The Old Hall in Little Plumstead burnt down on 14 August 2016 and was consequently demolished, they believed it was arson. This story is to remember Old Hall as it was in “the good old days” when I lived there with my friends. I will never forget the good times we had.
The Grey Lady
Old Hall of Little Plumstead has no ghost and it isn’t haunted. At least not on the inside. Well, there is The Grey Lady of course but she is roaming the grounds outside Old Hall: “Near the stables and the duck pond she can be found, crying.” as the story goes.
The history of The Grey Lady was once told to me by a dear friend, Liz, who got it from her mother Susan who, probably, has heard it from her mother as well as it must have originated from sometime during the first half of the 20th century. Well, aren’t most ghost stories?
She was the old Matron of Little Plumstead Hospital as Old Hall (or Plumstead Hall) was a hospital for people with learning disabilities in the days after the family of Lord Ashley had sold the estate. The tragedy started with that she drowned herself in the lake due to a broken heart after her fiancée, Lord Ashley’s son, had broken off their engagement and left her and she had become a lonely woman, bitter and unloved by the residents she took care of and then unable to find rest. Since then she can be found wandering the grounds around Old Hall, crying, sobbing.
But ghosts don’t exist do they?
Ghosts can never be seen at broad daylight and only very rarely in the night, The Grey Lady being no exception to this fact. And as with many other ghosts there is no real proof of their existence if you can use that word for ghosts. Eye witness reports are even more rare, just as rare as the odd black & white photograph showing an anomaly as a ghost. Years went by when I lived there, no sightings. Except for once, I have seen The Grey Lady on one occasion.
It was on a late Summer evening and I had been at work that day on my shift at Fry House, taking care of ‘my’ residents. We all know working makes you thirsty and after I had my Tea and watched Home and Away on the Grand Television set in the Old Hall television room I decided to quench my thirst in The Brick Kiln, my favourite pub down the road.
I was the only one working at Little Plumstead Hospital owning a Proper Pushbike, one of those gents pushbikes with proper brake handles, drum brakes and Sturmey Archer 3-gear set. It was my Steel Stallion, unbreakable, unperishable and made for eternity. And it was on that pushbike I was heading back home swaying across the road from left to right (but mostly left as I was living in a country where driving on the wrong side of the road could be very dangerous).
As the air grew colder that late Summer evening -or early morning- there was a little fog and waves of mist hanging low on the roads making it difficult to see where I was going. When I came towards the entrance of the hospital I was ever so startled to see her, The Grey Lady! And on to this day I am still convinced she was no wave of mist even though she was half transparent and floating towards the gate, crying, sobbing. But alas, that is no proof either, claiming to see a ghost when you’re three sheets in the wind. And so with all ghost stories this anekdote will also be just another one of many.
And I decided then that ghosts will never show themselves at daylight to those that laugh at you when they claim you are telling them fibs in the Old Hall. And ghosts will never, never ever expose themselves to people that are sober.
That night in 1991 in the Norfolk countryside I did see her. I think.
The friends I made when I lived in England were the inspiration for my books A taste of love and the sequel A serious case of love which I wrote in the years after I moved back to The Netherlands. If you like poetry I would like to invite you to read some of my work at this website and buy my books.