Ladies of the Manor

On Friday, us and fellow Calamityville Horror member, Neen set off for the annual Calamityville ghost hunting holiday. We were going to spend it in York, but decided to stop off en route at Baddesley Clinton, a gorgeous moated manor house in Solihull. It’s even more beautiful in the flesh. We started off by finding a cat. He tried to resist our affection, but we cornered him on a bench and he eventually relented and let us pat him. Going a whole weekend without patting a single animal is just unthinkable. We stopped to admire some ducks and geese who were swimming in the moat. Unfortunately, telling them we were grandmothers to a duck didn’t convince them to approach.

Baddesley Clinton

Baddesley Clinton

The island that Baddesley Clinton sits on was once used to keep cattle. The idea was that if the cows were surrounded by a moat, they couldn’t be stolen. The staff in Baddesley Clinton were brilliant. They were very knowledgeable, friendly and willing to talk about the house and its ghosts. They made the experience much better and gave us a new appreciation for the building. We got to see the priest holes, which were used during the Inquisition. Not a single priest was found at Baddesley Clinton.

One of the stories associated with the house is that of Nicholas Brome. Baddesley ClintonIn 1438, his father, John Brome, the Under Treasurer, bought the manor house. During the War of the Roses, they supported the losing side and fell out with the Earl of Warwick. John was murdered. In revenge, Nicholas killed the Earl of Warwick’s steward. He then bought himself a pardon, a get out of jail free card, which meant he was immune from the executioner for life. One day, he came home to find a priest in a compromising position with his wife. Some say it was intimate, others say the priest was tickling her under the chin. Nicolas killed the priest and as penance, built the steeple of St Michael’s church, which is on the grounds. Its said that the library is still stained by the priest’s blood. However, the National Trust have had the blood tested and it’s pig’s blood. It’s believed that the priest died in a part of the house that no longer stands. When Nicholas died in 1517 he requested that he should pay for his crimes by being buried standing up in the entrance to the church so that people would walk over his grave for all eternity.

He’s still there today.

Nicholas Brome

Nicholas’s grave

People have heard footsteps and seen door handles turn by themselves. A woman has also been spotted. Another site claims there are the sounds of voices arguing, the priest taking mass in the dark and a woman in black drifting through doors. Objects move and people have been pushed.

St Michael's Church

St Michael’s Church

After visiting the house, we headed for the church. Thunder rumbled in the bowel of the clouds and rain started to fall. We managed to get into the church and moved the mat to find Nicholas’s grave. We conducted a question session with a crystal in the church, with the atmospheric thunder crashing overhead. It was like being in a gothic novel without the doomed love story and one of us dying tragically. Though that would be great for the show 😀

On our way back to the car, we heard the sheep bleating. They were scared of the storm. We went over to talk to them and it calmed them down. Though if they knew anything about the hauntings at Baddesley Clinton, they weren’t saying anything. One sheep did comply with “show us your babies” and showed us her twin lambs.

We decided to head for York as we wanted to go on a ghost walk which started at 8 p.m. We left Solihull at 3 p.m. We should have been in Tadcaster within two hours. Four hours of crawling traffic later, we finally reached our Travelodge. We stopped long enough to drop our stuff off then headed for York. We arrived at 7:50 and found a car park easily and it was close to the meeting point for the walk. We should’ve known it was too easy. The car park was full. So we moved on. The next car park had spaces. Except it closed at 8:30. Time started counting down. This was our first time in York. Panic started to set in. Next car park. Closed. Next car park. Closed. Tick, tick, tick…

The River Ouse

The River Ouse, where we met for the ghost walk

We found another one that was fairly empty but quite far away. We should’ve sensed something fishy but by now it was 8 p.m. Our first proper glimpse of York was a darkened blur as we ran to the meeting point. We arrived at 8:03 and the walk had just started. The group stared as we ran up, wielding our filming equipment, eyes twitching with rage at the car park situation. Except we weren’t allowed to film. The walk, the Original Ghost Walk,  took us on a tour of York. The group was big, which is a problem when you’re pixie sized like us and Neen, especially as tall people seem to be unaware just how tall they are and always stand in front of us. You get used to staring at people’s backs after a while. There were some interesting stories but there didn’t seem to be a lot of ghost stories. The guide told us about some places that were haunted but wasn’t allowed to actually tell us the stories.

The Golden Fleece

The Golden Fleece

After the walk finished we decided to head to York’s most haunted pub, The Golden Fleece. Neen brought games with her so we played Heck Meck while waiting for ghosts to show. The pub was built in 1503 and there are apparently 15 ghosts that haunt it. The most famous is Lady Alice Peckett, wife of John Peckett who owned the Inn and was the mayor of York. Guests have reported seeing Alice wandering the Inn and moving furniture.  Another permanent guest is a Canadian airman who fell to his death from the second floor balcony during WWII. In the bottom bar, a ghost known as One Eyed Jack has been spotted wearing a red coat and carrying a pistol. A grumpy old man is also spotted here and in the top bar, and a young boy apparently haunts the top bar. He was trampled to death by horses. In the cellar, Roman soldiers have been seen. The cellar was used to store the bodies of dead criminals. But the only spirits we saw were the Smirnoff Ices we were drinking. We nearly created our own ghost when Cat leaned back on her high bar stool only for one short leg to nearly pitch her to the step below. This was to kick start what would be a holiday of trips, falls and disgracing ourselves in a way no professional ghost hunters ever should. It’s a good job we’re not professional!

We returned to our car at midnight. To be robbed by the machines. £10.20 for four hours! We nearly wept at the pay machines and begged them to change their minds. The machines demanded we paid. We had a Mini. We’ve all seen that Mr Bean episode where he doesn’t want to pay car park charges and drives his Mini at the barrier when another car enters to avoid paying. We could do this. Except there were no other cars around and our mum made us promise to look after her car. After taking it off-roading in Cornwall, driving it at a car park barrier wouldn’t be wise. We’d left her our Smartcar and we didn’t want a revenge plot against General Pinkinton. We sobbed with each coin we pushed into the machine and drove away, shaking our fists. And we thought York didn’t have highway robbers any more!

Then we had to drive three miles past our Travelodge as it was on the other side of the dual carriageway and that was the next turning. Except we missed it and ended up six miles out before turning around. We finally got back at 12:30 a.m. So our first night in York didn’t turn up any ghosts but it has given us a new tagline – Calamityville Horror. We get there in the end.

Baddesley Clinton

Ladies of the Manor

8 Comments

  1. What a great adventure on your first day 😀 love your new slogan lol

    • Thanks, it sums Calamityville up really well 😀 We had a fantastic time.

  2. lol, nice new tagline. How in the world can a tour advertise it’s the Original Ghost Walk yet not be allowed to tell the stories? o_O

    • we know. It would have been better if he hadn’t mentioned the places in the first place. He seemed to talk a lot but not say much if that makes sense.

      • Yes, makes sense. I’ve come across a few of those people.

      • and he was kinda creepy. We encountered him in the pub later and he kept asking us where we were staying and if wanted him to take us there. Um no thank you.

  3. That’s a lovely manor! You sound like you had great fun and I am glad for you. And a bit jealous too!

    • thanks 🙂 it was a gorgeous house – well worth a visit


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