famous haunts

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Is Derby Really The Most Haunted City In England? Pt.2

Posted by Atticus on Thursday, September 3, 2009 Under: UK

In the past, people accused of crimes were sent to a witness box in court, where they were given three chances to plead guilt or innocence. After the third time of asking, the accused was given a bit of time to reconsider their decision, which at the time a 'judgment of penance' was passed. The sentence of penance placed upon criminal offenders consisted of:

"That you be taken back to the prison whence you came to a low dungeon, into which no light can enter; that you be laid on your back on the bare floor with a cloth around your loins but elsewhere naked; that there be set upon your body a weight of iron as great as you can bear and greater; that you have no sustenance except on the first day a morsel of coarse bread and on the second day three draughts of stagnant water from the pool nearest the prison door and on the third another morsel of coarse bread as before. If after three days you are still alive the weight will be taken from your body and a large sharp stone placed beneath your back and the weight replaced."

RiPA thinks that maybe modern day sentencing could do with a rewrite??

Shire Hall
In 1665, a deaf mute woman was sentenced in the Shire Hall, St Mary's Gate and was pressed to death, marking the last time England followed through on this method of execution. It is believed that her ghost still roams the cells that once held the accused – a location that remains preserved underneath Derby's Shire Hall. Built in 1659, this building served as the location for a handful of infamous murder trials that took place in Derbyshire. In 1817, the site saw the punishment of the Pentrich Martyrs, who were sentenced to being hung, drawn, and quartered. This sentence was the last time this method of execution was used in England.

Headless Cross

The history of Derby was hit pretty hard by the plague, where the worst effects were felt in 1592 when nearly 500 people died. During this time, local farmers refused to trade with the townspeople. Grass started to grow in the middle of Market Place since the number of people started dwindling, thus putting a strain on local business. The plague showed no mercy and continued to kill off the townspeople in more ways than one. The threat of famine set in until the farmers finally agreed to trade with the people of the town. They had one condition: leave the money for payment in bowls filled with vinegar at the Headless Cross on Nun's Green. The farmers would later return for their money when they believed the coast was clear.

It is believed that the Headless Cross dates back to the
14th century. Records show that by the 15th century, the monument had already lost its top. At one time, the cross was transported to the Derby Arboretum park, where it resided for many years. The reputation of being haunted still existed. Later on, the Headless Cross was brought back to the top of Friar Gate. Ghosts associated with the cross include a lady dressed in gray and a woman that enjoys visiting the Arboretum.

Ye Olde Dolphin Inn

Dating back to about 1530, the Dolphin serves as the oldest public house in Derby. Since the building is so old, it is often seen as a gathering place for ghosts. One of the most known ghosts of the premises is that of a 'blue lady' that has a habit of walking through the plastered walls. Customers in the pub and guests sitting in the tearooms located upstairs have claimed to see the old ghost.

An interesting aspect of the Dolphin is probably best seen in the 18th-century extension located on the left-hand side of the building in Full Street. It was not always an original part of the Dolphin, but instead, was the house of a doctor. During the 18th century, it was not unheard of to have the bodies of the deceased delivered to the homes of doctors so that additional medical study could take place. In fact, as part of the sentencing of execution for criminals, it was stated that their bodies would be taken to doctors so that they could use them for dissection. This created a fear amongst condemned prisoners that the dissection was far worse than the death sentence itself.

However, in the cellar of the doctor's house, which is now a part of the Dolphin – one chilling incident took place. One morning, it is said that the doctor traveled down into his cellar after a body had been delivered. He transferred it to a table and removed the shroud. To his surprise, the man was still alive. The details of what happened next are a mystery and the facts have become jumbled with time. The doctor could have died from shock or the victim died shortly after. Some say the doctor may have killed the man by inserting his scalpel into the body.

At any rate, a great deal of bodies was dissected in the cellar located underneath the Dolphin. Many people believe that the property is haunted by a poltergeist that takes pleasure in turning the taps of the beer kegs off in that part of the cellar. Since the setting is one with a rather creepy history, staff members often choose not to venture into the cellar alone.
Ye Old Spa Inn

Around 1673, a man known as a Dr Chauncey, lucked upon a mineral spring located just off of Abbey Street, Derby. As an entrepreneur, Chauncey jumped at the chance to become a competitor of Buxton and Bath. Historical records of Derby state that Chauncey "…put down a basin into the spring of it, to come out fresh: he built a cover over the spring which discharges itself by a grate and keeps the place always dry. About 20 yards below the spa he made a handsome cold bath and some rooms to it at considerable expense!" When Dr Chauncey died, his spa seemed to fade away.

However, the spirit of the doctor lingered on, as it is said that his ghost may pay visits to the buildings he once owned. Some people claim that they feel as if they are not alone when they are in the cellar. Strange voices are also heard on the premises.

In : UK 

Tags: derby  england  most  haunted  yeolde dolphin inn  ye olde spa inn 
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