Living TV’s “Britain’s Most Haunted” Programme
…comes to Ferryhill 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".
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:
happily seated those Lares are,
feed on prospect and fresh air,
moderately every day,
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 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
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.
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!
"Most Haunted" team left the Manor, they arranged for the rooms to be
exorcised. Since then, there have been no reports of spiritual reports.
If there was a murder in the Manor House, how comes it has never been reported or documented in local history books?
Did any of the previous owners of the Manor House ever experience disturbances, and why were these never publicly noted?
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.