Best of British: 7 Haunted mansions

BY Meg Dailey

1st Jan 2015 Travel

Best of British: 7 Haunted mansions

Beware of ghosts, unnerving noises, and mysterious happenings at these eerie mansions. You won’t be sleeping tonight…

1. Borley Rectory, Essex

Borley rectory Essex
Image via Harry Price 

Built in 1863 on the site of an old monastery, The Borley Rectory has been dubbed the ‘Scariest House in Britain’. Bizarre occurrences date back to the mid to late 1800s, and evidence of paranormal activity was first recorded in the 1900s by a couple that lived there.

After Eric Smith and his wife called a local newspaper about the hauntings, a paranormal activity expert offered to live in the house for a year. He reported lots of poltergeist activity including mysterious footsteps and doorbells ringing of their own accord.

After the expert's report, the terrified couple sold their house to Rev. Foster and his wife Marianne.

haunted house wall writing
A sample of the bizarre wall writing. Via XOJane

Despite performing numerous exorcisms on the property, paranormal activity got much worse. Windows smashed without explanation and Marianne was thrown from her bed by an unexplained force. The couple also experienced strange writing appearing on the wall.

After five years of fear, they left the house and donated it to the paranormal expert for further research. In 1939, the house burnt to the ground. It lay in ruins until 1944, when it was demolished.

To this day, the site of Borley Rectory plays host to strange sightings and the surrounding buildings, like a Parish Church, experience some of the same things Eric Smith and his wife first witnessed back in the 1900s.


2. 50 Berkeley Square, London

50 Berkeley Square
Image via YouTube 

This haunted townhouse claims to be home to the spirit of a young woman who committed suicide in the attic. Constructed in the late 18th century, the home first belonged to the British Prime Minister George Canning who lived there between 1770 and 1827.

The attic seems to be the on-going theme of spooks in this home. Legend has it that a young man was locked in the attic room and fed through a hole in the door until he went mad and died. Another story claims a little girl, who was killed by a sadistic servant, haunts the attic room.

After Canning, the home was rented to one Mr. Myers, who had recently been abandoned by his fiancée. He reportedly locked himself in the attic room and slowly went insane until his death.

In 1879, Mayfair Magazine reported that a maid who had stayed in the attic room had gone mad whilst working there, and died in an Asylum.

The day after this was reported, a nobleman wanted to see for himself if the home was haunted and stayed the night in the attic room. He died the next day. The coroner pronounced 'fright' the cause of death.


3. Chillingham Castle, Northumberland

Chillingham castle
Image via Wikipedia

You might think the name ‘Chilling’ham Castle would already have people running the other way, but tourists flock to take ghost tours of this 13th century haunted castle.

Dating back over 800 years, the castle was built for only one purpose—killing. It was first used as a line of defence, preventing the Scots from getting over the border to invade. The dungeon alone tells a disturbing history. Markings scratched into the walls by prisoners counting how many days they had left to live are still visible.

Next to the Dungeon is a torture Chamber which still has a foul smell, and some say they can still hear the victims scream. 

In one of the Galleries of the castle, a balcony overlooks what is now the Tea Room. Reports have said that visitors who stop and look over the balcony suffer from terrible headaches or feelings of nausea.


4. Belgrave Hall, Leicester

Belgrave Hall
Image via This Was Leicestershire

On December 1998, two misty images were spotted on Belgrave's CCTV footage. The figures were around 6ft and hovered outside a rear window of the property, before disappearing over a nearby wall. There has been speculation over the years, but ghost hunters believe the figures to be Victorian women. One of the figures is believed to be Charlotte Ellis, a daughter of the previous owner. 

After the footage was found, a team of investigators set up shop and reported the ghostly presence of children and servants, as well as spirits from a time prior to Belgrave Hall’s existence.

Current members of staff at the hall report that paranormal activity happens on a weekly basis. Some believe the activity is due to large amounts of quartz within the buildings, which 'traps' paranormal energy, allowing images of the past to resurface. Staff have also reported inexplicable shadows and strange smells floating throughout the rooms. 

Today the hall hosts ghost tours, and overnight stays for the determined and curious. Make you bring an extra blanket: you will most likely be hiding under it.


5. Blickling Hall, Norfolk

Blickling Hall
Image via Visit Britain

This beautiful Jacobean mansion located in Norfolk, is reportedly the eternal home of Anne Boleyn.

In 1499, Blickling Hall became home to the Boleyn family, whose daughter Anne later became Henry VIII's queen. The Blickling Hall that we can see today was built on the ruins of the original, and Anne Boleyn allegedly haunts every room and corridor.

Dressed in all white, she's said to carry her severed head under her arm and wonders around the rooms from dusk till dawn. However, Anne is not alone. Visitors have also testified to sightings of Thomas Boleyn, Anne’s father. Just like his daughter he carries his head under his arm while flames gush from his mouth. 


6. Plas Teg, Flintshire

Plas Teg
Image via Plas Teg

Plas Teg is a beautiful country home built in 1620 for a Welsh politician named Sir John Trevor I and his family. Later the home was used as a local court, where many people were tried and hung. 

The house is said to play host to more than 15 ghosts, which lurk through its many halls and rooms. One of them is Sir John Trevor I’s daughter, Dorothy. Legend has it that Dorothy fell in love with a farmer’s son. Her father disapproved and punished her by hiding all her jewels in the well.

One night Dorothy went to retrieve them, but slipped and fell, plummeting to her death. Her body was found two days later and her lover, the farmer’s son, was so distraught that he hung himself. As revenge, she now haunts the house, trying to mend her broken heart.

In the early 1900s a gardener working on the grounds said he felt hands grabbing his shoulders trying to pull him down the well. Other accounts say they have heard loud wailing coming from the house. Some visitors even claim to have felt sudden emotion changes in different areas of the house, finding themselves suddenly overcome with anger, sadness, despair and happiness. 


7.  Leith Hall, Aberdeenshire

Leith Hall
Image via Urban Realm

Built in 1650 by the Leith family, Leith Hall stood on top of a medieval Peill Castle. Like many large homes, during the First World War, Leith Hall became a temporary hospital. It housed over 500 patients who returned injured or wounded from fighting in Belgium. Legend has it that some of the patients still wander the rooms wounded and moaning.

As if wounded ghost soldiers weren’t enough, there is also the ghost of a large, moaning man with a dirty white bandage over his head, wearing dark green trousers and a shirt. He is believed to be the ghost of the Fourth Lair John Leith who was killed on Christmas day 1763.

Other visitors have seen doors slam shut on summer days with no wind, a sherry bottle flying from a hall table and smashing to the ground, a child laughing and crawling on the floor and footsteps all along the third floor. If this isn’t scary enough for you… a couple who was staying in the Hall both woke up in the middle of the night with the feeling of being smothered. Spooky.