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Thread: Speke Hall and the Grey Lady

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    Senior Member johnreppion's Avatar
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    Default Speke Hall and the Grey Lady

    Hi all,
    I'm currently working on some sample chapters for a book about Liverpool's ghosts and hauntings at a publisher's request and I thought that this board looked like an excellent place to pick the brains of some knowledgeable local folk.

    At the moment I'm writing about Speke Hall and the Grey Lady and, whilst the basic story is pretty much established, I'm having trouble finding any actual accounts of sightings. Can anyone help? Do you remember reading something in the Echo or the Post about a sighting (do you maybe even have a clipping?) or have you yourself or someone you know witnessed any supernatural goings on at the Hall?


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    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Cheers.

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    DaisyChains
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    Hi
    The last time I went to Speke Hall, one of the guides told us that the ghosts of Speke Hall had been sensationalised over the years.
    Esp the ghost of the woman who was meant to throw her baby out of the window. I can't remember the reason but he said that was made up.

    Your best bet is to probably go to Speke Hall or ring up.

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    Senior Member johnreppion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyChains View Post
    Hi
    The last time I went to Speke Hall, one of the guides told us that the ghosts of Speke Hall had been sensationalised over the years.
    Esp the ghost of the woman who was meant to throw her baby out of the window. I can't remember the reason but he said that was made up.

    Your best bet is to probably go to Speke Hall or ring up.
    Thanks DaisyChains, I've already emailed Speke Hall about it but got no response so far. So yeah, I think a visit might be in order. You're right that the Grey Lady story doesn't actually match up historically either, which is part of the reason why I'm trying to find any first hand (or second hand) accounts of sightings.

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    Senior Member johnreppion's Avatar
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    Nobody got any accounts then? Not even "a friend of a friend" kind of thing? That is weird. For saying that the Grey Lady is probably one of the most famous hauntings in Liverpool, it's a bit bizarre that no one even knows of anyone else seeing her.

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    Hello researchwriter

    I was going to say I had not heard the story of the Grey Lady before but your mention of the baby being thrown into the moat triggered the memory that I had heard this story from a tour guide when I went round the Speke Hall some years ago. For what it is worth, I found the following on the net in case you have not seen it (spelling, grammar, facts etc all theirs).

    Chris

    From "Haunted Inns & Places of Great Britain: Speke Hall, Liverpool"

    Every Liverpool schoolchild worth his/her salt who has ever been to Speke Hall knows of the haunting. Speke Hall is a beautiful half timbered building dating back to 1490 complete with Great Hall, priest holes, giant yew trees and massive gardens. It's no wonder that some long deceased member of the household is reputed to have remained on the physical plane.

    The legend goes that during the civil war when the parlimentarians where closing in on royalists rumor had it that the troops where approaching Speke Hall. Upon hearing that they where at the gates the lady of the house threw her child out of the window in an effort to escape. Unfortunatley her plan went wrong when both she and her babe fell to their deaths instead of into the moat below. Now the lady in grey is doomed to wander the bedrooms searching for her lost child.

    Tourguides each have their own version of the legend but one common denominator is that the lady wears grey and haunts the same room.

    An email from Catherine O'Donnell was recieved in August shortly after the last update and provides some more info on Speke Hall and the spooky happenings there.

    From Real Haunted Houses: Speke Hall:

    During the Protestant Reformation, tunnels were dug from this house to the nearby River Mersey, to allow priests to escape to Ireland via a boat if necessary. Even today, these holes are still visible. Allegedly, a woman, devastated by the actions of her philandering husband, killed herself and then her baby. Many people have reported feeling cold spots, while others have reportedly seen spirits of the agonized woman.

    [Discussion from a number of contributors follows this intro]

    From Haunted Mansions Around the World: Speke Hall

    The Hall was once the home of Mary Norreys and it is she who reputedly haunts a room called the Tapestry Room. As the story goes, in 1736 she married a young rake called Sidney Beauclerk. He was a heavy gambler so it wasn't too long before he informed his wife that he had gambled away all that they owned. Mary was so distressed that she became insane, throwing her baby son out of the window and into the moat below. The unfortunate baby drowned and, realizing what she had done, Mary killed herself, too.

    Even though this sad tale does not quite tally with historical facts, her ghost has been seen by many witnesses, not only in the Tapestry Room but in a bedroom, where she appears and then vanishes into a wall.

    From A mansion to live in ... if you don't mind spooks (icLiverpool, April 18, 2005)

    Speke Hall's other resident is said to be Mary Norris, an unfriendly ghost who has reportedly been seen walking its corridors by night.

    The woman, who killed herself around 1755 after apparently throwing her baby into the moat, has been spotted gliding into the hall before disappearing into the floorboards.

    And, rumour says, the heavy oak cradle in the Oak Bedroom has been known to rock, as if pushed by an invisible hand.

