There is a story from Elizabethan times, when the Manor House, the seat of the Darrell family, was occupied by 'Wicked' Will Darrell, who murdered a newly born child in 1575. In a deathbed confession, a midwife told a story about how she was once asked on a dark night, to go in secret to a woman who was about to give birth, and was induced to do so by a large sum of money.
The midwife was blindfolded and taken to a house that was not known to her. The blindfold was removed and the child safely delivered only to be snatched from her by a man who quickly threw it into the fire and crushed it under his boot until it was dead. The poor midwife was terrified but managed to cut a piece of fabric from the bed hangings, and counted the number of stairs she was led down, blindfolded again, before being taken home and sworn to secrecy.
Her confession led to Darrell being suspected and he was arrested when the piece of fabric was found to match a hole in the bed curtains surrounding a bed at Littlecote. The number of stairs coincided with those leading to a bedroom in the house. Darrell was tried but acquitted, and the house was made over to the judge who presided at his trial. Darrell died in 1589 when out hunting.
It is said that as he approached a spot on his estate, known to this day as 'Darrell's Stile,' the ghost of the infant appeared in front of him and startled his horse, which shied and threw him, breaking his neck. To this day horses still shy away from the spot where he died.
The ghost of the baby's mother has been seen in the house on many occasions, sometimes carrying a child, and terrible screams have been heard in the early hours of the morning, from the room where the child is said to have been murdered. Darrell had many mistresses - his own sister was one, and the identity of the mother of the child has never been discovered. He himself appears in the house and where his apparition is seen, woodwork on the floors rots away no matter how often it is repaired. Driffield, Yorkshire | Aberdeen, Scotland | Arbroath, Scotland | Basildon, Essex | Blairgowrie | Cerro del vale | Edinburgh | Fife, Scotland | Ghost in Dumfries | Ghost in Perhshire | Harrises | Hereford, England | Hertfordshire, England | Killiecrankie, Scotland | London, England | South Lanarkshire | York |
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