There are many zooform tales to chill hearts around a campfire, and the legend of the Warrington Toad Man is one of those. Despite its absurd title, the Toad Man is a nefarious bogeyman, also known as the Toad Goblin, or Monster of Morley Common. It is a tale passed through several generations, and originates from the 1800s. The local public house, known at The Shipp Inn, situated at Walton, had several ‘Alice In Wonderland’ pictures on the wall, which were eventually taken down. All that remained on the wall was a strange picture of a dwarf-like entity known as the Toad Goblin.
One day the picture was said to have disappeared from the wall and the locals were very upset, believing a thief to be responsible. The picture never returned but the landlord spoke of how this was the local bogeyman. The Cartwright family spoke about the local bogeyman also, saying he dated back to the 1870s. This surreal creature was said to have bandy legs, and a bowler hat perched on a grotesquely bulbous head which had red whiskers. This creature terrified children for decades for it was said that the monster used to hide behind trees and spring out on unsuspecting victims. It’s possible the legend originated from a local recluse who lived on Morley Common. But one day several children walking through the area were said to have found the battered body of the hermit, but when the children ran home to tell their parents of the macabre find, upon returning there was no sign of the body.
Some believed the recluse was killed by another recluse, but since that time the Toad Man was said to haunt the local woods of the Common and children would not venture there after dusk.