First Aired : 19/06/07
Stoney Middleton is situated in the beautiful Middleton Dale, four miles north of Bakewell, in Derbyshire and the Peak District National Park. Stoney Middleton lies on the ancient highway between Chesterfield and Brough and was mentioned in the Domesday Book as Middletune. There are about 600 inhabitants nestling among limestone cliffs and rocks. Stoney Middleton is a magnet for walkers, climbers and potholers alike.
There was an old Roman settlement here in Stoney Middleton, and the site of the Roman baths, fed by a thermal spring lies behind the Hall, which was owned by the distiquished judge, Lord Denman, a great victorian reformer, who advocated the abolition of slavery and became the first national chairman of the Womens Institute. The baths have been restored.
Candle besom, boot manufacture, lime burning and light engineering have all been occupations in the past, with quarrying still employing the largest proportion of workers today. A shoe and boot company still operates and is housed in the old corn mill. There are 2 butchers, a general store cum post office, hair dressers and a bakery.
A primary school was built in 1835 by public subscription and is the meeting place for the Parish Council, the PTA, W.I, Horticultural Society, Tennis Club, and other activities of the village. An interesting building is the octagonal toll house of 1840, now a fish and chip shop. It is probably the only listed chippie in the Peak District.
Above the village is a place called Lovers Leap Cafe, a favoured haunt of rock climbers. It is so called from the leap of a village girl called Hannah Badderley in 1762. Jilted, she decided to jump from the high cliff but was saved by her billowibng petticoat, which acted as a parachute.
There is an unusual octagonal church built on the site of a smaller one, erected by Joan Padley in thanksgiving for the safe return of her husband from the Battle of Agincourt in the 15th century. The new church was built in 1759 and contains a unique lantern tower. There were further additions to the church in the 19th century.
First Aired : 26/06/07
The origins of the settlement date to Roman times when salt from Nantwich was used by the Roman garrisons at Chester and Stoke-on-Trent as both a preservative and a condiment. Salt has been used in the production of Cheshire cheese and in the tanning industry, both industries being products of the dairy industry based on the Cheshire plain around the town.
In the Domesday Book, Nantwich is recorded as having eight salt houses. It had a castle and was the capital of a barony of the earls of Chester, and of a hundred (one of the seven sub-divisions of medieval Cheshire). The salt industry peaked in the late 16th century when there were 216 salt houses, but the industry ended in 1856 with the closure of the last salt house. Similarly the last tannery closed in 1974, but the clothing industry remains important to the area.
Nantwich has suffered several disasters in its history. It was first recorded as an urban area at the time of the Norman conquest — the Normans burned the town to the ground, leaving only one building standing. Two hundred years later the town was attacked over a lengthy period by marauders from Wales, while in 1583 the Great Fire of Nantwich raged for 20 days, destroying most of the town, which was rebuilt, at a cost of £30,000 in 16th-century money, £2,000 of which was personally donated by Queen Elizabeth I together with timber from the royal forest. Indeed, one of the main streets of Nantwich was re-named to reflect the fact that the timber to rebuild the town was transported along it (Beam Street). Many plaques in Nantwich now commemorate this.
During the English Civil War, Nantwich was the only town in Cheshire to declare for Parliament, and consequently it was besieged several times by Royalist forces. The final, six-week long, siege was lifted following the victory of the Parliamentary forces in the Battle of Nantwich on January 26, 1644, which has been re-enacted as Holly Holy Day on its anniversary every year since 1973 by the Sealed Knot, a registered charity devoted to re-enacting English civil war battles for education purposes. The name comes from the sprigs of holly worn by the townsfolk in their caps or clothing in the years after the battle in order to commemorate it.
The Lamb Hotel – The ghost of a man who used to own the hotel haunts the (now closed) Lamb Hotel. The man when alive gave the hotel to his wife, Claire who he had recently found out was having an affair. After signing the deeds over to her he took a shotgun and killed himself. There is a dedication plaque for him in the reception. The bells in the kitchen ring late at night when the kitchen is empty.
First Aired : 10/07/07
Pluckley, a village of about 1,000 people, is situated almost half way between Maidstone and Ashford (with its International Rail station for the channel tunnel and Europe) and is situated on the edge of the North Downs and the ‘Andredsweald’ – the ancient Saxon forest which spread along the whole of the South coast of England as far as the Isle of Wight and north to the Down, a high ridge of chalk hills spreading from Surrey towards Dover. The forest that remains is probably some of the oldest woodland in England. Certainly older than the Saxons, who merely named it.
In Kent, especially in the autumn, ‘the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’, suddenly drivers run into almost dense walls of fog lurking along narrow country lanes, or catch the swirling fingers of a disappearing grey cloud. It is not surprising that some well known landscape features are mistakenly attributed to apparitions when approached in these conditions.
