Ollerton, Nottinghamshire here in England has the ruins of a Cistercian Abbey, Rufford Abbey, and it is currently maintained by the English Heritage, the 1170ish abbey is one of the best preserved in England. In 1146 the Earl of Lincoln founded the abbey, St Mary the Virgin, and the monks wore undyed wool habits giving the nickname of “White Monks”. The monks there lived under the values of hard work and prayer from the completion around 1170 until it was suppressed in 1536.

From there on it became a family estate, remodelled and adapted to their needs accordingly and in 1952 it and its park were brought by Nottinghamshire Country Council, the north and east wings were then demolished in 1956. In the Edwardian times Vita Sackville West (authoress) stayed at the abbey as the guest to the owners of the time, the Saville’s awoke in the night feeling a clammy sensation. She mentioned the event to another of the guests and found out that others had been bothered by what they called a ‘Clammy Baby’, the ghost of a dead child trying to snuggle against women. These areas were demolished but now and then the stories crop up again.

One of the guides told a story about the sounds of a child having been heard in a ditch near an area known as Bride Road, she was surprised to hear from a couple of ladies who regularly walked their dogs and had heard the cries themselves. A psychic who visited also found herself drawn to that area, but had not been informed of a local story that a housemaid at the abbey drowned herself, and the baby, after an unwanted pregnancy.

I ventured out there as it was a nice day, packed the camera up and it took about 40 minutes drive to get there. I was immediately in love with the building, it has a grand look and to get to the building you walk up via the 19th Century stairs that had been added. I also loved that I got a few quiet moments to look around before a school trip descended. Underneath the exterior you can go into the underground chapel area and enjoy cooling down.

I didn’t really feel anything too spooky but there is a section with a model monk and table showing the foods of the time, I stood near him and felt a little spooked out. I suspect more to do with the model monk than anything else. I did venture towards the ditch but my attention was drawn to the animal graces, consequently the only ones there as the human remains were moved to the local church.

(Photography is my own)

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