Posts Tagged ‘York’

Carrying on from Part One. 

In January 2007 Anwar Rashid brought Clifton Hall for £3.6 million, he had made his money from nursing homes in Dubai and by no means had to worry about finance (and still does not I believe). The pan was to use the Hall for both living and wedding events. 8 months later, the story goes, the family left the property, defaulted the mortgage and refused to go back. He had called in a local paranormal team and said that he had found blood marks on a quilt that was being used for his 18-month-old son, a the time it was quoted like he felt like it was the film “The Others” (side note – not a bad film!)

T.A.P.I.T (The Ashfield Paranormal Investigation Team) based in Sutton in Ashfield were formed in 2006, by Lee Roberts. I listened to an interview he did with at Parasearch Radio and I will go into that in the last part of this little series but before that lets recap and look into more of this story.

Anwar Rashid brought the property, he already had a 25 million fortune and brought the 52 room Hall with 17 bedrooms, a gym, cinema, 10 reception rooms and 10 bathrooms. At the time he was a 32-year-old businessman, with a 25-year-old wife, three daughters and two sons.

He brought the Hall in January 2007, from day one they believed it could be haunted as they said on the  first evening he heard a voice “is anyone there?” but could find no source and so tried to ignore it, he said that it was a man’s voice and that was not the only time they heard it. Nabila Rashid (his wife) saw her eldest daughter watching television at 5am downstairs, she went upstairs only find that she was asleep in her own bed. They also say that some of their family and friends outright refused to stay there to.

May 2007 – the planned license for marriage ceremonies was refused by the council but that didn’t stop them coming up with ideas for other uses on a commercial level.

Stories and dates are quite ambiguous because when I breakdown dates you may find they seem messy and I want to acknowledge that. One report says they left in August 2008 but TAPIT says they left in October 2008 as an example. On report says they stopped paying the bills in January 2008 but that doesn’t fit if they defaulted and left 18th September 2008 when Yorkshire Bank reclaimed the Hall. I believe that this would seem fairer as it coincided with the idea of them handing the keys in during August 2008bu either way they had defaulted and gone in 2008.

21st September 2008, Sky News covered the story, “Millionaire Flees Haunted Mansion”.

“When people used to tell me about ghosts, I would never believe them, and they would say ‘whatever!’. But I would have to tell any new owner that it was haunted having experienced it.”

Darren Brookes, manager at a security firm that used to manage Hall security also supported this view, “a monk walking through the grounds, a woman in the graveyard falling over, and chairs moving in one of the rooms”.

Dark Mansions – “During their stay, the family called paranormal investigators, but these experts could not drive the spirits from the house. In fact, two investigators, fainted after seeing the ghost of a boy”.

This is mentioned in the Parasearch podcast but outside of that I found collecting ‘evidence’ to be more rumours etc but not actual fact or evidence, however TAPIT have not released anything else I could find and I believe it is because Lee Roberts is planning to write a book on the matter and probably holding it all back for that reason.

Another small side note of interest that I found; it was mentioned about rumours of a heart in a casket at the church. The church has not precise date of founding so it was possible that the site was used for worship and predates the church being erected, again the earliest notation comes from the Domesday book, but we can likely designate the transition to a Christian church being around 1150, but before 1200. If you like local church history, I think this would be for you, but I am concentrating on the rumour of the heart.

The Clifton Book – 1906 says that the south side doorway is dated 1632 and opens into the Clifton vault.  There are 25 coffins noted in the book and he states that resting among them is the small leaden casket, he says that from the size and shape it “doubtless” contained a heart, this heart was believe to be from Sir William Clifton, a crusader. There is another mention – 1790 report by Throsby, saying that there was a lead coffin shaped to receive the head and shoulders, for Sir Gervase Clifton who was beheaded after the Battle of Tewkesbury but he did not see it himself.  I think there is genuine merit to the rumour and whilst it won’t be possible to confirm as the vault is going to be tended, and fortunately preserved, by the incumbent clergy it is highly probably this exists.

 The last part of this series is going to be write up of what I listened to, the notes I made and a link to that podcast. Overall, I found it very hard to get enough footage, pictures or further information supporting all the local rumours and events. I don’t dismiss that there have been multiple experiences, but I cannot find you anything more than those reports. BUT I hope you liked the deep dive and you like my photos from a wintery Nottingham village.

