Friday, 4 May 2012

A Ghostly Soldier in Herefordshire

Herefordshire has seen more than its fair share of fighting and warfare over the years. Lying as it does on the borders between England and Wales it has long been a focus for raiding and invasion. Indeed the very name “Hereford” means “the ford of the army” in old English. The city of Hereford was put under serious siege no less than four times from 1055 to 1645. It is no wonder that war has left its mark so clearly in the spectral side of Herefordshire.

That said, one of the more active of the warlike shades to frequent the county is of fairly modern origin. Three miles north of Leominster stands Berrington Hall. This magnificent house was built by Henry Holland for Thomas Harley in 1781. The grounds were landscaped by Capability Brown and include a famous 14 acre lake.

During the Second World War the house was taken over by the army as a hospital for men invalided home from the front. It is to this period in its history that the ghost belongs. The ghost is that of an infantryman in uniform, but without helmet or rifle. He is seen pottering about quietly and generally does little to draw attention to himself. It is presumed that the ghost is that of a soldier who died here of his wounds, but his precise identity is unknown.

Berrington Hall is now owned by the National Trust which has lovingly restored the house and grounds to their original 1780s appearance. No amount of work has got rid of the ghost, however, who is still reported from time to time.

from HAUNTED HEREFORDSHIRE by Rupert Matthews. Buy your copy HERE

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