Sunday, 26 September 2010

Kersal cell                                
Old drawing of the Kersal Cell.
from geruki.org
This old building still stands about a mile and a half from where we live, in fact there is a massive double stone wall at the end of our garden, which according to our deeds was the boundary wall for the Byrom Estate. The estate covered over a hundred acres and was first mentioned in 1142 when there was a monastery on the site. 
It's supposed to be haunted!  The monastery's were suppressed by King Henry the Eighth resulting in numerous monks being murdered and the estate was sold on by the King to a Baldwin Willoughby in 1540 who, in turn sold it on, until a third of it was transferred to the Byrom family who were wealthy Linen drapers in Manchester.  There was one famous member of the Byrom's, John Byrom, who was a Jacobite, a Hymn Writer/Poet, and a Shorthand Inventor.  It is said that John was born in The Old Wellington Inn in the Shambles Manchester.


But some sources say he was born in the old Kersal Cell house.  He was educated at Trinity College,Cambridge of which he became a 'Fellow',and afterwards travelled to study Medicine at Montepellier, France.  He invented a form of Shorthand which he patented as,'New Universal Shorthand', and it was taught officially at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and used in the House of Lords.  He was also a published Poet, writing the hymn 'Christian's Awake' as a Christmas present for his daughter, and he was reputed to be one of the tallest men in the kingdom.

Did I mention that the old house is supposed to haunted?  Course I did...... Years ago we had not one but two members of our family who were policemen, and I happened to mention the Kersal Cell in passing conversation to one of them.

"Ah...yes...Kersal Cell, your Uncle had a rather odd happening a good few years back.  You'll remember he was a Dog-handler in the Force, and that night he was down to patrol the Kersal Cell area.  This was in the days when 'Bobbies' actually walked the streets and generally made people feel safer in their beds.  It was really dark down that area overlooking a bend of the river Irwell opposite the cemetery. He'd made a round of all the out-buildings etc., and was making his way back up the driveway when he heard footsteps behind him on the path.  He stopped.  They stopped.  He continued, only to hear the footsteps again.  Suddenly the dog by his side stiffened, pointing his nose in the direction of the noise.  The footsteps began again advancing towards your Uncle and the dog.  The dog's hackles went right up and with a yelp he yanked the lead from what by now must have been a very sweaty palm of your Uncle and legged it off out of sight.  Your Uncle stood his ground, he was after all a stalwart member of the British Constabulary and a Forward-Prop on the Rugby-Team.  The ghostly footsteps came up level with him and passed on by with not a soul to be seen he said.  I think we can say however he made a dignified exit at a run...to retrieve the dog he said...!  He got a right load of stick from his compatriots at the station of course, though I can tell you myself lots of us contrived to do the round in two's after that it certainly was a spooky dark old place down there and I don't mind admitting it."

11 comments:

Lynn said...

Oooooh, spooky! I love haunted-building stories...

...Miss...Maddie's... said...

You can not beat a residence with a bit of history or a ghost.
Thanks for sharing the tale...
Susan

ruthie said...

What an intriguing tale!! I do wish you could have visited the "faeries" exhibition too, it was amazing. Hope your muse finds you very soon x ruthie x

June said...

I love ghost stories, especially if they happened a long ways from me.hehe! Isn't it interesting that dogs can see things that we close our eyes to? I loved this post, and your blog is lovely.
June

Josephine Tale Peddler said...

Wonderful post. I love a good ghost story and the British have so many. I'm reading Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger at the moment which is very eerie indeed.

vicki archer said...

Living so close to such history can only fire up the imagination...there is nothing like a really good ghost story, xv.

Ann Nichols said...

I loved reading all this. You write so beautifully and with the pictures I was happy to be brought right into the story!
So happy to have found you!
Ann
PS I shall "Follow" along from right now!

Ann Nichols said...

Thanks so much for visiting me at my blog and leaving such lovely comments! They mean so much to me! Gustav Klimt was an amazing artist. And you're right "myrrh" even as a word is so evocative of calm and peace. I love to "drink in" of its essence when in church...it is "kingly."
Again...I love your site. Can't wait to see your new postings! And since that fabulous "Follow" button, I won't have to worry about missing a single one!
Ann

Sea Angels said...

Yes spooky and just as October is here your timing is perfect and so is that drawing xxxx
ynn xx

Marion said...

Interesting post. Also have just looked at some of your past photos which are lovely.

Ann Nichols said...

Hi again...
How interesting about myrrh being found in your favorite moisturizer! And it's hypoallergenic... maybe I should tell my daughter about it!
Ann
PS Thanks so much for your lovely comments! They are so encouraging! Visit any time!!