe’s hole’ and they were really frightened when they went down to that part of the river.

My own Son Aaron (now 35) grew up playing and fishing down by the Tas river and had learnt the tale of ‘Joe’s hole’ from the older boys of the village. Aaron recalls being scared but intrigued by the tale and recalls the story as it had been told to him.

Joe was fishing on his own and went missing, had he been murdered or had he drowned? Nobody knew what had happened, because his body has never been found. And there was a very deep hole down in the river which may have sucked him in.

Aaron imagined the hole to be like a whirlpool which would pull a person down into the murky river. None of the children would swim in that part of the river and chose other parts of the Tas to fish.

One day whilst Aaron and I was walking Ben, our long-haired Alsatian down at Joe’s hole. the dog jumped into the river. The weight of the water in his long-haired coat was making it hard for him to swim and was pulling him down. We struggled to get him out eventually dragging him on to the bank and to safety. Aaron turned to me, and staring agape said, “I wonder if that’s what happen to Joe”.

Newspaper ReportOn reading the 9th July 1884 newspaper clip from the Norwich Mercury, Aaron confessed that now he knows the truth it had kind of ruined the myth of his childhood for him, but he is still going to pass the story on to his children Violet and Logan when they are old enough.

Even though children don’t ‘run free’ like they used to in the days gone by, Violet and Logan walk with their Dad and the family dog along the bridle way by Joe’s hole. No doubt they will listen, wide eyed with wonder, as their father and those before him had done……who knows maybe the myth will live on for another generation.

If nothing else the fabrication may have averted the children from swimming in an unsafe part of the river therefore preventing further tragedy.

Foot note:
Joseph Lee Green was the son of John Green the blacksmith
Alfred Phillipo is named as the farmer miller and merchant (either the owner or tenant) from 1879 to 1888 of Tharston Mill

Joe's Gravestone

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