(alternate subtitle: Mysterious Tales from the National Trust)
“All houses in which men have lived and died are haunted houses: through the open doors, the harmless phantoms on their errands glide, . . . “
Henry Wordsworth Longfellow
This quote begins a fascinating collection of tales about 72 National Trust “haunted” properties. Each of the properties listed in the book have documented ghostly tales associated with them, and these tales have passed into Britain’s cultural history. Author Siân Evans compiled the stories from interviews with the staff, volunteers, and visitors of each property.
Evans trained as a cultural historian and now works for the National Trust. In the book’s introduction she defines ghosts as ‘events of the past projected onto the present’ like a ‘recording’ rather than spirits rambling round. Certainly, visitors and staff who have seen the apparitions at the properties will agree that something inexplicable is happening. Many sightings are random and are not disturbing, but more mundane. It is more the occasional one that is scary or frightening.
A case in point is Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire. The Apprentice House on the site was built in 1790 and housed indentured pauper children. The attics of the house are said to be home to several adult women ghosts, seen by workers and staff; a dog balked at going up the attic stairs and refused to ever go in the home again. The schoolroom is also prone to sensations of being watched by invisible forces. Psychics say there is an evil force in the house.
Rhossili bay, at Wales Gower peninsula, is said to be haunted by a coach and four and an unpleasant squire. Wild nights summon up tales of the squire who drove off villagers from a booty of gold on the beach.
Liverpool’s Speke Hall, a famous half-timbered house has a surplus of ghosts. The room above the main entrance is said to be haunted by the ghost of Lady Mary, who inherited the hall in 1731. There are many references to a haunted chamber and the appearances of a lady in white, even one who spoke to dinner party guests and walked through a wall. Staff say footsteps and voices echo in empty rooms.
These are only three of the many fascinating examples of ghost stories in the book. From manor houses to stone circles to industrial sites, to countryside, there are spooky tales to brighten many a dark and stormy night.
Published spring 2006 by the National Trust
The book may be purchased from any National Trust shop or ordered online from Amazon in the US, Canada, and the UK.
For more information visit National Trust
Go Back: [Top of Page] [Book Reviews Main Page]