The Manor/Hall of Clifton is located near the city of Nottingham, the manor now known as Clifton Hall, and for the ease of reading will just be Hall in this blog, was mentioned in the Domesday Book, 1086 and is located at the back of the River Trent and is a Grade I listed building. There is a cliff overlooking the river and in the 1086 Domesday book is noted as being at the top of a hill at the cliff edge of Clifton Village, most likely as this made it a more easily defendable position and is described as a fortified tower house.

It was listed as three stories high and was remodelled in the 18th Century in the Georgian style of architecture. It was largely done between 1778-1797 by Sir Gervase Clifton, he employed architect John Carr of York, it was here that the original house was predominantly demolished. The original domed Hall, built by Sir Robert Clifton was saved and used, the south Hall in Carr’s work and the north wing is of a later date.

The de Clifton family had brought the property from the de Rhodes in the 13th century. In 1896 Sir Harvey Juckes Lloyd Bruce succeeded Henry Robert Clifton. The early Bruce years at Clifton are recorded in the book Silken Dalliance (1946) written by Henry James Bruce. In the 1940’s Lieutenant Colonel Peter Thomas Clifton started to sell off the property and the Hall was sold in 1958, this ended 700 years of the Clifton family ownership.

In 1958 Clifton Hal’s Grammar school for girls opened, for girls aged 11- 18 years and it closed in 1976. The head teacher for the school when it opened was Miss Heron, she died of cancer and was succeeded by Miss Squire, this happened around 1970. I could find no solid date online when I searched. 13th January 1970, a sixth former and 17-year-old, called Sandra Simpkin married 22-year-old Allan Barnes, a widow and she was given a day off from her lessons. The Grammar school closed in July 1976, and another Alumini of note that went there was Jayne Torvill (ice skater).

The Nottingham Trent University, then Trent Polytechnics, used the Hall after that until 2002.

Chek Whyte (Anthony Beardsley) then redeveloped the area, building houses on the ground, converted the Hall into two luxury apartments and 14 houses were listed as build on the south east of the Hall area. In 2007 he appeared on Secret Millionaire, he was then declared bankrupt in 2009 and was £20 million in debt but seems used to the life of a risk taker noting in a statement that he had been in the position before.

In 2007 Anwar Rashid purchased the property for £3.6 million and the family moved in, they used one wing of the Hall as a residency and planned to use the rest as a wedding venue or place for ceremonies. The Clifton Hall profile was raised again when the family left in 2008, having defaulted on their mortgage and allowing the Yorkshire Bank to repossess it, and it is listed for sale at £2.5 million, the reason was not cited as financial difficulty but the persistent danger to the family from paranormal threats. There is a current listing on Savills for the property.

I went to the area, Dec 2019, to look as the rumours about the place have reached an international interest historically and a friend of mine requested this as a blog. So here goes! The church, cemetery and Hall are at the end of the road and parking up I was greeted by a pleasant village view of the church and grounds entrance. St Mary’s is a pleasant churchyard and well kept, it sees current use and I took the time to photograph some of the graves for the website, Find A Grave. I also immediately heard voices in the trees, it was easy to work out that the source of this was ground workers, it was mid-day and there was traffic going into the workplace but it does come across a little weird and eerie as you hear it carrying across from the woods.

The place a history of ghosts and unusual events, Haunted Rooms had an entry, so let’s begin with that. A brief over-view of the history is there and mentions that in 1632 King Charles occupied the bedroom at the top of the winding stairs. I will be mentioning the stairs again later in one of these blog series. The quick summary here says there are dark apparitions of children, unexplained banging or tapping on the doors/walls, unexplained voices like low conversations and bloodstains appearing on bedclothes and floors.

The Paranormal Database also has an entry – The Clifton Family are said to have been warned about an impending family death of a sturgeon [fish] was seen swimming upstream of the Trent.

Local rumours?

One is that a painting used to be in the hall for the daughter of the Colonel, she died in a riding accident at Clifton Grove. Tracey Collins was a pupil there and said that the panting was rumoured to have been of his daughter but she died in a riding accident, instead they painted over the partially done piece and as a tribute a female foot on the colonel is actually what is left of her in her memory. This local legend has been disproven but the story still knocks around, the reason it was disproved as down to the fact that both daughters outlived their father and went on to marry. There is also nothing supernatural about it, but it is another weird local legend.

I also found a story from the Grammar School era about a bricked-up room, there are two stories that seem to centre around this theme. One is that there is a bricked-up room where a crying baby can be heard, not depending on the source it is either in the Hall or it is in the tunnel under it. This sort of ties in with the story of a tunnel that goes beneath the Hall to the church which also has a rumour that black magic rituals/satanism occurred there. Rumour also has it that this was in the stables as a witness say blood on the floor, there was a smell of burning herbs and all seems to link back to a crying child. I found nothing about this for any solid proof along with no named witnesses.

There are mentions of maids/women who grab up a child, in some local stories it is her jumping from a third story window with the child as a release from the Lord, in others it is a maid that jumps from the cliff into the river.

VWGolf (nottsalgia) refers to one of the bricked-up rumours potentially being a more mundane explanation. In the hall is an Octagonal dining room, and a creative centre piece which he says was all on a column in the middle of the room. It had statues and reliefs and upon searching around I found some photographs of it, Clifton-Village.org.uk seems to have supporting photographs at least.

Anwar Rashid and his family got unwanted fame about the Hall, along with Lee Roberts from TAPIT who was not so shy of being involved. The profile-raising section of this story and the paranormal side of Clifton Hall seems to have become more entrenched in modern history with their side of the saga and this is something you will have to wait more to hear about…

Part two coming soon.

 

 

Sources:
Wikipedia                            savills.com                                          History of Nottinghamshire, Vol 1
Telegraph.co.uk                 mysteriousbritain.co.uk                 nottsalgia.com
Haunted rooms                 theparanormalguide.com            Clifton-vollage.org.uk
Paranormaldatabase.com            Dark Mansions – Dinah Williams
BBC News                           kids.kiddle.co                                    officialleeroberts.com
Google                                 Fortean Times                                   alchetron.com/chek-whyte
Paranormal Network      Find A Grave
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