Originally published October 2006
The Tale of the Turning Bed
We have just spent the night at the most wonderful location of Boringdon Hall in Devon, it is a place with a fantastically rich history and not a few ghost stories to tell and thanks to Paranormal Tours we were able to investigate.
The Hall sits on the hill just above the village of Plympton, which is just outside of the busy city of Plymouth and is approached by a long drive. On arrival you are impressed by the left hand remains of a classic Elizabethan manor house, blending into modern accommodation to the right built in correct local stone, which looks wonderful when illuminated at night.
It is a house that is associated with many well known names from English history including Drake and Raleigh and was owned by the renowned Parker family for over four hundred years until the early 1900’s. After many years of being a part of history, Boringdon began to fall into decline in 1750 when the Parkers moved to Saltram, a magnificent house beside the river and the hall only used from then as over large tenanted farmhouse. Even the main staircase was removed during this time to make way for agricultural requirements and is depicted as such in an engraving by William Wolnorth in 1809. Sadly by the 1970’s doubts were raised that Boringdon Hall would ever be restored as its state of decay was so great that it frightened off many potential restorers or developers and at one time it was offered for sale at just £5,000, being eventually purchased as a ruin by Peter Malkin in the mid 1980’s when it was rebuilt and completed in early 1987. Unfortunately it was almost destroyed again by fire in 1989, but after further renovation it now stands as the fine Grade One building that we see today. Complete with new additions to the right, it is now a quality hotel.
The name Boringdon comes from the Saxon Burth Y Don, meaning ‘enchanted place on the hill’ although it is also given as coming from the ancient British or Celtic camp or fort a little to the north at Elfordleigh. Boringdon, literally “bury down” – earthwork on the hill.
Sadly we did not see this magnificent house in the daylight, but found it very welcoming in the evening and were greeted at the door by Kevin of Paranormal Tours, or Kev of Hastings as he is alternatively known. The rest of the crew had already begun to set up with Martin leading the team assisted by Paul and (don’t mention Mum) Lynne. Paul was also the cameraman for the night so we may see a Paranormal Tours DVD of the proceedings at some point in the future. Whilst preparations were made, Marlene took time for a quiet walk around the parts of the building available to us. This enabled her to link in with the feel of the building and any energies that were present.
Once our guests had arrived the evening kicked off in the usual manner, with greeting, workshop and lit walk around with Marlene. On this event we were joined for the lit walk by the simply splendid “Sir Francis” and his good lady, the historians, who had intimate knowledge of Boringdon Hall for twenty years. Dressed in magnificent period costume, complimented by the backdrop of this period property, they were able to confirm many things that had been picked up during the tour including the frequent ghost sightings.
There have been many such reported sightings over the years including the apparition of a lady who walked the ruins, these have been observed by Peter Malik and staff and continues to this day with the current hotel staff and guests. The most intriguing being the Saga guide who was sleeping in an upper bedroom only to awake in the morning to find that the bed had completely turned around and that she had also been turned top to tail with her bed sheets still neatly folded over her. In very recent times a new bride awoke in the night to find a face staring at her, unsurprisingly the honeymoon couple did not hang around.
At midnight, after a very tasty buffet supplied by the hotel, four enthusiastic groups set off for the first of the vigils in the allocated rooms. Fortunately the Murder Mystery party who had been sharing the venue with us had either left or retired to bed, freeing up more of the Elizabethan portion of the house than we had expected. And yes, they screamed, but we did not! As is our way, we will leave you to read the full report of proceedings on the Paranormal Tours website at http://www.paranormaltours.com. We will say that in certain areas, people felt that they were being constantly watched and Marlene did go into trance and brought forward an individual who spoke to the members of the vigil.
We had a brilliant time at Boringdon Hall and the thing that I have come to realise is how privileged we are to be able to investigate such properties. Being within them brings to life events and people from our nations rich history, the opportunity to be able to link with them either through history or spiritually really does enable our lives to be touched by our ancestors.
Thanks go to the guest investigators for being a super and enthusiastic bunch to work with, Sir Francis and his good lady for providing so much of the historical information and extra colour to the event. Thanks also to all the of the hotel staff, (www.superbreak.com) especially Martin, the night porter, for his additional information and of course all the Paranormal Tours crew.
Marlene picked up certain pieces of information before our arrival at Boringdon Hall. As always I will remind our readers that she has no prior knowledge of the location to be investigated other than date and county or town.
Keep getting Stansted Hall, so I know a hall is involved either at or near the location. (Correct)
Letter B, which I feel is the first letter – three syllables in the first word Bor something ton, (Very close) also feel that there must be an Abbey or Monastery nearby (Property of Plimton Priory until 1539) because I see monks and feel that there is / was a priests hole somewhere. Names Elizabeth and Giles (not sure if Giles is a surname or a first name) sound of baby crying, (Previously reported) wood panelling and also tapestry. (Correct)
Main hall with a large candelabra hanging from the ceiling which looks like a big black metal wheel. (Correct)
A woman with long reddish brown hair running down a staircase. She has very soft embroidered slippers on her feet. I feel she is running away from someone. (Elizabethan lady has been seen in several parts of the house, including as a ruin) Also feel there was fighting nearby. (Could be linked to the Civil War period?)
Has either been built on the site of another building or has been re-built (Correct in both respects).
Cellars, some of which are now blanked off.
At least one tunnel from the cellars into the grounds. (Rumoured, but never found. Some say there is a secret tunnel between the two manors and Yealmpton church – with ghost stories to back up this claim.)
Sloping lawn / grass bank going down to water / lake nearby. (The hall stands in 7 acres and has extensive lawns. Did not check on lake)
A link with either a Doctor or the name Hamilton or both. (I can see Dr. Hamilton, a lady Doctor from when I was a child)
I feel that you can go up high in this building, as if there are several stories or a tower / towers there. (Correct)
Just had the fleeting glimpse of someone playing tennis in old fashioned clothes.
Several men in uniform, but I know this would link to the past as I see them in black and white, not colour. Officers though and discussions which are important. (Albert Parker was under secretary to war in1880 and chaired various committees in the House of Lords, although strangely it relates to the family rather than to the house in that period?)
Name of Henry Dunning.
Carving of an acorn in a cup could be on a wall panel or cornice or piece of furniture. (Could relate to a number of pieces of furniture or beds in the building or even over mantle)
Picture / tapestry / fabric with golden pears (s) / fruit. (Found on tapestry in entrance hall)
Katherine. (Katherine, also with a C, both names relates to the house and is the name of a room)
Young Master Edward.
Picked up during the workshop and may not be included other records.
Marlene had the strong sense of dancing and waltzing around and could feel a dress with a heavy bustle. This dress was also picked up and drawn by one of the guests during the workshop. (This large first floor room was the setting for many great balls during the heyday of the house)
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