Graded locations

Listed buildings are graded in each location in this blog. Eg. Grade I, II* II of grade I is of most importance. Grade A relates to Scotland. See BLB

Saturday, 20 July 2019

Shibden Hall, Halifax, West Yorkshire

Bankfield Museum, Halifax, free admisson

Name: Shibden Hall Museum
Locality: Shibden Hall Road, Halifax, Calderdale HX3 9XY
Built: 16th century
Owner: Calderdale council
Grade II*

Anne Lister, 1791-1840, a Yorkshire landowner, industrialist, traveller and diarist. She was a lesbian, who, despite needing to keep her orientation secret from society at large, in private defied the conventions of her times by living with her female lover.

Anne kept a detailed account of her life, her loves and her emotions in a fascinating and painfully honest 4,000,000-word journal. A sizeable portion was written in code, and the recent deciphering of the diaries provides an astonishing insight into the life of the woman who has been called Britain's first modern lesbian.

After following Captain Slow in the car for what seemed like an eternity, we eventually arrived at our destination.  Shibden Hall in Halifax, West Yorkshire a 600 year old Tudor house. The hall was built in 1420 but its location goes much further back in time.  I spent the majority of my time alone with tripod and camera in hand set on automatic timer and left to wander both the grounds and the house as Richard went off with the dog, bird spotting Kingfishers at the halls reed pond.

Admiring the beauty of the house and its grounds in the autumn season, I took a couple of high dynamic photographs then ventured into the house. I was told that I had timed my arrival well, as a large and very noisy school party milled around the outside gate, so thanks to Captain Slow it was well orchestrated.

Walking through the kitchen I saw three ladies wearing period clothing, I approached a lady in a black dress and asked if I could take a photo of her, which she kindly agreed and posed for me by the fire in the main room. Funnily enough I can't find the photo of her anywhere, maybe she was the ghost? Or maybe I lost my SD card! ;)

The house felt warm and comfortable, lived in in-fact.  After a brief walk around downstairs I went up on to the mezzanine level and looked down, it was a wonderful place and I had it all to myself! Unable to contain my excitement no longer and feeling like a child in a sweet shop, I walked along the first floor corridor in search of the ‘Red Room’ where the spirit of Anne Walker is said to reside. Not quite red, but more of a dirty brown colour, I found the room.

The story goes that Anne Walker who Anne Lister left Shibden hall to after her death in Russia of a fever, was neurotic, paranoid and surrounded by rotting food, Anne complained that gangs of men were outside her window and she constantly complained that they were out to get her with guns, whether or not there were men lurking in the shadows outside her window remains to be seen, but she was confined in Dr Belcombe's asylum.

I stood for a while in the red room, asking out to any who were interested, asking patiently into the quiet, listening, waiting………..nothing.  I entered each room repeating the process, again, nothing.  I accepted at this point that nothing  remotely paranormal was going to  happen whilst I was there.

As for the alleged paranormal activity, people have often smelled tobacco and lavender , these seem to be the most common olfactory manifestations reported.  Staff have seen odd things out of the corner of their eyes, a black cloaked shape was seen by an attendant back in 2007 as he was opening a gate one morning and frightened him badly.  Also groans, footsteps, creaking noises and voices are occasionally heard in the building. The hall is very creaky though as you walk around.

As I was leaving I was reminded to pay the 17th century barn a visit, I am glad I did, it was like stepping back in time seeing all the old vehicles, which consisted of horse drawn carriages, a rickshaw, early bicycle, Romany carriage  and a horse drawn hearse!

To me the hall had a good feeling about it, I’m still digging for 600 years worth of paranormal history.

I hope that one day I may get the chance to wander around the hall in the dead of night!

If that's whetted your appetite, read more about Shibden Halls history, ghosts and legends go and visit Kai Roberts blog here