I’ve been sat on finishing this blog for a while about two years but admittedly have had a break from writing. Big thanks to a certain individual for encouraging me to write again…you know who you are.
Over a year ago I spoke with a historian, Penny G Morgan, and took her opinion on this haunting on board and have since been back again, yet the second time was much quieter…
Being from Nottingham, I have often been asked if I had been to Ollerton Hall by those who know of it and when I have replied with ‘No’, I’ve been told ‘you should its haunted you know!’
So, when I heard that it was open, I could not deny myself the chance to at least go and have a look.
On our first visit I could not find any hauntings associated to the hall. However, what I did find in forums is detailed accounts from explorers who have reported having ‘Paranormal Experiences’ whilst exploring the building.
One account I read was of a woman, who stated that she had ventured into the hidden chapel area and felt like someone was following her around, she stated it was male and was extremely intimidated and when she reached the top, felt as if something was pushing her out the window.
The secret chapel is assumed to have been a place of worship for the Catholic Markham family who lived in Protestant England.
Since, paranormal database has reports on their website detailing that a phantom girl, a rough looking man, a black figure with red glowing eyes is reported here but it seems they also struggled to find actual sightings of this in history. They also detail that devil worship has also been practiced here but I assume this report could be since its been in it’s derelict state.
Our first visit here was somewhat interesting. I had felt this male on the stairs, I felt very intimidated by him and for the first time on any paranormal investigation, I had a panic attack and refused to go any further up the stairs. I was eager to leave the hall as I felt we were just not wanted there and felt if we stayed any longer we could have actually been nearly thrown out the window ourselves. Sounds very extreme, but those of you who personally know myself, know this just is not like me.
The evening proved to provide some very interesting evidence with multiple hits on the music box we had situated at the top of the stairs…check out the clip below:
I was determined to find out who this individual must be – I knew somewhere there must be old documentation of him doing something to someone.
So, I called upon Gina Marshall to have a further look into it and I am so glad she did because what she found was very interesting.
She sourced a reference from a book that pointed to Ollerton Hall being haunted. This book was not available online so I had to purchase it.
The book written by David Haslam titled ‘Ghosts and Legends of Nottinghamshire’ provided details that gave us confirmation that the ghost that is said to linger within the hall walls was indeed violent.
Haslam wrote that Ollerton Hall was built around 1640 by Thomas Markham. A previous manor house was pulled down to build the hall that exists today and it was classed as being one of the finest houses in Nottinghamshire.
The hall has been in a abandoned state for over 50 years. It was previously owned by the coal board providing accommodation for workers from nearby pits and their families.
It has then been brought for numerous projects such as The Sue Ryder Foundation – a care and bereavement support charity – was set to build a care home in the building in 1990. But this fell through by 2003.
Pullan Homes then planned to turn it into luxury apartments in 2008 but plans was stopped.
It would seem that the building has potential for a future, however I have to question if the possible ghosts residing inside have some kind of response to those who try to save the building….and stop the project in the process.
I’ve had people also message me to inform me that during the 1970s it was also a refuge for single mothers but I could not find any evidence to support this but those who claim this to be true are quite presistent it was this building.
Haslam states that the hall is haunted by Thomas Markham also known as Colonel Markham. Colonel Markham died in the battle of Gainsborough and there is many stories surrounding his death.
It is thought that his body would have been brought back to the hall as traditionally this is what would have been done. He was laid out in a empty chamber on the north side of hall near a oddly shaped window. This area would have been reached by some wooden stairs which ran into the kitchen.
Now, I’m assuming this would have been the hidden chapel and the area I did not want to climb the wooden stairs to get too.
Haslam continues to detail how Thomas spirit did not rest easy and that servants of the house was regularly disturbed by the heavy tread of footsteps on the back stairs and his spirit was not just confined to the hall but to nearby roads too.
Haslam reports that the story of Thomas ghost appeared in the Retford and Gainsborough times on the 27th of March 1903. At the time builders were asked to build a chamber. One particular day as they were working they reported that from nowhere a beam was thrown at them and a unknown force came charging at them and pushed them into a pit. After gathering themselves the men stood up and was terrified to see standing before them – the ghost of Colonel Markham. The experience changed the men so much that one became a committed church goer and the other a devout spiritualist.
This was not the only attack alleged to have occurred by the spirit of Thomas. Another report in the paper details how a man had a fight with the entity which left him unconscious and two other men reported they had been thrown to the ground by him and left battered and bruised.
The most interesting occurrence haslam details is of a police officer. The police officer claimed to have met the spectre on a road close by. The Spirit of Thomas beckoned him and he followed which led him straight into the river which he almost drowned. The police officer came across Thomas again later that evening and attempted to arrest him however the police officer was thrown and was left battered and bruised. It is claimed that the police officer died shortly after following the traumatic experience.
So was I right to feel we needed to leave quick? I think so, given some of the old accounts and i was secretly pleased I had picked up on his violent behavior so early on.
However, after speaking to historian Penny G Morgan she feels the wrong man is being blamed! She stated how Thomas Markham was not a violent man when he was livng and most accounts of him seem to present him as being a kind and a rather nice gentleman.
She argues that because there is no photographs available of Thomas – how do people know its the ghost of Thomas they are seeing? She’s right, how would they know if it was him – has it just been assumed it is?
Penny thought there could be something on the site that someone may be protecting and it was quite possible that many builders who have worked on the building may have had experiences which has meant work has had to cease- it’s just not been reported on!
If someone is protecting something at the hall it’s quite possible it could be the chapel. However, She felt the violent ghost lingering here could be a son of Thomas Markham named Sir Griffin Markham.
Griffin was a soldier and conspirator and his father – Thomas, was the high steward of Mansfield and standard-bearer to Queen Elizabeth’s band of gentlemen pensioners. Griffin went against his father which meant he fell on hard times after being imprisoned. A possession of Griffins was said to be at the hall that was of some value which caused conflicts. He was also described as being more of a violent person and was known as being turbulent and restless.
So, could it be Sir Griffins Markham’s restless spirit lashing out at all those who encounter him? I think given his nature in life and the conflicts he had with his father it could make more sense it actually being Griffin rather then his father.
Whomever it is, doesn’t seem to like people within Ollerton Hall and even though when we last went I didn’t personally encounter his spirit again, Aimee most certainly felt as though she may have when exploring the upper floors alone.