I always enjoy celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. Last Wednesday August 20th was my 31st wedding anniversary and as part of the celebrations Vince and I visited our local stately home Hardwick Hall, which is owned by the National Trust. As National Trust members we are regular visitors to the grounds since it is only five or so miles from where we live but I have never visited the house, so we left the dogs at home with our daughter and set off for a few hours of exploring the house and gardens.
The gardens although not in their full summer bloom were spectacular as you can see. I will blog about the gardens another time. The house was seriously impressive from the outside, it is notable for the amount of windows it has. It was built between 1590-1597 for Bess of Hardwick (1527-1608). I was particularly interested in the tapestries for which Hardwick is famous. Some of these have been sent away for specialist cleaning and restoration and the finished result is spectacular.
The entrance hall was dark, despite the numerous windows. Most of the windows were screened to protect the tapestries from the sun and there were copious amounts of dark wood paneling. So that explained the darkness but not the oppressive feeling I experienced after a few moments standing in the hall talking to one of the volunteers.
Undeterred we carried on into the exhibition rooms adjacent to the entrance, which were dark with uneven floors. I tried to concentrate on the tapestries many were darkened by age. The longer I remained in the rooms the more disoriented I became. Initially I put it down to the low ceilings and darkness. I have suffered from severe vertigo in the past so I recognised the symptoms, dizziness, nausea and the inability to walk in a straight line but that didn’t explain the oppressive presence I also felt in those rooms.
I stuck it out as long as I could and then told Vince I had to get out of there. I wanted to see the rest of the house despite feeling ill so we kept going up to the next floor and the amazing room where Bess of Hardwick received her guests. This room was lighter with higher ceilings and seemed free of the oppressive presence I sensed in the rooms below. The long gallery was also on this floor and it’s reputed to be haunted but I felt nothing there. Probably because there were lots of little children running about, which made us all smile.
Then came the bedrooms, which were colour themed. The green room was opulent as the picture below shows. So was the blue room but it was also freezing. I don’t mean draughty. I mean icy cold. I couldn’t stay in the room long enough to take a photograph.
The rest of the house was interesting and I will share my thoughts and photographs in another post but my lasting impression will be the oppressive presence of the lower rooms and the icy coldness of the blue bedroom.
I checked to see if anyone else had recorded a similar experience and found this article, which mirrors my feelings about the blue bedroom.
I haven’t experienced anything like this for a number of years and certainly didn’t expect to feel so debilitated in a house full of tourists but I did. I will continue to visit the gardens and park and admire the grandeur of the house from outside but I don’t think I will be stepping inside anytime soon. 🙂
Has this happened to you? Check out my other ghostly encounters: