Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hauntings: Newstead Abbey


Newstead Abbey (UK)

Newstead Abbey was originally built in the 12th century as a priory for Augustine monks. In the 1530s, King Henry VIII broke with the Catholic church and the monks were kicked out. The priory was bought in 1540 by Sir John Byron—an ancestor of Lord Byron, the famous poet—and that began the first of 300 years of Byrons in Newstead Abbey.  
 
The Curse  According to an old superstition, people become cursed and have bad luck if a religious home is used as a private residence.  Several generations of the Byron family experienced bad luck and declining fortunes. By the time the last Lord Byron—the famous poet—lived at the abbey, it was in decrepit shape. Byron was forced to sell the property, and Thomas Wildman bought it. The curse affected the Wildman family too, and several more families that owned the property in later years were also plagued by bad luck. 

Along with the curse, ghosts haunt the abbey.

The “White Lady” ghost Sophia Hyett, a great fan of Byron’s poetry, lived near the Abbey.  The Wildman family gave her permission to roam their gardens whenever she liked.  Even after her death, people have reported seeing Sophia’s ghost, and she’s always dressed in white.

The Goblin Friar or the Black Friar This spirit presages doom.  He only appeared to heads of the Byron family just before something bad happened.  On the day Lord Byron married Anne Milbanke, he saw the Friar’s ghost.  The marriage turned out to be a disaster that lasted for only one year.  Lord Byron wrote about his encounter with the Goblin Friar in the poem “Don Juan.”

Boatswain’s ghost Lord Byron had a pet dog, a Newfoundland called Boatswain.  When the dog died, he was buried at Newstead, and one of Byron’s last wishes was to be buried with his beloved pet.  However, when Byron died in 1824, he was buried at the famous and prestigious Westminster Abbey.  It’s said that the ghost of the big Newfoundland dog wanders Newstead, looking for his master.

The “Rose Lady” This ghost is often seen at the bottom of staircase and is always accompanied by the scent of roses that lingers after she disappearsOne notable appearance she made was in front of a group of tourists.  The tourists were frightened, and the staff believe this was done as a protest by the Rose Lady because tour leaders hadn’t included her story in the tour.  Now, she's always mentioned, and she’s been seen less often.

The Legend of the Rooks Rooks (crows) live on the property by the hundreds.  It’s believed they're the souls of the monks who once lived at the abbey.  American author Washington Irving stayed there and reported he saw all the rooks leaving in the mornings to search for food and then returning every nightfall.  They did this every day, Monday through Saturday
except Sundays, when they remained roosting in their nests as if it's their "day of rest."  The locals are so sure the rooks are the former monks that hunting or shooting them is forbidden.




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32 comments:

Andrew Leon said...

No wonder Byron had such a pessimistic outlook.

Sophie Duncan said...

That is a fair collection of ghosts - I feel sorry for Boatswain, poor boy waiting for his master. I like the fact the Rose Lady got testy when she was forgotten - good for her! ;P
Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - A to Z Ghosts
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Leslie S. Rose said...

I am in love with the rendering. What a cast of ghostly characters.

Kate Larkindale said...

All these places seem to have so many ghosts. Do they like to socialize, d'ya think? What would you call a gathering of ghosts? A haunt?

Winter Moon said...

Oddly enough, someone just commented on my post for today and wrote this there....

But, first on earth, a vampire sent,
Thy corpse shall from it's tomb be rent,
Then ghastly haunt thy native place,
And suck the blood of all thy race.
(Lord Byron)

After replying to my comments, I came to visit your post.

I love the Rook theory....it puts me in mind of Bellman and Black.

Loving these creepy posts :)

Mina Menon said...

thts quite a few generations the bad luck continued to haunt huh...

Natalie Aguirre said...

Wow! This place has such an interesting history. Ghosts and bad luck, yikes.

Medeia Sharif said...

A lot of history here. It doesn't look too creepy in that pic.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Even the birds are haunted. I wonder who lives there now?

Emma Adams said...

I kind of want to visit this place. :P There's certainly a lot of history! I find it interesting to learn who the ghosts actually were.

Ms Misantropia said...

A ghost that smells of roses - I like that!

L.G. Smith said...

That's a high density of ghosts for one property. Half of them Byron probably hallucinated while high on, um, poetry. :)

Al Diaz said...

The place looks nice, though. Or maybe because it is a painting. Poor doggy, looking for its master.

messymimi said...

Any time you kick men of the cloth out of a place, you've probably got to expect a bit of a backlash...

Stephen Hayes said...

England is so much older than the USA and they've had so many more centuries to imagine these hauntings. I still find this all very interesting.

Bish Denham said...

I just read about Boatswain in another blogger's post! Bryon did love that dog. It's sad his last wishes were not followed through.

D Biswas said...

I'm loving these haunted stories, Lexa. Keep 'em coming!

Damyanti, Co-host A to Z Challenge April 2014, My Latest post

Twitter: @AprilA2Z
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Robin said...

Even if I had the money, I wouldn't buy that property. Don't need the bad luck.

I feel sorry for the dog looking for his master.

And that bit about the crows resting on Sundays.... very odd, indeed.

Jennifer Hawes said...

The rooks/crows fascinate me. I've incorporated them into my WIP. Crows get "dog-sized" in the Midwest in the fall:)

Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

Sophia took the celebrity groupie thing a little too far. I guess she is still waiting for an autographed poetry book.

cleemckenzie said...

Seems someone should give Lord Byron his last wish and give that dog a rest. Love ghostly stories and these are among the best you've shared so far.

Julie Flanders said...

Ooh the crows as monks is such a great story. Love it. I feel sorry for Boatswain, poor sweetie.

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What a beautiful building, even though it's haunted. I remember studying Don Juan in college. A good reason to check the background of a house before purchasing it to make sure there are no ghostly residents still there. :)

Lara Lacombe said...

I didn't know there was a curse associated with living in a former religious building... interesting! Gives me a story idea :)

Michelle Wallace said...

The Rose Lady proves that even ghosts want a share of the limelight, in the afterlife... at least she left a pleasant aroma...
You're really on a roll with these stories Lexa!
Writer In Transit

Editors At Work said...

The building looks beautiful, unbelievable that it is haunted.

Nas

klahanie said...

Hey Lexa,

I have been there. A very haunting place, for sure. Although, I didn't see any ghosts.

Gary

S.K. Anthony said...

Wow about the curse! And so funny that the Rooks have a "day of rest."

e.a.s. demers said...

Aw, how sad that Lord Byron and his dog couldn't be together :-(

Jocelyn Rish said...

I hadn't heard about the superstition of bad luck befalling those who used a religious home as a private residence, but if I was in charge of a religion, I would certainly get that rumor out there.

And poor Boatswain - as a dog lover, that ghost story gets to me more than any of the others.

Kim Graff said...

I love the ghost stories about "color" ladys. White Ladies, Black Ladies, Red Ladies, Rose Ladies. They are all so creepy.

Lori L MacLaughlin said...

Interesting ghost stories! I'm not sure if I'd want to visit that place or not. Thanks for visiting and for the follow!

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