The Ghosts of Staveley Hall

A mile and a half west of Staveley, Derbyshire stands the fine old Jacobean mansion known as the Hagg. This building was erected in 1630 by Sir Peter Frecheville as a shooting box, so it was said, and it may have been so, but it would seem to be more in the nature of a dower house.

The building is in excellent preservation and is a fine example of a Jacobean house of that period. It faces south, and when it was first built would have a fine view across the valley from the balcony and upper stories.

In the front of the house is a square-shaped porch of two stories, with a flat leaded roof, said to have been used by the ladies of the house to watch the hunting.

A ghost appears… In recent times the late Mr. Crawshaw was the tenant, and the last person to come into contact with the local ghost, said to have haunted the Hagg for many years. The apparition was of a lady dressed in white wearing an antique cloak and hat.

It is reported that a gentleman from Ireland, one who had not previously been to the Hagg, came to visit Mr. Crawshaw. On the morning after his arrival he looked round the breakfast table and asked his host if the lady in white he had passed on the stairs the night before was not coming down to breakfast.

This gentleman had seen the ghost.

An old couplet describes this ghostly visitor as follows: “Then as you cross the entrance hall to ascend the oaken stair Fear not to meet the lady who oft-times lingers there. In cloak and hat of antique guise, and robes of purest white, She vanishes from the gamer’s eyes, e’en in the noontide light.”

There is yet another mystery connected with the Hagg?

A few years ago an ancient massive oak tree, many years older than the house itself, stood outside the garden wall, and growing from one of its branches was a large bunch of mistletoe. Mistletoe is not common in Derbyshire, and very rarely seen growing on the oak. The tree was surrounded by a dry stone wall, and was said to be protected by a peculiarly vicious and dangerous ogre.

It is alleged that Druidical ceremonies were celebrated there, but on what grounds I do not know. This tree was blown down in 1883, and only a mound of earth remains to show where it stood.