Beware of walking the lanes and fields around Onecote under the light of the moon. You might meet a rider on a white horse, who is an omen of doom. He’s easy to recognise: he has no head.
Some local farmers and other residents have met the headless horseman and survived, but not surprisingly they were filled with horror. Joe Bowden was carried home to his farm by the decapitated rider and flung to the ground; he suffered no lasting physical injury but he died a few days later.
Who is the horseman? The ghost of a murdered peddler? A knight killed in battle? One of the four evil spirits cast out of Heaven and condemned to wander the earth? It would presumably be futile to ask him since having no head he could neither hear nor speak.
Attempts have been to exorcise the horseman, but there is no indication that they’ve succeeded.
For more about the horseman, see
Mark P. Henderson, Folktales of the Peak District, Amberley Publishing, 2011, pp. 129-130.