Stalbridge Park, House and Wall

mike finding young-fella

This is just a starter post for this Dufosee.com project – just to get the ball rolling!

Back when I were a lad I used to stay in the Stalbridge Park with my grandparents and the place was massive.

However the original house would appear to have been a haunted place!

Just below is a set of photos we went to take on May Bank Holiday, 2014.

I had been wanting to get up to Stalbridge to take some up to date photos of my own and tried to find someone in charge to ask permission – no one to be found, so I took a chance and just took some photos as seen below. (I hope the owner / tenant / farmer won’t mind)

I have memories of exploring this house, it was really quite a huge place for one so li’l!

I’m just setting up another couple of items that will come out over the next few days, as work allows. These should cover bits about the old house and previous occupiers, the wall and a few other things I’ve found over the last few days!!

Ok – Cuzzins from various areas of the Dufosee tribe – get your thinking caps on and get some bits and pieces ready to add here!!

NOW, a Ghostly Tale: (ok – out of season it might be but an interesting tale, none the less!!)

A Ghost Story for Christmas

The following classic Dorset ghost is taken from the Rev. W. S. Swayne’s, 1889 publication “History and Antiquities of Stalbridge”.

Stalbridge Manor House“The old manor house in the park at Stalbridge was pulled down in 1822. It was of the Jacobean style, and contained a beautiful staircase with figures of the twelve apostles about a yard high, placed at intervals between the balusters.

In connection with the old mansion, a curious story is told. It is said that for some years before the house was pulled down it was left empty in the charge only of an old housekeeper.

The owner, however, on one occasion lent the house for the Christmas season to a lady friend of hers who had a large family of young children, making the stipulation that she should do whatever the old housekeeper required of her.

On arriving at the house the lady and her family were met by the housekeeper, who requested all of them to make a point of not being in the hall of the house at five o’clock of an evening. This request was agreed to, and for some time observed; but on one occasion the lady had had some children in to play during the afternoon with her own children, and having said goodbye to them, was standing in the hall of the house just on stroke of five. Hardly had the hour passed when her notice was attracted by a figure issuing from the door of one of the bedrooms on the first floor, which could be seen from the hall. The figure was that of a woman enveloped in flames, who repeated to herself in an agonized voice: ‘I have done it. I have done it.’ The figure disappeared almost immediately into the door of another room:

The lady ascended the stairs, and found that the doors both of the room from which the figure had emerged and that into which it had entered were locked.

Startled by so strange an occurrence, she determined to be in the hall on another evening at the same hour. Once more, she witnessed the same strange events. Now thoroughly convinced that it was something more than a mere freak of her imagination she returned at once with her children to London, and took an early opportunity of calling upon the owner. She mentioned what she had seen, and begged to know what was the meaning of it.

The following story was then related to her.

Some years ago the house was inhabited by a widowed mother and her only son, who was not yet of age. One day the boy came to his mother and told her that he had fallen in love with the gamekeeper’s daughter. The mother reproved him for his indiscretion, and forbade him to mention the subject again. Not long after the boy returned to the subject and announced his intention of marrying the girl. Once more, his mother refused to listen to him.

Some weeks afterwards the son once more spoke to his mother on the same subject and told her that it would be far better for her to make up her mind to accept the inevitable as the girl had now been his wife for some months. The mother was so indignant that she turned her son out of the house and forbade him ever to enter it again. Some months passed away, and the mother apparently repented of her harshness, for she went to her son and told him that she would receive both him and his wife and condone his disobedience. They returned to Stalbridge House, and at first all went well, for the girl was beautiful and amiable and did her best to please her mother-in-law.

Fire Ghost

One day, however, the young man returned late in the evening after a long day’s hunting, and was met by the sad news that his young wife had been burnt to death. The accident had occurred in this way. His wife had entered her mother-in-law’s dressing room about five o’clock in the evening, ready dressed for dinner. The mother-in-law was sitting in a distant part of the room before her looking glass, and the girl stood before the fire. Suddenly the elder lady heard a scream, and turning, saw her daughter-in-law enveloped in flames, having accidentally caught her dress on fire from the hearth. This story was accepted without question; and it was not until the wretched woman lay on her deathbed that she confessed to her son that she had murdered his young wife, having pushed her into the fire. After the death of the murderess the old house was haunted by her figure enveloped in flames, and exclaiming at her own crime.”

More about Stalbridge and the Dufosee Family!

3 Comments

  1. Dear sir

    I am a professional genealogist in Hertfordshire, write for family history magazines regularly, lecture and specialise in researching the ancestries of celebrities (see my blog, URL) above. I am currently researching the actress EMMA CHAMBERS (Alice in The Vicar of Dibley, she was also in the film Notting Hill) and I have discovered that in the 18th century Stalbridge Park Garm was owned by her great great grandfather, Simon Strange (circa 1800-1855). He appears there in the 1851 census, a copy of the entry I can send you if you wish. Simon Strange died in August 1855 when he was thrown from his pony and died from injuries sustained in the accident. I found reports in a number of newspaper on the British Newspaper Archive website. I was interested to see on this website what I assume is THE Stalbridge Park Farm and I would respectfully ask your permission to copy and possibly publish it on my blog?

    With best wishes
    Roy Stockdill
    01923 893735

  2. My latest blog on the ancestry of Emma Chambers is now online at: http://roystockdillgenealogy.com/emma-chambers/

    I have incorporated the photo of Stalbridge Park Farm which you kindly gave me permission to use, with an appropriate accreditation under “Sources of research” at the bottom of the blog. I’ve also published a newspaper cutting of Simon Strange’s death in a fall from his horse in 1855.

  3. Hello Mr Stockdill

    Many thanks for your call earlier today. I shall increase the detail on posts here and link back to your information, when I can. I find this history absolutely fascinating and to find these links to the past where I spent time as a child is most intriguing.

    I will be looking further in to the history because my cousins have said there are links with a past “relative” nannying for the Czar of Russia on my grandmother Dufosee’s side!!

    I’m hoping that this site will build with more information at some time in the near future.

    If you would like larger & better resolution copies of any of the photos I have – please do get in touch.

    Bye for now

    Mike

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