Living TV’s “Britain’s Most Haunted” Programme

 …comes to Ferryhill Manor House

       

 

History of the Manor House

 

Ferryhill Manor House (Front View) Ferryhill Manor House (Back View)

Personal Photography, 2007

  

The Manor House began its life in the 16th Century, as a farmhouse.  The Manor House website records "the original house is substantial with large stone fireplaces on the ground floor with one above in the bedroom".

  

Robert Surtees, a well known local historian during the end of the Nineteenth Century, records the following in his book "The History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham: Volume 3": "The chief mansion-house in Ferry-hill, a spacious gavel-ended house, with a large pleasant garden, laid out in regular walks and parterres, with hedges of clipped evergreens ..."

On the old Manor House farm gate, which can be seen at the right hand side of Church Lane,  there is a poem that is shown to all passers-by: 

 How happily seated those Lares are,

Who feed on prospect and fresh air,

Dine moderately every day,

And walk their supper time away.

  

In 1615, Mr L Wilkinson of the Parish of Merrington was granted a Coat of Arms. Due to the size of Ferryhill, a mere five dwelling houses, Mr Wilkinson was probably the first owner of the Manor House, the largest house built in the end of the 16th Century.  However, in 1642, Captain John Shaw, also known to be a Church Warden and a Constable, was the new owner of the Manor House. The Charles The First and Parliament Civil War split Ferryhill into two sides, and when Parliament won the war, and Mr Shaw had his estate seized, but it was returned back to the Shaw family upon Captain John Shaw's death, to his Grandson, Ralph.

  

The next known occupancy of the Manor House was the Arrowsmith family, at probably the beginning of the 19th Century.  Thomas Arrowsmith was the first of his family to own the Manor House.  Durham County Council County Record Office [Archives EP/Fer 4/1-4] records Thomas Arrowsmith making profits through leases of land, notably in the "Great Chilton" area.  The coal trade was recorded in Ferryhill, in 1821, where it is noted that Mr Thomas Arrowsmith’s works were providing employment that attracted other workers from the outlying villages. Records show that Thomas had to take out two mortgages for securing his family's ownership of the Manor.  Upon Thomas's death in 1845, the Manor House, including the farming lands adjoining the property, was passed onto his wife and daughters.  

In 1885, the land adjoining the Manor House was sold to local Colliery owners.  In 1891 the Manor House was restored by Colliery Manager Mr Henry Palmer.  It was around this time until round about the 1920's, that the Manor House was noted at first to be a Doctors Surgery and then a Nursery - but the house was noted as too small for the children.

  

In 2001, the Manor House was bought by its present owners Bruno and Pat, where it is now a Hotel.  In the end of the 20th Century, the Manor House was named "The Badger's Set" but this was only for a short while, when it was returned back to its original name "The Manor House".

 

The Coverage

  

The Manor House in Ferryhill was featured on Living TV’s "Most Haunted” programme during mid-April 2004.  A team of seventeen crew and cameramen, including ex-Blue Peter star, Yvette Fiending, and medium, Derek Accora, spent the night inside the oldest house in Ferryhill.   

The Manor was "famed" for reports of spiritualistic occurrences, including objects being moved around and sightings of a woman who allegedly walks around some of the rooms, and the most interesting, “proof” that a murder took place inside.   

 The TV crew spent all night from 8.00pm onwards in the building, which for the first time in many years, was closed to the public.

   

They even investigated the cellar underneath the building, which historians say had a tunnel which led in the Durham direction.

 

What happened… Presenter, Yvette Fiending, received a fright when she heard a man’s voice whisper in her ear whilst in a small cellar underneath the Manor.  The Medium, Derek Accora, sensed an “evil presence” when walking up the ancient staircase.  It is known that the Manor House was once used as an orphanage, and Derek sensed that many youngsters had been frightened in the Manor.   

In Room 7, a large man, was sensed strongly by Derek.

  

When the Manor held a “spooky” night, a medium sensed that a murder had taken place in Room 8, and in the same room, Derek went into a violent trance at which he hurled a lamp across the room as he felt an evil spirit enter his body.  The sense of presence of the same man, as in Room 7, was also felt. 

Later the team of presenters visibly shook with fright was a television set suddenly switched itself on in the room.  

  

Room 6 is noticed as haunted by a young boy who can be heard crying and looking for his mother.   Upstairs is reported that the ghost of a lady nicknamed Betty, wandering around looking for her young son!

Before the "Most Haunted" team left the Manor, they arranged for the rooms to be exorcised. Since then, there have been no reports of spiritual reports.

   

Questions and Notes

Theory

 

A theory could be that the Manor House is linked to the murder of the Brass Children of 1683 and to the murderer Andrew Mills.  It could be possible, but not proven, that after Andrew Mills confessed at High Hill House that he was the killer, and he was arrested for this, the Manor House could have been used to secure Mills until the next morning when His Majesty's troopers could then safely transport him to Durham to await his trial. Could it be that Room 7 or 8 was used to detain Mills on that dreadful January night?  Click here to read some similarities between the haunting at the Manor House and the murderer, Andrew Mills.