I cant believe after all these years writing, I’ve never wrote about my favourite local place to visit and its ghost stories, I have included some pictures from my visit to the house from 2015 during Christmas Time, its beautiful.
Growing up as a teenager in Nottingham, with a interest in all things spooky even from a young age, it was not out of the orginally to have a ride out to Newstead Abbey and drive through the grounds to see if you could see the residents ghosts who are said to haunt here at night. I can say that for all these times I can remember, we didn’t see anything and ended up leaving the grounds scared, not due to seeing anything, but due to retelling the ghastly tales we had heard about the place.
This is now gated off at night and with it being private land you can no longer venture on. Sadly in 2005, a walker found a body of a young women who had been cruelly murdered, rolled up and left in the lake located near the waterfall.
The Abbey was first used as a priory in the 1700s for the canons of the Order of St. Augustine or as they were known the Black Canons.
In 1440 Sir John Bryon acquired the property and turned it into a mansion. For 300 years the Byron Family lived at Newstead. According to an old superstition, people become cursed and have bad luck if a religious home is then used for a personal or private residence.
Several generations of the Byron Family who lived at Newstead did experience bad luck and declining fortunes.
By the time the last Lord Byron, the famous Romantic poet, lived at Newstead Abbey it was in bad shape. When he inherited the estate, his mother was too poor to live on the property and his father who was known as “Devil Byron” was forced to live in the mansion’s scullery–it being the only room in the home that had a roof that didn’t leak.
In 1818 Lord Byron sold the property to a friend, Thomas Wildman. The curse continued because the Wildman family experienced bad luck while living at Newstead.
Several more families that owned the property after this were also plagued by bad luck.
The Ghost Stories
The Rose lady ghost is said to haunt the foot of the staircase, people often report smelling the sweet scent of roses while stood in this area.
The ghost of the white lady has been reported being seen in the gardens both day and night. She is believed to be a young lady who died after being run over by a cart in the 13th century.
In the nursery those that have worked in the Abbey get a sense of children running and on one occasion a tablecloth came off the table and was found folded on the floor after the visitor had made a brief exit from the room.
Newstead Abbey’s most talked about ghost is that of a tall, dark monk called the “Goblin Friar.” This spirit is considered a harbinger. It would only appear to heads of the Byron family just before something terrible or unhappy happened.
This ghost appeared to Lord Byron the poet just before he married Anne Milbanke. This marriage was a disaster that lasted for only one year. Lord Byron wrote about his encounter with the Goblin Friar in a poem he wrote entitled, Don Juan.
Byron spotted yet another ghost in one of the Abbey’s bedchambers. He was sleeping in a room called the Rook Cell when he was startled out of a sound sleep by the sensation that something had entered the bed with him.
As he sat up, he spotted a featureless, dark mass that had glowing red eyes. He watched as this form rolled off his bed and disappeared as it hit the floor.
Yet on another occasion he saw a mysterious white vapor rising from the floor, which vanished without a trace.
Byron’s pet dog, a Newfoundland by the name of Boatswain also haunts Newstead. One of Lord Byron’s last wishes was to be buried with his beloved pet near the altar in the Abbey.
Boatswain was buried there, but when Byron died in 1824, his last wish was ignored because he was not buried in the Abbey. It is stated that Boatswain’s ghost is seen wandering the property because he is looking for his master.
Legends of the Abbey
One legend connected to Newstead is about the rooks – cousins to the American crow – that stay on the property. It is stated that these birds contain the souls of the Black Monks that once lived at the Abbey. The American author Washington Irving observed this phenomenon while staying at Newstead. He saw these rooks all leaving in the morning to search for food–he then saw them return in the evenings, en mass. These birds did this Monday-Saturday, but he was told that on Sundays they never left Newstead’s grounds. The belief that these rooks are the former monks is so strong that the hunting and shooting of them is strictly prohibited. I had seen many post comments in forums stating they have heard chants coming from the abbey when nobody else has been around.