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The Ghost Crib

    by Bev Clark


Drama Play Script: 'The Ghost Crib' by Bev Clark

The Ghost Crib is a period, supernatural tale with a twist. Nathaniel and Sarah Hornby keep themselves to themselves: they have a secret they have kept for eighteen years. Their daughter Susannah is a strange and frail child who is haunted by nightmares. She sees and hears things that make the couple believe she is either possessed by the Devil or knows something of their secretive past.

They call upon Old Martha, to help them find some reasoning to Susannah’s strange visions but Martha believes the girl may have been chosen and some event is about to take place.

Sure enough, during a terrible storm, a young man arrives at their door. He says he is in need of shelter but he will not remove his hood. He explains he has an infliction which would scare them – a terrible facial birthmark that he tries to hide. He says his name is Benjamin.

When Sarah hears that name she is startled and then when he reveals his birthday is on the day her own son Benjamin died, she cannot contain herself. Her baby was burnt in a fire and the burns to his face match the disfigurement this Benjamin now reveals. Sarah is convinced he is her son - reincarnated.

Nathaniel cannot believe such a thing possible but has no explanation

Sarah convinces Nathaniel they must take the boy in but whilst they are all out Ben opens the door to his master the highwayman Dick Black, together they ransack the cottage in search of Nathaniel’s savings. When the family return the truth finally comes out.

Eighteen years before Black was hiding from his pursuers when he over-heard the Hornby’s story. How Sarah had left the baby’s crib unattended by the fire and a strong wind caused the fire to spread, the couple, with the help of Martha, had buried the child without a Christian burial and kept it all a secret. As his young foundling apprentice bore a terrible disfigurement from birth, Black saw a perfect way to use trickery to get their money.

In another twist of fate, Susannah now feels a presence and the haunting of the crib now becomes reality as the fire leaps up to consume them. As Nathaniel and Sarah struggle to pull their daughter free, Benjamin and the baby are lost to the flames forever. 


50 mins approx


(3m, 3f)

  • Nathaniel Hornby - 50’s, a farmer
  • Sarah Hornby - 40’s, his wife
  • Susannah - 15, their daughter, a slight ailing girl
  • Martha Hopkins - 60’s/70’s, the village herbalist / wise woman
  • Ben Kirby - almost 18
  • Dick Black - 40’s, a thief and highway man

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