Many visitors to the area are confused by the relationship between Wentworth Woodhouse in Wentworth and the nearby Wentworth Castle at Stainborough. The two are separate Buildings altogether.
The beautiful gardens and parkland at Wentworth Castle are the only Grade 1 listed landscape in South Yorkshire. In 1695, Thomas Wentworth expected to inherit the landed estate and vast wealth at Wentworth Woodhouse, some 7 miles to the south of Stainborough, when the 2nd Earl of Strafford died childless in 1695. Unexpectedly, however, the estate was left to Thomas Wentworth’s cousin Thomas Watson.
Although Thomas Wentworth went on to command high positions as a soldier and diplomat in the service of King William III and Queen Anne, he remained determined to re-establish his claim to the title of Earl Strafford – but to have any chance of achieving this he required a large landed estate. An opportunity arose in 1708 to purchase what was then known as Stainborough Hall and Thomas seized his chance to create an estate suitable for a man of his importance. Queen Anne duly re-created the Earldom of Strafford and Thomas became the first Earl Strafford of the second creation.
As the Queen’s ambassador to the Prussian Court in Berlin, Thomas Wentworth was familiar with the Baroque style favoured by European nobility. Between 1709 – 1715 a new Baroque wing was added to the old Stainborough Hall, giving us the magnificent East Wing of the House that overlooks the M1 valley today.
Within Wentworth Castle there is another castle – Stainborough Castle!
In 1727, Thomas began to build a mock castle on the highest point of the estate. He called this Stainborough Castle, and on its completion in 1731 he renamed the house and estate as Wentworth Castle.
In the 19th century, the Vernon-Wentworth family completed the house we see today with the addition of a west wing (towards the gardens) and also added the delicately ornate conservatory which was restored by the Trust in 2013.
There is said to be a haunting in the Castle gardens. The story goes that, Thomas Wentworth had a daughter called Lucy. She fell in love with one of the gardeners but because of the difference in their social ranking she was prevented from marrying him and she died of a broken heart. Her spirit is said to still haunt the gardens, and this avenue of lime trees, planted in the early 1920s, is named ‘Lady Lucy’s Walk’.
Check out us out on Amazon Prime when we did a ITC session here, it proved to have some interesting results with ‘Queen’ and the name ‘Anne’ coming through. There was also mentioned of an illegal abortion, could have this been what Lucy died of?
Wentworth castle itself holds some mystery to it also with many claiming to feel a presence while here. Below is an account I have found from http://www.haunted-yorkshire.co.uk/ by a Janet who had posted in the forum…..
Janet’s story in her own words……
I had always been aware of spirit but had dismissed it as my imagination and had asked them for proof prior to my visit to Wentworth Castle. It was May bank holiday and my self and my friend were there on a residential course. Our room was front facing overlooking the front entrance first floor. Went to bed at 11 and I was woken at 2am by some one tapping my face. I sat up but saw nothing. I had an intense buzzing in my ears which eventually cleared and in stereo i could hear heavy breathing in my right ear and a heart beat slowing in my other. I then heard a voice say its spirit you needed proof we are here this is your proof. All of a sudden my fear subsided and I lay back down in the bed. I couldn’t move but was aware of a strong presence around me. I was aware of my body being elevated and hands touching me particularly around my feet area. Whilst all this was going on I seemed to be looking down a kaleidoscope and saw a women dressed in duck egg blue with an ostrich feather in her hair and a Gentleman dressed in a black tuxedo with dicky bow chinking champagne glasses as if they were having a toast. There was a grand piano behind them.
I remember thinking what is going on and trying to move but was unable to do so. My friend got up to go to the loo at 2.45 and on her return to the room commented on the state of my bed half a sleep I murmured that I had experienced a nightmare and that was probably why the bed was ravelled, she then turned on the light and told me not to move and look and as God is my witness I was utterly amazed.
The sheets were tightly tucked under me and the top sheet was folded back over the bottom bedding in a perfect line like it was starched. My arms had been crossed over my chest and the sheet had been perfectly pleated around each and every toe.
I was shattered and felt like all my energy had been drained and drifted back off to a deep sleep. My friend stayed awake all night as she felt worried by the activity. I got out of bed the next day but the area where my feet had been still looked like some ones feet were there and the sheets would not lay flat. I went down to breakfast very un-nerved. But was strongly compelled to return to the room alone. Nervously I went in to the room and was aware of a multitude of energies wall to wall, though I could not see them. As I entered I said its OK I know you are there now and I will work for you if you show me how. The sheets flattened and the feet were no more. I returned home the next day and as I got in to my house the phone rang. it was my local spiritualist church offering me a place on a development course which I accepted and in 6 week I was working churches and pubs and clubs. I am now also a well-known deep trance medium though I have never sat for trance and the gift was brought to me. I feel that at Wentworth Castle the energies that reside there were used by my guides and inspirers to bring me forward as a working medium and that I actually experienced a wake. The energy in that place is amazing but not one that I am keen to meet again for some reason. I have not shared this experience up to now but I was hoping you may have some info which would either confirm my theory or tell me something about the house and other sightings/experiences there. If not I hope me sharing this with you has helped you in some way in your journey to work with and understand the other side of life.
Word of a Tunnel
For many years there was talk of a tunnel connecting Stainborough Castle to Saville Hall Farm.
Some believe it existed, some don’t, Some have even claimed to have seen it themselves.
Here is a forum post I found on http://dodworthkronicle.blogspot.co.uk/2009/11/tunnel-from-stainborough-castle-to.html. Two people on this forum retell the story of being in the tunnel at some time.
Anonymous Sunday, 12 January 2014 at 17:37:00 GMT
The tunnel is under the statue , I remember my grandma was a cleaner at Wentworth castle and I remember the opening was uncovered when they built the entrance to the cellar bar! nobody ever believes me but I saw it.
Samuel Johnson, Thursday, 27 March 2014 at 13:50:00 GMT
Thanks for your reply, and sorry for the delayed response.
You are correct in your recollection!
I well remember the ‘discovery’ of the tunnel, and who did that, and what they were doing when they discovered it.
Recently I saw the official archaeological report on what they made of it – unfortunately it is not very exciting.
Still, I think that it is linked to the story that there used to be a tunnel to Saville Hall Farm. A senior employee of the Wentworth family; Mr Petch, used to live at Saville Hall Farm, and he had a reputation for turning up unexpectedly in the walled gardens at the Castle. There was until the 1980’s a tunnel under the road just below Steeple Lodge, and from there a path or bridle way, through the Lowe Wood, then to Saville Hall Farm. I guess that Mr Petch used to travel that way, as I understand it typically early in the morning, and being unobserved and unannounced may well have surprised people by his unexpected presence.
What else did your Gran tell you? Did she e.g. say anything about the stained glass window at the bottom of the wooden stairs, anything about other tunnels, what about ghosts and spooky things, did she work there before the 1960’s classrooms were built? Did she mention anything about the other staff especially the gardeners?
So was it really used for this? Did it exist? Who knows…only those who may have known about it could tell and was there indeed some kind of spooky goings on, if it did exist?