The Peak town of Penistone on the South Yorkshire/Derbyshire border took its name from 'the ton on the pen', meaning 'town on the hilltop'. Held by the Saxon Ailric both before and after the Conquest, Penistone passed into the hands of his son on his death. Catling-Hall was built in the 16th century, taking its name from the family who resided there.
Although little is known of them, their name can be seen on early charters from the Penistone area. Catling-Hall later became a home for the Sotwells, who at one time included the Vicar of Penistone among their number. At some point in the last hundred years, its name altered to Cathill Hall. Frank Henry Gaunt was once a familiar figure outside Cathill Hall. He would lay food down to encourage the foxes, so that the local hunt had an abundance of quarry on its seasonal outings. Donald Nutbrown was a small boy at the time, and would often help Mr Gaunt in his work.
They were outside the Hall one afternoon, when a gentleman in Edwardian dress appeared from the direction of Gunthwaite Hall and walked past them both in the direction of Penistone. He offered no greeting and appeared not to have noticed either of them, although Donald was curious as to his clothing and asked Mr Gaunt who the gentleman was. Mr Gaunt replied that the figure appeared only at certain times each year and walked the same route - he was not a living person, but a ghost! His identity had been lost with the passage of time, but Mr Gaunt was used to his appearances and felt no fear.
At one time, the old public footpath which ran past Cathill Hall was used in the transportation of prisoners going from the feared Halifax Gaol to the Gaol at Sheffield. Cathill Hall itself was a stop-off point, and was equipped with secure holding places for the criminals while their guards rested inside. Conditions for transporting prisoners were notoriously bad in the last century, and it is likely that many died on the trail as they made the long and treacherous journey in all weather conditions. Frank Henry Gaunt told Donald Nutbrown that at certain times, he had heard the sounds of ghostly rattling chains carried on the wind over the moors. A drowning at Downe Court | Beavor | Bexley | Bradford | Downe Court | England | England | England | Hall place | Hardwick Hall | Haworth | Ireland | Lancashire | Norfolk | Pontefract Town Hall | Rotherham | Rotherham | Salford | Scotland | Sheffield | West End | White Lady |
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