We’re not sure whether ghosts exist or not and certainly no-one in our current team has experienced any spooky goings on at Charlecote, but there are a few stories in circulation that you might like to hear this Hallowe’en…
There are many tales of witch-craft in Warwickshire and Charlecote is included in these tales. It is said our park was the home of a particularly nasty coven of witches who would turn people into cattle if they upset them! Haunted Warwickshire author, Meg Elizabeth Atkins, wrote of their leader, Diana, who is reputed to have rode a stag through the grounds.
Sian Evans has penned a book for the National Trust all about ghosts. She interviewed people from sites across the country to try and get to the bottom of where these stories have came from.
Our tack room is included in this book. The story goes…
…Alianore Fairfax-Lucy (1894 – 1979) had a love of horses and spent much of her time, whilst living at the Malt House in Charlecote, in our tack room. The room, although currently closed for conservation work, is full of interesting bits of tack and riding equipment. When this room was first explored by the National Trust upon acquision of the property in 1979, the drawers were found to contain many bits of paper, personal documents and valuables belonging to Alianore. She clearly treasured this place as a safe-haven. She had a small grate with a fire in this room to keep warm – this is one of the things our conservation team have been looking at restoring to a working state. The room has a lovely, homely feel even today which must be attributed to her.
Also discovered in this room were blankets and hats (those wide-brimmed ones that you often see in old photographs from the early-mid 1900s). One of the hats was identifiable as Alianore’s as a photograph showed her to be wearing it. The photograph was taken of her riding her favourite pony and was on the mantlepiece.
The staff exploring the room back in the 70s, having a bit of a joke whilst working, decided to hang the hats on the antler adorning the wall. But a few days later they realised the hats had been moved back to the blanket chest they had been found inside. No-one could explain how they had got back there and everyone professed their innocence. So they put the hats back on the antler… only for them to be back in the chest again the following day! Not only that but the photograph of Alianore had also disappeared.
Charlecote is quite a tame place in terms of the supernatural, just a few hats moving about isn’t too extreme, but it does make me wonder, which of our National Trust places is the most haunted?