                  
         
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                                      Parasearch Radio

Sky News                             nottinghamshistory.org.uk          The Clifton Book 1906. Rev Rosslyn Bruce


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

York, England, has a lot of tales, one of which is 5 College Street where it is said that there is the ghost of  a young girl who has been both seen and heard on the upper floor.

In the middles ages plague hit the city, the family in the house at the time were sufferers and like many others, when people became infected, locals sealed up the houses in an attempt to stop the spread. The parents suffered the horrific decline into death and their young daughter did not. She was immune but the locals were so fearful of the plague that they never let her out.

A fate as hellish as any she was instead sealed up with her rotting parents and left to starve to death. If there was a reason for a young lady to haunt an area perhaps this really is one.

I learnt about the Pendle Witches when I was young, the trials took place in 1612 and because I am from Lancashire it was something we were told about. However it wasn’t until I got older I began to find more interest in it.

There were in total twelve accused who lived in the area around Pendle Hill in Lancashire, they were charged with the murder of ten people by the use of witchcraft. Two were tried at Lancaster Assizes, one was tried at York and another died in prison. Of the eleven that went on trial tend of them were found guilty and executed by hanging.

The trials were particularly unusual at the time due to the number of those hung at once, and during the early 15th and 18th Centuries when trials of witchcraft were a feature fewer then 500 in total were executed.

Six of the witches came from the same two families, Elizabeth Southerns (Aka Demdike), her daughter Elizabeth Device, her grandchildren James and Alizon Devic; Anne Whittle (aka Chattox) and her daughter Anne Redferne. The others accused were Jane Bulcock and her son John, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, Alice Gray and Jennet Preston.

Pendle Hill makes for a beautiful backdrop of scenery, the accused lived around the area which at the time was well regarded as a pretty lawless land – “fabled for its theft, violence and sexual laxity, where the church was honoured without much understanding of its doctrines by the common people”.

Henry VIII had dissolved the local Abbey at Whalley leaving them with no church influence until the Roman Catholic rise in 1553 with Mary’s views leading the way, after this Elizabeth came to the throne in 1558 and Catholic Priests were forced into hiding. In remote areas like Pendle they did continue to practise their Mass in secret.

In early 1612 every Justice of the Peace in Lancashire was ordered to compile a list of anyont that refused to attend English church, take communion or had committed a criminal offence at that time. Roger Nowell, Read Hall on the edge of Pendle Forest was the Justice of the Peace at that time. During this he investigated a case brought to him by the family of John Law, a pedlar who stated he had been injured by Witchcraft.

Demdike herself had been regarded as a witch for around 50 years and some of the deaths the witches were accused of had come to play before Nowell even took his interest but the event of the Pedlar, John Law, seems to have triggered the events that led up to the trial. Alizon Device had asked the pedlar for some pins, Law was reluctant perhaps as they were known to be useful in their magic. Not long adter Law’s son saw him fall, (probably a stroke given his age), he managed to stumble up and get ot an inn. Alizon seemingly convinced of her own powers then confessed and asked for his forgiveness.

Alizon, her mother and brother were summoned before Nowell and Alizon confessed to selling her soul to the Devil, she states she told him to lame Law and her brother also stated her sister had bewitched a local child. Elizabeth was not as forthcoming but revealerd her mother, Demdike, had a mark on her body where the devil had sucked on her blood.

When questioned about Chattox it seems that Alizon had a chance for revenge, there is a suggestion in the evidence that this bad blood may go back to sometime around 1601. A member of the Chattoz family broke into the Malkin Tower (stealing around a £100 worth of goods). Now having been questioned it meant that Alizon accused Chattox of murdering four men by witchcraft and that her father was so frightened of Chattox he had paid 8 pounds of oatmeal per year to prevent any attacks. The oatmeal had been handed over yearly until the one before John’s death and on his deathbed he had told them it was Chattox that caused it and why.

Nowell summoned the other family, Demdike and Chattox were both blind and in their eighties but still came to bring him many damaging confessions. Chattox said 20 years before the event she had given her soul to something to get revent and would lack for nothing. Anne did not confess but Demdike said she had made clay figures. Another witness blamed her brothers illness on Anne Redferne over a disagreement.

