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Grantham Journal column: My Grey Lady encounter

By Dr Gillian Sutherland

Peter Clawson.
Peter Clawson.

Spooky memories were revived for me on reading Ruth Crook’s Grantham Civic Society article on the history of gunpowder in a recent Journal issue.

The ghost who has haunted me since childhood is the so-called Grey Lady of Holy Cross House in Caythorpe, the village where I was born.

This tragic phantom is reputed to have been murdered for betraying the Gunpowder Plot conspirators in the 1600s.

Several ghost hunts at Holy Cross and its grounds produced a few frights but little real evidence.

So it was quite something to read Ruth’s details of an anonymous letter sent to William Parker, Lord Monteagle, exposing the plot. Was the Grey Lady responsible for the letter which led to the downfall of Guy Fawkes and his gang?

There is no real proof I suppose, but local legend has it that the plotters held clandestine meetings at Holy Cross.

My own involvement with the unfortunate spectre produced two possible sightings and what could have been a near miss.

My mother, who worked at the house, told me the story at an early age, but she never saw anything. As a teenager I had a scary experience in a similar room to which the body was taken and after an investigation just before Holy Cross was demolished when screams were said to have been heard in the rubble but nothing found, I saw a face at my window which might have been her.

I had been given a stone statue of the legendary phantom as a keepsake and it was in my garden at the time.

Prior to that, my closest encounter involved a strong smell of lavender on the stairs the ghost was said to haunt – a phenomenon some people who saw her insisted arose just before she materialised.

A real spirit? The verdict is yours!


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