The earliest records of haunting seem to be in a book written in 1955, by Frederick Sanders titled Pluckley was my Playground. Mr Sanders mentions both the Highwayman and the Watercress woman as potential spirits; squashes the idea of the miller; and mentions the hanging schoolmaster – as a person not a ghost, and Radio 2 presenter and actor, Desmond Carrington, has admitted to ‘concocting a whole string of them’ for an article in TV Times in the 1950’s.
Of the 12 ‘official’ ghosts mentioned in such books as Peter Underwood’s ‘Ghosts of Kent’ and Joan Foreman’s ‘The Haunted South’ one of the more popular is the Coach and Horses, last seen in the mid 1990’s. Four people claim to have seen the coach and horses in the past 30 or so years; one has also seen the monk.
Of the other ‘official ghosts’, no one claims to have seen them – at least recently. These others are: the Red Lady of St Nicholas churchyard; the White Lady of both St Nicholas and Surrenden Manor; the Colonel; the screaming man; the Tudor lady.
There are reports of a small dog haunting the churchyard; 2 cavaliers (one at the Blacksmith’s and another near Rose Court); old ladies (one again at the Blacksmith’s, the other at the Dering Arms); a tramp (wandering around the village); poltergeist activity at Surrenden, the Black Horse, and the Blacksmith’s Arms during the time it was a tearoom; A local hotel has been investigated by the Centre for Psychic Research (although the proprietors are not keen to be interviewed) At least four other houses have reported unusual occurrences at various times.
There are several booklets written about Pluckley’s ghosts. There are inconsistencies within all of them. Stories of this nature do inevitably vary depending on who is telling the tale.
Pluckley’s most popular ghosts
1. The Coach & Horses – various locations
2. The Colonel – Park Wood
3. The Highwayman – Pinnock Crossroads
4. The Miller – Site of Old Mill
5. The Monk – Greystones
6. The Red Lady – St Nicholas Church
7. The Schoolmaster – Dicky Buss Lane
8. The Screaming Man – Brickworks
9. The Tudor Lady – Rose Court
10. The Watercress Woman – Pinnock Stream
11. The White Lady – St Nicholas Church and Surrenden Manor
12. The Black Horse – The Street
13. The Dering Arms – Station Road
14. The Blacksmith’s Arms – Pluckley Thorne
15. The Screaming Woods – Dering Woods & Frith Wood
16. The Devil’s Bush – Frith Corner
First Aired : 17/07/07
Ruthin is a small but attractive, friendly and lively town of some 5,000 people set in the beautiful Vale of Clwyd, in a setting overlooked by the hills of the Clwydian range and the Hiraethog Moors.
It is a town with a mixed culture and the languages of Welsh and English are used with equal prominence. That is why you will find two spellings of the name – Rhuthun (the original) and Ruthin (the anglicised version).
Ruthin has a lively and interesting history – which has provided a rich architectural heritage – and is currently a thriving administrative and service centre for a large rural hinterland. It is the home of the principal offices of the county of Denbighshire, and the meeting place of the County Council. It has financial and business services providing for local needs, and is home to one of the largest cattle and sheep auction markets in Wales.
Ruthin’s origins take us back 4000 years and into the Roman era. The evidence is on the town’s eastern fringes – beneath the cottage hospital, the Brynhyfryd housing estate and Brynhyfryd School. They were in the ancient parish of Llanrhydd – possibly the original ‘Ruthin’ – where the town’s mother church is well worth a visit.
In the pre-conquest era, when the Welsh Princes ruled, the original cantref of Dyffryn Clwyd was part of Perfeddwlad, highly prized and frequently changing hands, often after bloody struggles. Ruthin was the maerdref or principal town.
Reginald de Grey’s castle of 1282, commenced by Edward I, dominated the Ruthin Lordship which was his reward for helping to subjugate this area. The lordship was extensive, reaching from Bodfari in the north to the fringes of Brymbo in the south.
The harsh aftermath to the conquest eventually softened as the local inhabitants subtly re-conquered their homeland through intermarriage with the immigrants brought in to govern de Grey’s domain. Ruthin prospered.
Perhaps Ruthin’s main claim to fame arose from a land dispute between de Grey and Owain Glyndwr which in 1400 resulted in the sacking of the town by Owain as a stirring overture to his Wales-wide campaigns against English rule.
The importance of the castle dwindled though regaining local importance as a royalist stronghold during the Civil Wars of the seventeenth century. By then, de Grey’s former territory had been assimilated within the vast Myddleton estates centred on Chirk Castle.
Of the families brought in by the de Greys, the Thelwalls of Plas-y-Ward and Bathafarn became major landowners. Their estates eventually passed by marriage to the Williams-Wynn dynasty of Wynnstay.
