Bedford outlaw known as ‘Black Tom’ features on indie history podcast


A notorious Bedford outlaw that has given his name to the local area when he was hanged is the subject of a local podcast that has just been released.

The podcast Weird in the Wade has investigated ghost sightings of an infamous ‘Black Tom’, with reports dating back over 170 years.

Weird in the Wade is produced by Nat Doig and shines a light on Bedfordshire history of the more unusual kind including hauntings, UFO and non-native big cat sightings.

A previous episode featured the last woman to be publicly hanged in Bedfordshire.

Read: Podcast commemorates 180th anniversary of the last woman to be publicly executed at Bedford Gaol

Nat told the Bedford Independent that the Black Tom episode was inspired by a comment from a fan of the podcast.

“One of my listeners asked me to cover the story of Black Tom as it was one of her favourite ghost stories growing up,” said Nat.

“I was keen to find out more. I’m not aware of any other UK town with an area named after an outlaw and ghost. I think Bedford is unique in this respect.”

Black Tom’s ghost is said to haunt his final resting place – now the site of the turbo roundabout at the junction of Union Street, Tavistock Street, and Clapham Road. The usual story told is that Black Tom was a highwayman, who was hanged at this spot anything from 300 – 150 years ago, although there is also a suggestion that he died with a stake through his heart.

His shambling ghost has scared passers-by near the site as recently as the 1990s.

“I didn’t find any evidence for an 18th-century highwayman who met Black Tom’s description or name,” said Nat.

“But I uncovered more than I bargained for, including that the area around Clapham Road must have been once renowned for crime, as a Victorian map shows a lane where the Aldi superstore is today called Cut Throat Lane.”

The story of Black Tom proved so complicated that Weird in the Wade has devoted its last two episodes to uncovering the truth about the mysterious man. The investigations led to an 800-year-old Bedford outlaw, condemned as the most evil man in the county.

To find out more, you can listen to Weird in the Wade on your favourite podcast platform or visit the website here.

If you’ve seen Black Tom’s ghost or have a suggestion for a strange or paranormal story for Weird in the Wade to cover then Nat is keen to hear from you. You can find social media contact details at the website.

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