Calke Abbey is a run down stately home that is now owned by the National Trust in the UK. It is kept in the state that it was in when handed over to the NT and so visitors are treated to a glimpse of its former glories. It’s peeling walls and overgrown gardens paint a picture of the decadence of a former period and the harsh realities of changing family fortunes. The stately home was built on the site of a former religious house – Calke Priory – but it lasted only a few years and was eventually dissolved by Henry VIII. The estate was eventually purchased by Henry Harpur in 1622 for £5,350 and it stayed in the Harpur family until the National Trust began caring for it in 1985.
The son of Sir Harry Harpur, 6th Baronet, and Lady Frances Greville of Warwick Castle, was known as the ‘isolated baronet’. Sir Henry Harpur became the 7th Baronet in 1789. He withdrew from society, a characteristic which continued in the family for the next 200 years, and this rather eccentric and solitary nature has shaped the house you can still see today.
Sir Vauncey Harpur-Crewe, 10th Baronet, was little seen outside the grounds of Calke Abbey. Much like his ancestors he preferred isolation. He was kind to his workers, but lacked in manners when it came to his own family. His passion was for collecting stuffed animals and when he died in 1924, there were several hundred specimens in the house. By the time the NT took over the house, many of its rooms had been abandoned for decades and they have been left that way.
Visitors to the Abbey have reported a strange atmosphere of sadness and foreboding and many have reported being scared by the sounds of a tin whistle. One account posted to Reddit describes the whistle sound and the creepy underground tunnels as follows;
Was in with my mum who can be quite sceptical and there’s a part that they have let run down on purpose. It was quiet so no one else was there in that part of the building and me and me mum heard the sound of someone whistling on a tin whistle type thing. There are some old kitchens near the end of the building and I was terrified and felt really weird to the point where i clutched onto my mum. There are tunnels there that are very creepy and we found out later monks were buried in the courtyard next to them. I was very creeped out and walked very fast through them and looked back to see a black figure stood in a pool of light, which my mum saw too. Very creepy.
According to the UK Haunted Locations Database, there are many ghosts reported in this old house, including a hooded monk in the stable block, an elderly man in a long flowing coat and footsteps in The Old Brewhouse, and poltergeist-like activity (including chairs being put on tables and people being slapped and pinched) in the Chop House. A figure has also been observed in the lobby, footsteps, an old lady sitting and watching visitors (possibly Nanny Pearce, who was kept on well after her duties with the house’s children had ceased) and a lady in period dress who was mistaken for an actress.
Very creepy place and well worth a visit…
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