Welcome to the VERY FIRST blog installment of 2019!! (on that note, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and New Year!)
I’m gonna kick off the new year by writing about one of my favourite historical locations that I love to visit in my hometown of Leicestershire.
I bet you’re wondering how this park could be historical, but believe me, it is!
Actually, there is so much history at this location that when I was beginning to do my research I discovered I wouldn’t be able to fit it all in without writing a book, so I’ve covered some of my favourite areas as well as the plethora of ghost stories… of course!
This place was like a second home for me growing up, in fact, I spent most of my summers here with my dad and my older brother.
We’d have picnics, long walks and explore.
Part of the park is actually an extinct volcano and at certain points if you bang your feet on the ground you can feel the hollow grounds beneath you. I remember as a kid I was always scared and wondering if it was going to erupt and wipe everyone out! (Obviously I know that’d never happen now!) but I guess for me it always had a kind of magical atmosphere about it.
Now as an adult, I find myself visiting the park for my own peace of mind.
It’s great for long walks, clearing your head and the scenic views and atmospheric ruins are amazing for the soul.
Here’s some pictures I took from my latest visit!
The land itself spans a MASSIVE 850 acres and no joke! during my lifetime I have properly explored every inch of it.
To this day I still get lost. One of the most memorable times for me was being around the age of 8 and watching my brother showing off on some nearby rocks, he slipped and twisted up his ankle pretty bad and we were a VERY long way from the parked car.
In fact, we were lost. It almost turned into an episode of Bear Grylls survival in the forest as my dad had to carry him a good way before the park rangers found us and gave us a lift back in their truck. GOOD TIMES! (Lol!)
There is also a particular tree which is completely hollowed out, again this has been there for as long as I can remember. In fact, we were going to find it on the day I went recently but as it was so cold we didn’t brave it to that particular area.
I just really wanted to sit inside of a tree and have my picture taken to be honest. 😉
Maybe next time!
As I’d mentioned above, the park is steeped in history and as this is a paranormal blog, I’m going to write about the old ruins and the story behind Lady Jane Grey who once lived on this magnificent property.
Known as the nine day queen…
Lady Jane Grey was an English noblewoman who reigned as the queen of England and Ireland from the 10th of July until the 19th of July 1553. She was also the great granddaughter of Henry VII through his younger daughter Mary.
Interestingly she is from direct Leicestershire roots as she was actually born and raised on Bradgate Park in October 1537 before moving to live in London at the age of 10.
The actual ruins date back to 1520 and the Grey family would then go on to live inside of it’s walls for the next 220 years.
The ruins can still be seen and visited to this very day!
So why was her reign as queen so short?
She’d actually only inherited the title of queen due to a political crisis following the death of King Edward VI and when she did take the throne she was only sixteen years of age!
When Edward VI took it upon himself to name Jane as his successor, he ignored the fact that he indeed had two other half-sisters who should also hold some right to the throne. Their names were Mary and Elizabeth. He wrote in his will for Jane to take the title due to certain religious beliefs. Jane was a Protestant and would support the reformed Church of England.
Due to the choices made and controversial statements at this time, just a mere nine days later Jane was removed from the throne and imprisoned in the tower of London whilst her sister Mary was then pronounced the new queen of England.
At just the tender age of sixteen, Lady Jane Grey was convicted of high treason and sentenced to death at the tower of London. She was publicly executed by being beheaded on the 23 February 1554.
The statement she made before she died is spine chilling!
‘Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same. The fact, indeed, against the Queen’s highness was unlawful, and the consenting thereunto by me: but touching the procurement and desire thereof by me or on my behalf, I do wash my hands thereof in innocency, before God, and the face of you, good Christian people, this day.’
She would also ask the executioner for forgiveness ‘Have mercy upon me, O God‘ and the very last words she ever spoke were ‘Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit.’
Now, let’s be honest. Aristocracy back in the day in England was totally ruthless. It’s utterly heartbreaking that a young girl of sixteen could be subjected to such harsh consequences.
After her death, there is a pretty well known legend in regards to Bradgate Park, apparently townsfolk would visit the grounds and chop off the top of the oak tree’s as some sort of commemoration for her.
Though how much truth there is to this story, it’s not fully known.
Online you’ll be able to find the FULL historical details of this young queen with a more in depth approach. I’m just filling you in the gruesome basic details.
Because that’s how I roll.
For the full history I recommend Wikipedia and you can find it here.
So after hearing all of this…
Would you believe Bradgate Park to be Haunted?
In my own personal opinion, I’d have to say, yes.
This place was indeed her childhood home, maybe the only place in her entire life she’d ever felt safe before being thrust into a completely new world in London. So as an un-rested spirit (if it were me) I’d return to the place that I’d once felt the most comfortable in this world.
On that note, let’s talk about some of the ghost stories!
One of the most popular claims is that apparently on New Years eve, a ghostly coach leaves the ruins of her former home and travels to the nearby All Saints Church.
Lady Jane is then seen to be exiting the coach before she herself and everything else vanishes.
This is quite a popular and well known story and clearly shows signs of being a residual energy.
In fact, most of the ghostly sightings at Bradgate Park are thought to be residual.
Meaning she may not be an intelligent spirit that is able to interact, more like a moment in time that re-plays itself over and over again, like the stone tape theory.
I myself have unfortunately never witnessed anything out of the ordinary at the park when I have visited, but I have had certain feelings about different area’s, especially around the ruins which are very atmospheric, you feel a certain sadness in the air which in hindsight I am unable to explain.
The typical story of Jane is that of ‘The Grey Lady‘.
Spotted on numerous occasions in a long flowing dress and seen to be wandering the ruins and the grounds of the park as if she were lost and somehow seeking peace.
This location will forever fascinate me and remain one of my favourites.
Not only is there numerous sightings of Lady Jane Grey who has been seen by visitors and staff but also those of soldiers, shadow figures, children and even horses!
Other reports include hearing the sound of drums in the distance and even disembodied voices. The amount of sightings and sound phenomena that has been documented at the park is staggering!
It’s definitely a place I’d love to investigate one day! (With granted permission of course!)
The park itself is surrounded by wildlife such as deer who are free to roam at their own free will which is why it would be highly recommended not to visit the park at night and without permission.
ALTHOUGH late last year I did see a few advertisements for ‘ghost walks’ which are organised by the park officially. I will definitely be keeping a keen eye out for those in the future as it’s something I’d love to attend.
Not only this but I’m going to be making another visit to the park in February (weather permitting!) accompanied by James Pykett. For those of you who don’t know, James runs a fantastic website called HauntedInsight ( http://hauntedinsight.com ) and recently we have decided to team up with our blogs and become sister sites!
Keep a look out for his posts and I’m sure he’ll have some pretty amazing photos of the park on his site soon!
I see some great projects to come from us both this year and its really exciting!
BUT Until next time,
Blog written and edited by Vicky Grant.