Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Black Monk of Rufford Abbey, Nottinghamshire

The tumbling ruins of Rufford have been roofless for less than a century. It was founded as a Cistercian monastery in the 12th century, becoming a private home after the dissolution of the monasteries by King Henry VIII in the 1540s.

Over the centuries the Abbey was changed, altered and rebuilt numerous times so that very little of the original structure remains. Then, in the 1930s, it fell into disrepair and neglect. Today only part of the once luxurious home remains intact, housing a craft centre, restaurant and various exhibits. The rest is empty and roofless, though the surrounding 500 acre park is much used by local families, dog walkers and joggers. And with reason, for this is one of the finest parks in Nottinghamshire.

The Abbey is now run by Nottinghamshire County Council and makes quite a feature of its hauntings. Ghost Hunter Dinners are held which provide a hearty meal followed by a hunt for the site’s spectres with spiritual equipment.

Perhaps the most active ghost is the Black Friar. This phantom is truly terrifying. He will walk up to witnesses, his cowl pulled down to hide his  face, but on getting close will lift his head to flick back the cowl to reveal a grinning skull. On 3 December 1901 an Edwinstowe man visiting Rufford saw the ghostly monk and collapsed in fright, he died soon after. 


This is an extract from Haunted Places of Nottinghamshire by Rupert Matthews
 

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