Barham was born in Canterbury, but after the death of his father he was sent to London and educated at St. Paul’s School.

The Ingoldsby Legends contain many East Kent stories. In this verse tale, Master Tom tells the famous ghost story in order to avoid being sent back to School through the Dark Entry.

‘– Now, nay, dear Uncle Ingoldsby, now send me not, I pray,
Back by that Entry dark, for that you know’s the nearest way;
I dread that Entry dark with Jane alone at such an hour,
It fears me quite — it’s Friday night!– and then Nell Cook hath pow’r!’