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1518 in Leeds, United Kingdom

Ghosts of Temple Newsam

Story - told by Philip Dainton

A stately Tudor-Jacobean mansion, Temple Newsam House sits in a picturesque garden situated on the outskirts of Leeds. Famous as the birth place of Lord Darnley, Queen Mary of Scots husband, the house is enriched with over 500 years of history.

The country mansion was built in 1518, the stunning landscaped grounds were created by Capability Brown. After extensive restoration, you can now visit the mansion and experience the history of the house firsthand through art forms including digital, music, theatre and fine art. This truly magnificent house is filled with treasures from the past including furniture, ceramics, silver, wallpaper and textiles.

Set in 1500 acres of glorious parkland, over the years there have been many influences to the house including fires, changes in ownership and renovations. As you trail through the wonderfully furnished rooms, and discover the history from the past, you may get the feeling that someone is peering over your shoulder.
It may be young Mary Ingram in search of her pearl necklace. Sir Arthur’s granddaughter was only fourteen years old when returning by carriage from a party she was ambushed by a gang of highwaymen.

They tore Mary’s necklace from her throat, the pearls had been a christening present from her grandfather.

Distraught and in a state of collapse, she was taken back to Temple Newsam and had no recollection of the robbery when she awoke the next day. Convinced that she has lost them, Mary unpicked cushions and scratched up floorboards in search of her necklace.
She wouldn’t sleep and refused to eat, and sadly passed away two weeks later. Legend has it Mary still searches the house frantically for her grandfather’s gift, people have reported hearing unexplained creaking and scratching noises, and feeling sudden blasts of cold air.

Muffled screams have also been heard, but these have been said to come from the beautiful nursemaid by the name of Phoebe Gray. One hot and humid night in 1704, the house was full of merry faces celebrating Britain’s victory at the Battle of Blenheim. Bonfires roared, hogs were roasting and people were dancing.

William Collinson, an ugly, foul-mannered gregarious drunk servant had unfortunately taken a liking to young Phoebe, uncomfortable with his attention, she rejected his advances. As the night wore on, William got drunker and angrier- he knew what he wanted. As the fireworks exploded over the skies, William found his way into the house and waited for her to carry out her work duties.
Last thing at night, Phoebe would take Nanny Backhouse her hot drink. This night was no different, except this time William was waiting for her lurking in the dark, and as she passed, he pounced. Terrified and alarmed, Phoebe struggled and screamed, trying to get out of his grip. William used his strength to contain her but in his drunken state, he forgot his own strength.
The sixteen year old girl went limp in his arms, she was no longer screaming as she slipped to the floor. The servant panicked, and dragged her lifeless body down the stairs to the cellar below. He lifted the cover of the well down there and threw her body in, before running away.

Everyone thought William and Phoebe had eloped until her body was discovered in the cellar well. Two servants went off in search of William, and found him in a nearby inn steaming drunk. He was charged with Phoebe Gray’s murder and sentenced to be hanged. Rumour has it people have reported hearing thumping noises, the sound of a body being dragged down the back stairs.

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