Edmund Gill Swain was born in 1861 at Stockport in Manchester. A cleric and antiquary, he was a good friend of noted ghost story writer M.R. James and was present at many of the famous private gatherings at which the latter’s stories were first read aloud. Swain’s only collection of ghostly tales is set in a fictionalised version of Stanground near Peterborough, where Swain was a vicar – indeed, the vicar of Stoneground, Mr Batchel, is a recognisable self-portrait. The collection is dedicated to James and is firmly in the antiquarian tradition of supernatural fiction. Unlike his friend’s fiction, however, Swain’s own stories are less rooted in the horror genre, with only one of his apparitions harbouring malevolent intentions. Swain passed away peacefully in 1938.
The Stoneground Ghost Tales, intr. Cardinal Cox (Ashcroft, British Columbia: Ash-Tree Press, 1996)
Bone to His Bone: The Stoneground Ghost Tales of E.G. Swain, intr. Michael Cox (Equation, 1989) [also contains six new stories by David Rowlands in the style of Swain]