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History and haunted happenings at Brooksby Hall
07/01/2010
Brooksby Hall is running ghosts and ghouls tours for those with an interest in history and haunted happenings. Here, guide Lisa Craddock, looks at the former hunting lodge's fascinating past.

Brooksby Hall is a 16th Century hunting lodge set in the medieval village of Brooksby. The village has long since gone, but the hall's turbulent history has left its ghostly footprints.

The hall is set in an 850-acre estate and in the late 18th and early 19th centuries many famous names owned or leased the hall as they followed the famous Leicestershire hunts.

Many famous and influential people have lived at the hall. The Villiers family lived at the hall from 1235 to 1711 - almost 500 years.

Descendents from the Villiers family include an illustrious list of past Prime Ministers, Lord Avon, Pitt the Younger and Elder, Lord John Russell, George Grevill, the Dukes of Grafton and Portland and Sir Winston Churchill.

The Queen, Queen Mother and the late Princess of Wales and the Spencer family, can all trace their ancestry back to the Villiers family.

The hall has changed hands many times and has had visits from the great and good, including Lord Cardigan of the Charge of the Light Brigade, the original Barclay of Barclays Bank, and Lady Sarah Wilson, aunt of Sir Winston Churchill, as well as Admiral Beatty of Brooksby and The North Sea.

The hall itself has seen its fair share of murder and intrigue all of which has led to many reports of ghostly happenings and apparitions.

Staff and visitors have seen the lady in grey who walks the corridors, have heard footsteps and strange knocking sounds and each year it is said that on midnight on December 21, the longest night of the year, a coach and horses has been heard galloping down the road.

There have been incidents of people hearing a baby crying in parts of the Old Hall and during previous renovations a headless skeleton of a woman carrying the skeleton of a baby were discovered in a hidden room.
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