CAPTAIN Crawshaw was an amazing eccentric who lived in an old chicken hut on the Doward, near Ross-on-Wye, around the 1920s.

He sported an untidy moustache and beard, his unkempt hair was topped by a fez and he often wore clothes made from rabbit skins.

His home nestled in the woods somewhere between Mine Pitts and Doward Crest.

Crawshaw was an ex-Army officer, well educated and said to be 'from a good family'.

He kept himself very much to himself and nobody really knew why he chose to live this way.

Once a year he took on an appearance that would have graced any Monty Python sketch.

He could be seen in full regimental mess dress - and Wellington boots - striding through the woods to catch the local ferry.

One can imagine the astonished expressions of onlookers who saw him catch the train to London for his regiment's annual dinner.

As he was never seen to be carrying any change of clothing it was assumed by the few that saw him that he wore the Wellington boots throughout the evening! Some of the military 'bigwigs' must been aghast at the fantastic footwear.

On one memorable occasion, the captain decided he needed some help to carry out work on his property and put an advertisement in a local paper.

A couple of lads saw it and thinking it a good opportunity to earn a bit of extra money, took the path up by Pancake Hole.

They started searching for a house and after some hours eventually came across a shack which they realised was the subject of the advertisement. There then emerged from around a corner their prospective employer.

The captain was in fine form.

Clad in the rabbit skins and with fez atop his bizarre-looking head, he was brandishing a rifle.

"Halt! Who goes there?" he shouted.

The two lads took to their heels and fled, not stopping until they reached the bar at the Jampots.

"Whatever's the matter with you two, have you seen a ghost?" someone inquired. "Bloody hell, no! but we have just seen Robinson Crusoe," was the reply.

The name of the captain still crops up in the area and anecdotes about this truly remarkable character appeared in Village News, the magazine that serves the Whitchurch and Symonds Yat area.