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Tales of Curses from Around the Isles

Bloody Handprint

Location: Condover (Shropshire) - Condover Hall
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Sixteenth century onwards
Further Comments: Knyvett, lord of the manor, was murdered by his son even though the finger of blame was pointed at the butler. Just before being hanged, the manservant cursed the descendants of Knyvett's family, vowing that they would not prosper while living in the hall. Knyvett's bloody handprint, left on a wall where he fell, could not be washed away so the stone was chipped away. More recently, the sound of footsteps and doors closing have been at night, and a couple dressed in Victorian clothing spotted.

Lost Monk

Location: Coombe (West Midlands) - Coombe Abbey (currently a hotel)
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Twentieth century?
Further Comments: Seen by witnesses as he floats around the grounds of the abbey, this monk is thought to have been murdered in 1345. Phantom footsteps have also been reported on the stable yard cobbles and are thought to belong to a young gypsy girl who cursed the family after they mistreated her. Finally, a phantom cyclist, thought to be a Victorian woman, has been observed on the road just by the former abbey.


Location: Coxwold (Yorkshire) - Newburgh Priory
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This phantom figure is reportedly a duellist who once fought (and lost) here. Another ghost, that of a woman, drifts around near the lake, and is thought by some to herald tragedy in the family. G Bernard Wood wrote that the priory was cursed by its last Prior, and that if anyone completed the decorating in an unfinished room upstairs, they would suffer a death in the family.


Location: Craigie (Ayrshire) - Dead tree (exact area not known)
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: With her dying breath, a witch who was hanged from this tree cursed the area around it, ensuring nothing would ever grow.

Curse of Crowland

Location: Crowland (Lincolnshire) - Crowland Abbey
Type: Curse
Date / Time: 870
Further Comments: The monks here embraced pagan ideals, and for their sins, the Devil appeared and told them that a new abbey would soon be built on the site, but all present would die before it became so. Soon after, a Viking raid levelled the building, and all the monks died.

White Owl

Location: Cwmcarvan (Gwent) - Hill in the area
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Nineteenth century
Further Comments: An unnaturally large white owl took to hunting over an ancient battlefield, leading locals to believe the creature was magical and should not be interfered with. A visitor to Raglan castle who laughed at the story and killed the owl, himself died a few hours later, choking to death at a dinner table.

Cursed Building

Location: EC4 (Greater London) - 71 Queen Victoria Street
Type: Curse
Date / Time: 1990 onwards
Further Comments: After several unconnected and violent deaths of people who worked at 71 Queen Victoria Street, the company which was based at the address closed.

Curse of the Mummy

Location: Edinburgh (Lothian) - 15 Learmonth Gardens
Type: Curse
Date / Time: 1930s
Further Comments: The figure of an ancient priest was seen in the building after the family returned from a trip to Egypt - it was said that the ghost had accompanied a bone that had been illegally removed from a tomb by a family member. When the piece of skeleton was destroyed, the haunting stopped.

Poor Curse

Location: Ettrick (Borders) - Ettrick Hall (no longer standing, was located top of Ettrick Water)
Type: Curse
Date / Time: 1700 onwards
Further Comments: Legend has it that James Anderson demolished several cottages to clear space for the construction of the hall. Left homeless and penniless, the villagers cursed the building, saying that the structure would not stand for long. Indeed, all trace of the hall has long been removed.

Drifting Nun

Location: Fawkham Green (Kent) - Pennis Lane
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Autumn (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Appearing at dusk, the figure of a nun has been reported floating down this lane. Her skull is housed at Pennis Farm and it is said if the object is ever removed a great curse will befall the valley.

Groom's Curse

Location: Fossaway (Perth and Kinross) - Former Mercer family home (unknown whether building still stands) and holly tree near village green
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A groom was hanged from the holly tree after stealing a small amount of corn. Before dying the groom cursed the Mercer family, saying that they would never have a son inherit their family home. The curse is said to have lasted for several generations.

Friar's Curse

Location: Great Malvern (Hereford & Worcester) - Ragged Stone Hill
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Falling insane after penance took its toll, a friar cursed the church and anyone who stood in its shadow. Another tale reports it is the rock summit of Raggedstone Hill that casts the cursed shadow.