One of Ruthin’s most famous sons was Gabriel Goodman (1528-1601), Dean of Westminster. He re-founded Ruthin School and left other benefactions. His nephew, Godfrey Goodman, Bishop of Gloucester, added substantially to Gabriel’s charities which flourish to this day.
Ruthin Castle is reputed to be haunted by a ‘Grey Lady’ who is seen roaming the exterior of the castle, the battlements, the old Chapel and the Medieval Banqueting Hall. The lady is said to be a murderess and the wife of the castle’s second in command, when it was occupied by Reginald de Grey, appointed by Edward I. According to the legend her husband had an affair, and she murdered her love rival with an axe. She was executed for her crime and buried in the area around the battlements, as no local clergymen would allow her to be buried on consecrated ground. Her grave can still be seen today.
Ruthin also has an Arthurian legend based upon his relationship with Huail, a local chief. Huail fought Arthur over one of the King’s mistresses, and managed to wound him in the knee. Arthur was willing to maintain a truce of peace with Huail as long as he never referred to Arthur’s wounded knee. However, whilst Arthur was disguised as a woman whilst visiting another mistress at Ruthin Castle, Huail recognised him and made a comment about how he would be a better dancer if his knee was not so clumsy. Outraged, Arthur had Huail beheaded, and the limestone block on which the execution was held can be found in the town centre.
First Aired : 24/07/07
Tutbury is a large village and civil parish of about 3,000 residents in the English county of Staffordshire.
It is surrounded by the agricultural countryside of both Staffordshire and Derbyshire. The site has been inhabited for over 3000 years, with Iron Age defensive ditches encircling the main defensive hill, upon which now stands ruins of a Norman castle. These ditches can be seen most clearly at The Park pale and at the top of the steep hills behind Park Lane. The name Tutbury probably derives from a scandinavian settler and subsequent chief of the hill-fort, Totta, bury being a corruption of the anglo-saxon name for ‘fortified place’. It is 5 miles north of Burton upon Trent and 20 miles south of the Peak District.
Tutbury Castle (Already visited by Most Haunted)
Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, is the current owner of Tutbury Castle, which has an extraordinary history dating back to shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066.
Since the castles inception, it has played host to many Kings and Queens of the time, which included such dignitaries as Edward I, Edward II, John of Gaunt, Henry IV, Margaret of Anjou, Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots (she was kept as a prisoner of the castle on four occasions), James I, Charles I and Prince Rupert (during the Civil War).
The castle is full of stories and tales about its famous visitors, some of whom are reputedly still there.
A regular ghost at Tutbury castle is that of a phantom drummer boy who can be heard playing his drum near the North tower. It is said that If you hear the drumming it is a good omen.
Unfortunately for the poor drummer boy, good fortune seemed to have evaded him as he was killed by an arrow to the head while drumming the warning that the castle was under attack.
Another ghost of a small child has been seen running past visitors and guests to the castle, and on odd occasions has been known to touch them.
The King’s Bedchamber seems to be a place of very high paranormal activity. Every year there are numerous accounts of people reporting that they have seen spheres of light, strange glimmering effects and also someone holding their hand.
A gentleman on a recent tour of Tutbury castle, reportedly told the tour guide that he had really enjoyed the ghost walk. And what made the tour so special was the little boy in costume sitting at the top of the stairs. This was news to the castle’s guides – they told him “there are no little boys in costume on the tour!”
The castles ghosts are not just confined to those of little children struck down in their childhood, there is also report of a little old woman. She has been seen outside the great hall and floating outside the Hall’s window.
If you are visiting the castles cellars – beware!! The little old woman seems to haunt this place as well and has been known to remove keys and rearrange furniture.
First Aired : 07/08/07
In this edition, the team travel to Bakewell in the Peak District, a town which has supernatural stories engrained in its
history. Bakewell is the only town included in the Peak District National Park and has one of the oldest markets in the area,
dating back to 1300. If they dare, tourists can try and catch a glimpse of a spirit during the town’s spooky ghost tour.
Among the infamous characters said to haunt the town are the witches of Bakewell, two women who were burnt at the
stake after a Scotsman claimed he had been transported to London by the power of a spell they had chanted while he was
lodging with them. Then there’s the ghost of Jim Marlow, who can be heard walking to the gunroom in Castle Hill House
where he shot himself many years ago. However, the team decides to focus on the chilling case of a farmer’s wife who was
inexplicably murdered. Coming from the spookiest place in the Peak District.
A self confessed super fan of Most Haunted and editor of GhostMag.com. Matt’s passion for ghost hunting began when he moved into a haunted house in his second year of university in Leicester! His favourite location is the Niddry Street Vaults in Edinburgh.