Dinham Hall's Ghostly Past
My Mother and I went to live at Dinham Hall I think in 1983 when she was appointed as House Mistress—a challenging job which involved the running of the house and staff, and caring for around 20 boys. Most were students at the sixth form college in Ludlow whose parents lived too far away to travel daily, or abroad. The college is a state run establishment and the situation was unusual, having a boarding house attached, but it stemmed back to the days when the college was Ludlow Grammar School and Dinham was the boarding house for it.
In the 3 years we spent there, before the house became a hotel, we had some similar experiences, as did our predecessors and some long-serving members of the domestic staff. If the room you had was the one overlooking the castle walls, it used to be known as 'Castle Dormitory' and was shared by 6 boys. They all told various tales of footsteps, doors opening on their own and even once did a Ouija board which frightened them half to death when it spelt out their names and several others!
My room was on the middle floor and I frequently heard footsteps walking up and down the corridor outside the room at night, and once felt a firm but friendly hand on my shoulder whilst leaning over the wooden bannister rail on that landing—but there was no-one there.
'The Ladies', the three members of domestic staff who had worked at Dinham for over 20 years each, had many tales to tell of things which had happened whilst the various custodians of the house had lived there, though they never really spoke about them unless something similar happened to the latest occupant. Because of this, the things that happened must be all the more genuine. There is probably a lot which we will never know!
The incidents which occurred when we lived there were as follows.
The footsteps on the landing behind my room were a regular occurrence; slowly pacing up and down. My mother (probably the greatest sceptic I know where this sort of thing is concerned) also heard footsteps often on the narrow back staircase at night outside her room—she was always accusing the boys of sneaking in late, and they always flatly denied it! It also happened in holiday time when she was in the house on her own.
On the same landing outside my room, which led up to the second flight of the wide front stairs, the cleaner once saw, from the ground floor, a woman dressed in grey sweeping up the stairs. She thought it was my mother until someone told her that she was out of the building. Several people over the years saw a 'grey lady' on those stairs. It is also the staircase to the room where Judith stayed. Some time after this, Mrs. M. the cook, was looking for my mother as there was a phonecall for her. She saw the door to our sitting room open and heard the vacuum cleaner on so decided to leave it and take a message. After she had put the phone down, my mother walked in through the front door, she had been shopping. Mrs M. was quite surprised and asked who was cleaning our sitting room, and mother was equally puzzled, as no-one else had access to that room, and the house was empty apart from Mrs M. They went back together to find the door locked and no-one inside.
In that sitting room, a previous occupant kept all the paperwork relating to the house keeping etc on a shelf. One day, the whole lot flew up into the air and landed in a mess on the floor in front of her.
Many people saw the same woman and man in the house, according to the Ladies. My mother also saw them. The woman was wearing a grey dress with a long white apron over it, and a white cap, the type a house keeper of the 19th century would have worn. The man wore a biege smock over trousers. The woman said, 'You can put the coal down here, Ben'. Again, mother knew nothing of them until she saw them and mentioned them to the Ladies the next day, thinking she'd imagined it. They said everyone who had lived in the house had seen them at some point.
Everything that happened in the house whilst we lived there didn't frighten or disturb us at all and was not in the least threatening, just fascinating.