The True and Terrible Tale of Mrs Blunden of Basingstoke
The story of Mrs Blunden has now passed into local legend. She had the misfortune on 15 July1674 to be buried before she was dead.
The events surrounding her death have been written about often, but the lack of facts have not been allowed to get in the way of this story!
While her husband was away Mrs Blunden fell ill. She sent to the pharmacist for some poppy water which she drank. She then fell into a sleep, so deep that everyone thought she was dead. She had no pulse or heartbeat, she wasn't breathing and was cold.
Mr Blunden wanted her funeral to wait until his return, but her family decided to have her buried immediately at the Liten Burial Ground, near the Holy Ghost Chapel because of the unusually hot weather. Children playing in the burial ground told the School Master that they had heard a noise coming from the grave. This was dismissed until other children repeated these claims.
But by the time the grave was reopened it was too late to do anything for the unfortunate Mrs Blunden. The body was beaten and scratched, the wounds self-inflicted. She was again judged to be dead, the coffin re-sealed and put back into the grave to await the coroner's visit the next day.
A guard was placed at her grave, but he must have abandoned his post because when the body was dug up the next morning a further grisly discovery was made. She had torn off part of her shroud, scratched herself and bitten her mouth bloody in her distress. She had been buried alive not once, but twice!
The precise location of Mrs Blunden's tomb in the Liten is unknown.