Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A ghostly girl in a bedroom and other strange goings on at Penrhyn Castle.

Today I was at Penrhyn Castle where I heard some very interesting new stories and cleared up a mystery. I was told about a lady in her 70's from Anglesey who visited the Toll House at Conwy Suspension Bridge recently. She spoke to the Toll Housekeeper, whose partner works at Penrhyn, about her experiences there. His partner at Penrhyn gave the story to me today. The lady told the Toll house keeper that she would never go to Penrhyn again after what happened. She said that she was looking into one of the bedrooms and felt a very strong presence there. She described seeing a girl who had fallen in love with a gardener and was locked in the room by her father. She was so disturbed by the experience that she could not walk past the room. When she got home later that day she drew a sketch of the girl she had seen in the room. When she came to Penrhyn again she saw a photograph of the family outside the main doors of the castle taken at the time of the visit by Edward Prince of Wales and his wife Alexandra in 1894. She was able to identify the girl she had seen in the room on the photograph. I wondered whether it could have been Alice Douglas Pennant, as she has scratched her name on the window pane in the "nursery" bedroom in the Keep as previously described. The lady said that she had seen the girls' portrait downstairs and it was identical to the face she had drawn. Unfortunately the Toll House keeper did not get the visitor's name or telephone number. I would have loved to talk to her myself and hear the story in her own words, but I was very excited to get the story, even though it was handed on to me.

I spoke to one of the gardening team today. He told me that when he was living at Penrhyn Castle a few years ago he was sitting in his lounge one evening when he  thought about going outside for a smoke. He said that suddenly the fire alarms went off. He had not even picked up his cigarettes or lighter. He told me that when the Fire Brigade arrived they checked to see which alarm had been triggered, and it was the one in his lounge! Mysterious!

One of the conservation team told me that he had explored all of the castle since working there but only ventured up the Medieval staircase in the Drawing Room recently. He told me that a few years ago a conservator called Wendy went up the tower with another conservator and when they got to the top all the lights went out. It was pitch black. The man told her to wait there and he went down to sort out the lights. She crept down the spiral staircase on her backside rather than being left up there on her own. The conservator told me today that the house is very strange and that a lot of peculiar things happen there which have no rational explanation.

He also told me that a baby's skeleton had been found in the house. I asked him if he know where it had been found and when.  I have heard that story many times so far, but have not yet found out exactly where and when it took place. He said that there was something about it in a book in the conservators room and took me to show me the file. The baby's skeleton was found in a window frame in the Ebony Room, part of the original Medieval house, in 1836 when the house was being altered. He is going to photocopy the information for me. Apparently the baby had been hidden with a gold ring which seemed to have been cut off its finger! Strange. I wonder who it was and where the ring is now?

I was talking to my friend Elaine who is an Education Officer and she told me that there has been some trouble with locked doors in the kitchen area recently. She was getting ready for a school group a couple of weeks ago, when a door which she had unlocked was suddenly locked and it would not open with the key. Elaine and Vanessa, also an Education Officer, looked in the crack of the door and saw that it was locked. They tried all the keys and wriggled the handle, but to no avail. Eventually they gave up and went to get someone from the House Office to open it. When Sarah arrived she went to the door and it was unlocked. She was surprised as they had definitely seen the lock closed in the crack of the door.

The same thing happened with the Brushing Room door, which is near the kitchen door. Again the door was opened with the keys and Elaine and Vanessa were setting up ready for the school children. When they tried to open the door it was locked and they had not got the keys. They went to find Geoff who had the keys and he said that he had not locked the door as he was busy setting up the scullery. He went to try the door and it opened for him. Could this be the Housekeeper up to her old tricks, as happened in the shop a few years ago?

Last week one of the ladies in my Art class in Coleg Menai gave me a story which she had written for me, about her memories of Penrhyn Castle during the Second World War. Her best friend lived there as her mother was Lord Penrhyn's Housekeeper, and her father was the Groom. She said that there was a rumour even back then that there was a ghost in the kitchens. She thought that it was felt or seen in the corridor near the China Room. I was getting some things from the store room there earlier on today. I was all on my own. It was very creepy! I had to keep singing and chatting to whoever might have been there to stop myself being too scared. Luckily I did not see or hear anything. I am excited to have got a few new stories today. I always wonder what will the next visit bring?

I am going to be Lady Penrhyn as part of the schools Christmas hands-on Programme. I will have to wait in the Library for the children to be brought down to the house by the Butler. I do not plan to be there by myself. I will have a friend with me at all times. I may be interested in ghosts but I do not want to meet one there when I am on my own!

1 comment:

Justin said...

When I someday make it back to Wales I'm coming here for sure!