The story of the Littlecote House ghosts relates how a local midwife was woken late one night and offered a large sum of money if she would attend to a woman who was in urgent need of her services, but she had to be blindfolded. She agreed and was taken to a big house where she was instructed by a masked man to deliver a baby to a masked woman. The baby, a boy, was safely born whereupon the masked man grabbed the child and threw it on the roaring, open fire and held it there with his boot until it was dead. The midwife was devastated but as she made a final check on the progress of the mother, she had the presence of mind to tear a piece of cloth from the bed curtains. And as she was led, once again blindfolded, down the steps of the house, she counted them one by one.
The poor midwife kept her silence until, on her deathbed, she revealed the terrible secret. Immediately, suspicion fell on 'Wild Will Darrell' of Littlecote House. It was even suggested that the mystery masked mother might be his sister and that Darrell himself may be the father. The number of steps up to the manor agreed with the number given by the midwife and when a search was made of the house, in one bed-chamber a hole was found in the bed-curtains that matched exactly the piece torn out be the midwife. Darrell was arrested but it was said that there was not enough evidence to convict him and he walked from the court, a free man.
But there is a higher law and it is a matter of history that Wild Darrell was killed when he was thrown from his horse while hunting in 1587 at a spot now known as "Darrell's Stile". His twisted spectre has been seen both at the scene of his death and in a bedroom in the house itself. But Wild Darrell is not the only Littlecote house ghost. In 1970, a journalist saw the figure of a midwife carrying a baby in the haunted bedroom. He rushed to fetch his camera and when he returned, the figure had vanished.
The phantom mother
Another Littlecote House ghost seems to have appeared to Peter de Savary soon after he became owner of the property. He decided to hold an auction sale of unwanted furnature and other stuff from the house. As he was walking around the house on the morning of the sale, he encountered a mid-aged woman dressed in modern clothes in one of the corridors. Before de Savary could ask her how she came to be there, the woman spoke. She told him that he was wicked and evil for removing her baby's clothes from the chapel. She told him that if he returned the box to its proper place, he would prosper. However, she warned him, no good would come if he failed to do this. She then seemed to disappear before the startled man's eyes.
de Savary remembered the box. He had removed it from a window ledge in the chapel. He eventually found it amongst the other items for sale. When the box was opened, it did indeed contain baby clothes and some paper that dated them to 1861. Not surprisingly, he put the box back on the chapel window ledge where he had originally found it.
A woman in a blue gown has also been spotted by a guide on the staircase. There was a rope across to prevent access by visitors and the apparition walked straight through it. Perhaps, not surprisingly, there is heard the sound of a crying baby in the haunted bedroom.
And there is also an animal ghost at Littlecote.
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