Craven's Curse

Location: Hamstead Marshall (Berkshire) - Morewood House
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Still active in twentieth century
Further Comments: A curse placed on the Craven family by a pregnant servant girl who was kicked out of the household states that no earl will survive beyond their fifty-eighth year. The family sold the house to try to rid them of the ill fortune during the late twentieth century.

Little John's Femur

Location: Hathersage (Derbyshire) - Hathersage Hall
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Circa 1784
Further Comments: James Shuttleworth is said to have dug up the nearby grave containing the remains of Little John, removing a femur measuring seventy-two centimetres in length. However, he was struck by misfortune soon after, which vanished after he reburied the bone.

Drowning Curse

Location: Helston (Cornwall) - Loe Pool
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: It is said that the body of water will take a life every seven years. There are also reports that a phantom ship is occasionally seen here.

Luck of Hintlesham

Location: Hintlesham (Suffolk) - Hintlesham Hall
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A cursed mannequin was once stored here - if removed, it was believed disaster would soon follow, and the owner would lose possession of the hall.


Location: Holywell (Clwyd) - Flacgnallt Hall
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Still present?
Further Comments: The skull of Dafydd Prince of Wales is housed in a box at the hall. A curse is said to befall the owners of the building if it is ever removed from the property.

Glint of King Edmund's Spurs

Location: Hoxne (Suffolk) - Goldbrook Bridge
Type: Curse
Date / Time: 870 onwards
Further Comments: Discovered hiding under the bridge after the glint of his spurs attracted the attention of a pair of newlyweds, Edmund was taken and beheaded. The glint is still seen, and it is considered unlucky for newly wedded couples to cross the bridge.

Howgill's Revenge

Location: Kendal (Cumbria) - Grayrigg Hall (no longer standing, though some of the original buildings used by a local farm)
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Seventeenth century
Further Comments: The hall's owner, Magistrate Duckett, sentenced the Quaker Howgill to spend time in Appleby prison. The Quaker cursed Duckett, saying his name would vanish from history and his house would be home to owls and jackdaws. Sure enough, Duckett's children died without bearing children of their own, and his home was reduced to rubble, used by only birds.

De Clinton Curse

Location: Kenilworth (Warwickshire) - Area around the former site of the abbey and the Church of St Mary (no longer standing)
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Ongoing?
Further Comments: Geoffrey De Clinton promised that if anyone ever tried to take away the land around the church they would be cursed by God - a series of disasters befell many people and companies which tried to redevelop the land during the late twentieth century.

Dead Horse

Location: Kerris (Cornwall) - Kerris Roundago (Iron Age hill fort, no longer present)
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Several stones from the hill fort were taken to Penzance by horse, to repair the pier. Despite being healthy, the horses all died soon after.

Reappearing Skulls

Location: Lake Windermere (Cumbria) - Calgarth Hall
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Sixteenth century?
Further Comments: Belonging to a married farming couple, the skulls came back to haunt the person who framed them for a crime that resulted in their execution. No matter how they were destroyed, the grinning skulls always returned to the hall, until the death of the man they cursed.

Luck of Eden

Location: Langwathby (Cumbria) - Eden Hall (aka Edenhall) - demolished 1934
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Still present (but in the Victoria and Albert museum)
Further Comments: Stolen from fairies by a former butler, the fifteen centimetre tall cup was locked away deep within the house, before being moved to the V&A - a curse placed by the little folk in retaliation for the theft states that if the beaker breaks, so does the Eden Hall's luck. The hall was also reputedly haunted by an elderly lady, who may have been a maid, who had a habit of appearing as a reflection in a mirror.

Falling Branches

Location: Littlecote (Wiltshire) - Elm tree near the Manor House - current state unknown
Type: Curse
Date / Time: Marks a death in the Popham family
Further Comments: When a branch falls from a certain old elm tree near the manor house, a member of the Popham family (former owners of the house) is said to die. If the entire tree falls, a huge tragic event is believed to befall Littlecote.

Returned Rock

Location: Llandrindod (Powys) - Cwmhir Abbey
Type: Curse
Date / Time: 2017
Further Comments: A small piece of rock was returned by an Australian tourist to the abbey, with the man claiming he had suffered a run of bad luck since removing it.

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