    "Obviously, if you're prone to worrying about bumps in the night it might not be the place for you," says Liverpool properties manager Simon Osbourne.
    Christopher T. George
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    Senior Member johnreppion's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris.
    Actually, I hadn't heard about this before:
    During the Protestant Reformation, tunnels were dug from this house to the nearby River Mersey, to allow priests to escape to Ireland via a boat if necessary. Even today, these holes are still visible.
    Interesting...

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    Quote Originally Posted by researchwriter View Post
    Thanks Chris.

    Thanks Chris.

    During the Protestant Reformation, tunnels were dug from this house to the nearby River Mersey, to allow priests to escape to Ireland via a boat if necessary. Even today, these holes are still visible.
    Interesting...

    Actually, I hadn't heard about this before:Interesting...
    Well, yes, if it's true. As with a lot of these stories, they are well-told tales, and they do attract attention, although I would suggest that a lot of them are more legend and fantasy than actual fact. I would say that is probably part of your problem in trying to nail down any stories about anyone who has seen the "Grey Lady" -- that is, that these are more stories that have been handed down more than actual psychic phenomenon. I do of course stand open to being proved incorrect on that assertion.

    Chris
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    Senior Member johnreppion's Avatar
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    You're quite right of course; everyone knows these stories but who are the actual witnesses? It's very hard to find them but, I hope, not impossible.

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    Senior Member Jericho's Avatar
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    I like the exterior of Speke Hall. The inside is largely Victorian kitsch. The café charges extortionate prices. I think I paid £2 (or more) for a bottle of Sasparilla. Fortunately I'm a member of the NT so I didn't have to pay to get in.

    As for the Grey Lady - weave together existing stories or make it up as you go along.

    Why are these ghost ladies nearly always grey? Maybe it's a ghost thing?

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    PhilipG
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    A lot of tourists expect these old houses to have ghosts, so most of the stories have been invented.

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    Senior Member verdi's Avatar
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    Just had a look in Readers Digest, Folklore,Myths and Legends of Britain. And there is nothing about ghosts in Speke hall. The nearest ghost mentioned is Plumley. It does mention Judas burning in Liverpool though.

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    Cadfael
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    It's quite funny but when you hear constantly about a ghost in a building, you half expect to see something and you're all on edge. My favourite buidings are churches and I've spent many an hour in them, both modern and old and it has never bothered me at all. Even when you hear of things happening, I've never got a bad feeling from a church.

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    Senior Member johnreppion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jericho View Post
    or make it up as you go along.
    That's what most other ghost book writers seem to do and what I'm really trying to avoid as much as possible. I'd like to at least be able to back some of what I'm saying up in terms of documented history and accounts (posthumous or otherwise). I'm not looking to write a book of fiction, I want to try to get to the root of these stories a bit.
    Last edited by johnreppion; 08-15-2007 at 06:41 PM.

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    Senior Member ChrisGeorge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipG View Post
    A lot of tourists expect these old houses to have ghosts, so most of the stories have been invented.
    I have done some research into an African American soldier, an escaped slave light enough to pass as a white man (blacks were proscribed from joining the US Army at the time), who was mortally wounded in the defense of Fort McHenry, Baltimore in 1814. Nobody in modern times knew about this guy until myself and ranger-historian Scott Sheads did research into him and published articles about him. Since then lo and behold his ghost has been seen at Fort McHenry.

    Chrris
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    Default YES I REMEMBER THE GHOST

    hi I grew up near the speke hall and went there nearly every day. that was in the early sixties. I knew the caretaker very well. he was blind which is strange because he had a blind dog as well. if you need more please contact me thanks . john

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    BOO
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    Senior Member lindylou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post

    BOO

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    fallen jedi matt's Avatar
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    I remember hearing documented cases of the cradle rocking and a grey lady walking the corridors, especially the tapestry room, but the story of Mary Norris throwing her baby from the window has been discounted by every guide I've asked at Speke Hall. Aslo, if memory serves, the window she is alleged to have thrown both the baby and herself through is tiny. I doubt anyone would fit through!!

    Also, Tom Slemen doesn't mention Speke Hall in any of his 'Haunted Liverpool books (as far as I'm aware).

    Try contacting www.ghostclub.org.uk

    They are the oldest paranormal organisation in the UK and may be able to help. Good luck!!


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    Senior Member johnreppion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by matt View Post
    I remember hearing documented cases of the cradle rocking and a grey lady walking the corridors, especially the tapestry room, but the story of Mary Norris throwing her baby from the window has been discounted by every guide I've asked at Speke Hall. Aslo, if memory serves, the window she is alleged to have thrown both the baby and herself through is tiny. I doubt anyone would fit through!!

    Also, Tom Slemen doesn't mention Speke Hall in any of his 'Haunted Liverpool books (as far as I'm aware).