This would probably have been the end when half of them were dragged away to the assizes but then a meeting was arranged by Elizabeth Device at the Malkin Tower (home of the Demdikes) was held. James Device stole a neighbour’s sheep, word of the party reached Nowell. Nowell and another magistrate, Nicholas Bannister, wanted to determine what had happened. As a result of their inquiry eight more were accused of the crime. Elizabeth, James, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, John and Jane Bulcock, Alice Gray and Jennet Preston. Jennet lived across the border and was sent to York for trial. The rest went to join the first four at Lancaster Goal.

Malkin Tower is believed to have been near Newchurch in Pendle and was demolished soon after the trials. In December 2011 Water Engineers unearthed a 17th Century cottage with a mummified cat in the walls that might well have been the Malkin Tower.

Some of the accused seem to have believed in their guilt, like Alizon but others protested their innocence to the end. Everyone but Elizabeth Southerns died by hanging but she died waiting for trial, Alice Grey however was found not guilty.

Jennet Preston herself was tried and pleaded not guilty but had appeared a year before Judge Bromley accused of murdering a child by witchcraft. The damning evidence then came in the form of her going to see Lister’s body who bled in front of them as she turned up. She was found guilty and hanged.

The prosecutor was Roger Nowell (I am sure you can see where this is going!) and the judges were Altham and Bromley. Nione year old Jennet Device was a witness which was not permitted in many trials, but Kind James has allowed it in the case of witchcraft. Everyone was once again brought forward to give their evidence. Chattox broke down in tears of confession about the murder of Robert Nutter and called on God to be merciful to her daughter Anne Redferne.

Elizabeth was charged with the murders of James and John Robinson, alongside this of working with Alice Nutter and Demdike in order to murder Henry Mitton. It also wasn’t like to help the case she had a deformity that meant her left eye was set lower than her right. Jennet accused her mother and shouted and yelled, she also said that her mother had a familiar called Ball who was a brown dog. Ball had been the one sent out to help with various murders. Elizabeth was also found guilty.

James Device tried to sell out his mother, and then protest his innocence against the crime of murdering both Anne Townley and John Duckworth. He however had made an earlier confession to Nowell that was read out, Jennet then said that her brother talked to a black dog, he was found guilty.

On the same day that Anne Redferne was tried so were the three Samlesbury Witches, the evidence of her involvement with the murder of Robert Nutter was insufficient and Anne was the one that got away. The second day however she was not so lucky, she refuted her guilt during the second trial about Robert Nutter but in the end she too was brought to the gallows.

Jane and her son, John Bulcock from Newchurch in Pendle were both accused of despatching Jennet Deane and denied being at the meeting at Malkin Tower. Yet again little Jennet came through and identified them saying John had roasted the stolen sheep for the Good Friday meeting. Guilty as charged.

Alice Nutter was a comparitively wealthy woman who made no statement before or during her trial, she merely submitted not guilty. Mitton’s death was supposedly caused by her, Demdike and Elizabeth Device. The only evidence given was by James Device saying that Demdike had told him about it. Alice may have been at the Malkin Tower on her way to an illegal Catholic meeting but if she wanted to use the meeting to say she wasn’t there she didnn’t to avoid incriminating the other’s at that meeting. Alice was found guilty.

Katherine Hewitt was charged and found guilty of the murder of Anne Foulds, she was the wife of a Clother from Colne, she had attended the meeting at the Tower with Alice Grey and according to James Device both Hewitt and Grey said they had killed a child from Colne. Jennet again (aren’t her and Hames so lovely?) confirmed her presence at the meeting. Alice Grey managed to escape the guilty plea.

Alizon Device, who started the whole thing via the John Law encounter was charged with causing harm by witchcraft. She was uniquely accused by her victim directly and seems to have believed in her own guilt. She broke down and confessed, another one for the guilty pile.

Should you like a very interesting (but quite heavy going) read about this in the form of a great novel, I would highly recommend Robert Neill’s book Mist Over Pendle which I read so many times I’ve now had to go and get a second copy. Oh what a shame a drive out towards my birth place!