Watch my explore!

Located not far from myself, I was suprised I haven’t seen this location before, but a little digging into sites to explore, gives you all the ammo you need to keep what you do fresh!.

Sat on a hill overlooking Derbyshire and the bolsover valley is the beautiful derelict house Scardale Hall. Scardale Hall in its day would have been one of the finest houses in Derbyshire.

The original Hall formed part of a Saxon estate owned by Wulfric Spott, who died in 1002 and left the estate to Burton-on-Trent Abbey. In the Domesday Book the estate was owned by Roger de Poitou. In 1225 the Lordship of Sutton-in-the-Dale had been given by King Henry III to Peter de Hareston, but by 1401 it had been purchased by John Leke of Gotham.

Richard Arkwright Junior (1755-1843) bought Sutton Scarsdale Hall in 1824. He was the son of Sir Richard Arkwright who invented the spinning jenny and had a major involvement in the cotton industry. Richard had his father’s business acumen and prospered in cotton. When he was about 25 he bought the Manchester mill in Millers’ Lane and entered into partnership with the Simpson brothers.

In 1780 he married Mary Simpson and over the next two decades the couple had eleven children, six boys and five girls. When Richard’s father died in 1892 he inherited a large part of his estate, and at this point he decided to dispose of most of his cotton mill interests and concentrate on property and banking. In this sphere he amassed a very large fortune and when he died in 1843 he was said to be the richest commoner in England.

After his death his son Robert Arkwright (1783-1859) inherited Sutton Scarsdale Hall. In 1805 much to his family’s dismay Robert married the actress Frances Crawford Kemble (see picture at left), part of the famous theatrical family. His elder brother Richard wrote a letter to their father shortly after the marriage expressing his hope that the marriage was not legal and saying that Robert will “soon repent of not following the advice of you and Mother”. However the family did not need to worry about Robert’s choice of wife as Frances became a charming hostess and soon made friends in the aristocracy. She was a gifted writer of music and many of her songs are still available today. Her aunt was the famous actress Sarah Siddons and she often dined with Robert’s parents when they were in London.

When Robert died in 1859 Sutton Scarsdale Hall was inherited by his son, the Reverend Godfrey Harry Arkwright. Godfrey was born in 1814 and educated at Eton and Trinity. He was married twice, first to Frances Rafela Fitzherbert who died in 1856 and then to Marian Hilary Adelaide Pellew.He had three children to each wife, four boys and two girls. His eldest son was Francis Arkwright and it was he who inherited Sutton Scardale when his father Godfrey died in 1866.

Francis Arkwright was born in 1846 and was educated at Eton. In 1868 he married Louisa Milbank who was the daughter of Mr Henry Milbank and Lady Margaret Milbank. Unfortunately his wife died in 1873. They had only one daughter. He later married Evelyn who was the daughter of William, 3rd Viscount of Sidmouth but they had no children.

In 1874 Francis became a Member of Parliament a position he held until 1880. In 1882 he migrated to New Zealand and about this time he left Sutton Scarsdale Hall in the care of his cousin William Arkwright. William inherited the property when Francis died in 1915 as Francis had no male heir.

William Arkwright was born in 1857. His father was Major William Arkwright and his mother was Fanny Susan Thornewill. In 1884 he married Agnes Mary Somers Cocks who was the daughter of the Hon. John James Thomas Somers Cocks. William was very interested in breeding dogs and wrote a book titled “The Pointer and His Predecessors”.

In 1919 William auctioned Sutton Scarsdale Hall with the rest of the Estate.

After many years of neglect, in November 1919 the estate was bought by a group of local businessmen who asset-stripped the house; this went as far as removing the roof in 1920. Some parts of the building were shipped to the USA, where one room’s oak panelling was bought by newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst, who planned to use it at Hearst Castle.

In 1946, the estate was bought by Sir Osbert Sitwell of Renishaw Hall, with the intention of preserving the remaining shell as a ruin. Scarsdale Hall is now in the care of English Heritage.

The hall has been used for numberous filmsets over the years, one of them films being batman vs superman.


There are stories that its owner Sir Nicholas Leake is one of the ghosts.

The story goes that Nicholas Leake, the 4th and last Earl of Scarsdale, left for the Crusades, took out his sword and split his wedding ring in half.

He gave half to his wife and kept the other half as good luck.

He was captured and spent many years in a prison. One day, he was dreaming of home and he was transported through the air by rather mysterious gust of wind and landed in the porch at the church of the hall.

He went to the doors of his house but no one recognised him. He demanded to be let in but they refused him on the ground that he was just a beggar or someone trying to get in.

At that point he would have been dressed in rags and had long untidy hair and probably a beard.

He took out his half of his wedding ring and told the servants to pass it onto his wife.

She put the two pieces together and realised her husband had returned home.

Witnesses have reported a grey figure wandering the graveyard towards the church, some believe this to be wife of Nicholas Leake.

Nicholas has also been thought to haunt the porch at the church hall and to wander the grounds which may be why people often feel they may have been followed or that someone could be lurking in the corners.

It is also said that when the King was executed, Sir Francis had his own grave dug at Sutton Scarsdale and every friday, he dressed in a sackcloth and lay in his own grave in commemoration of the King

The celler…

Even though it is now caged so nobody can fully enter the celler. It still has a few spooky tales to tell.

There have been many reports of footsteps, strong smell of tobacco , whispering, a floating dismembered arm indicating to those who witness it to follow down into the cellar.

Ghost captured?

Website paranormalinvestigators reorted that they once found a postcard at an auction of Scardale Hall, they noticed a ghostly figure stood within the postcard and even though they do put forward that it was taken 100 years ago or more it could be nothing more than motion blur….the postcard still intrguied them.

Here are some older pictures which shows what the hall looked like inside before it’s decline.

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