    Try contacting www.ghostclub.org.uk

    They are the oldest paranormal organisation in the UK and may be able to help. Good luck!!

    Cheers Matt.

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    In the book Mysteries of The Mersey Valley, by Peter Hough and Jenny Randles, there is a small chapter on the ghost of Speke Hall. And sightings
    of a White Lady. They say many people do tell of the cradle being rocked by a unseen hand, Adelaide Watt is supposed to have seen the White Lady disappear into a wall and heard voices and footsteps in the rooms and passage ways as have many people since. A Mr P. Lawson the curator of Speke Hall if still alive, may be worth speaking to. The book may be well worth a read.
    Last edited by jimmy; 10-05-2007 at 02:20 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimmy View Post
    In the book Mysteries of The Mersey Valley, by Peter Hough and Jenny Randles, there is a small chapter on the ghost of Speke Hall. And sightings
    of a White Lady. They say many people do tell of the cradle being rocked by a unseen hand, Adelaide Watt is supposed to have seen the White Lady disappear into a wall and heard voices and footsteps in the rooms and passage ways as have many people since. A Mr P. Lawson the curator of Speke Hall if still alive, may be worth speaking to. The book may be well worth a read.
    Thanks Jimmy, I have Mysteries of The Mersey Valley next to me on my reading pile here. Which is handy. And you're right, Lawson would be great person to interview; I'll work on that.

    Cheers

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    Newbie spekeasy's Avatar
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    Default the blind caretaker and his blind dog

    Quote Originally Posted by researchwriter View Post
    You're quite right of course; everyone knows these stories but who are the actual witnesses? It's very hard to find them but, I hope, not impossible.
    the caretaker of speke hall in the fifties and sixties was blind as was his dog. it was avery old brown coloured dog. looked like an irish setter. I was only nine at the time, I went to speke hall looking for conkers as the place was full of conker trees. anyway the caretaker told me that only a blind man can really see a ghost. he said there had been offers of ten pound if you could last the night in speke hall. and although a few had taken it up . nobody had spent the full night and claimed the money. he told me that what actually scared off the people was the noise. you see he said the hall is made with wooden nails, probably he meant that everything was held together by wooden dowl instead of metal nails, anyway of a night they all contract and the noise that they make may make some people think of ghosts, he went on to say that there is a bedroom which has a very very cold atmosphere. almost he compared it to walking into a freezer. that he said was when I knew the ghost was present. as a blind man he could feel it and i do believe him.

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    I see another Liverpool Physic, Billy Roberts is in on the act now with a Liverpool ghost book. I personally think the market is saturated with this type of offering. It may be the wrong time researchwriter.
    www.inacityliving.piczo.com/

    Updated weekly with old and new pics.

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    DaisyChains
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    I see another Liverpool Physic, Billy Roberts is in on the act now with a Liverpool ghost book. I personally think the market is saturated with this type of offering. It may be the wrong time researchwriter.
    Billy Roberts had 2 books out a few years ago called Supernatural Liverpool 1 and 2.
    His new book 'Spooky Liverpool' includes some of the stories from the earlier books, which I though was a cop out.

    It wouldn't take much to better these books!

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyChains View Post
    Billy Roberts had 2 books out a few years ago called Supernatural Liverpool 1 and 2.
    His new book 'Spooky Liverpool' includes some of the stories from the earlier books, which I though was a cop out.

    It wouldn't take much to better these books!
    Enough said. I have not read the books but I can imagine.

    Chris
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    Senior Member johnreppion's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ged View Post
    I see another Liverpool Physic, Billy Roberts is in on the act now with a Liverpool ghost book. I personally think the market is saturated with this type of offering. It may be the wrong time researchwriter.
    Not my decision Ged, the company want to put a book out, I just happen to be the person who's writing it. Apparently though, the more local ghost books there are the better a new one is likely to sell as there's an established market. That's what they tell me anyway.

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    Quote Originally Posted by spekeasy View Post
    hi I grew up near the speke hall and went there nearly every day. that was in the early sixties. I knew the caretaker very well. he was blind which is strange because he had a blind dog as well. if you need more please contact me thanks . john
    Sorry spekeasy, I somehow missed this post the first time around. I'll drop you an email now.

    EDIT: make that a PM
    Last edited by johnreppion; 10-08-2007 at 07:10 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaisyChains View Post
    Billy Roberts had 2 books out a few years ago called Supernatural Liverpool 1 and 2.
    His new book 'Spooky Liverpool' includes some of the stories from the earlier books, which I though was a cop out.

    It wouldn't take much to better these books!
    I'll do my best.

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    Good luck on your book.. Spekeasys' encounters of the caretaker etc..sound like a promising lead for you..

    Sounds like it will be an interesting read...

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    Today I caught the ghost on my camera in the garden of Speke Hall.....
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version. 

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