DATE – 22/02/2019
LOCATION – BRADGATE PARK
After charging the camera batteries and clearing my memory cards, it was time to head towards Leicestershire in pursuit of that addictive historic and ghostly fix! I’m starting to make this trip more and more often, working at Bosworth Hall and the Haunted Antiques with the HauntedLIVE team, and now teaming up with the awesome Vicky Grant of DeadxCentral. In fact, this is one of the locations that she herself is drawn to, and one that she said I just had to visit! It is of course – Bradgate Park Ruins.
I’ve never set foot on this stunning landscape, I was excited to see what it had in store, after hearing so much about it I did wonder whether it could live up to my expectations, but in truth, after visiting, I’m happy to admit that it far surpassed them. The day as whole was a fantastic experience, I’ve since moaned about my aching legs, which I do blame on Vicky after all that walking, but at least I ‘accidentally’ dropped my coffee on her in return!
If you’ve ever been to Bradgate then the first thing you’ll notice is the picturesque drive through the surrounding areas. As you pull in to the car park you are met with steep banks of aging trees, rock littered fields and a beautifully serene brook. I’ll say it now, even if you aren’t into the paranormal or don’t have an interest in the historic past, then it’s still worth visiting! The building of the first house was completed in 1520 by Thomas Grey. The Grey family then continued to reside here for the next 220 years, with a future Queen – Lady Jane Grey being born here. In fact, it’s her spirit that is said to still reside here. She would only serve as Queen for nine days before being overthrown by Mary I. She was then subsequently executed in 1553, and it’s said that her spirit returned home to the safety of her family’s estate. A year after her execution her father suffered the same fate, to which the estate then went to the Crown. In my opinion, the pain and anger that this may have caused could well be the catalyst for many of the hauntings occurring on the land.
Unfortunately, this visit wasn’t really an opportunity to investigate, especially as we had an unusually warm and sunny day for the end of February! The park was full of visitors; therefore, we made our way straight to the 16th Century house ruins! They sit pretty much in the centre of the park itself. Your mind races and tries to complete the missing parts to the ruins, whilst imagining what it would have looked like all those years ago. We walked the outskirts of the ruin, whilst photographing certain areas as Vicky told me stories and experiences from when she was younger. It was already clear why she loves this place so much, and as I looked through the camera it was almost impossible to take a bad photo (Although you may disagree…)
After showing me the main part of the original house, which includes an intact chapel, we started what I can only describe as a never-ending walk up the side of a mountain! Ok, it’s not a mountain, but it is the highest point in the park and it’s one hell of a climb! We didn’t do this for fun of course, as sat on the peak of this unforgiving mound is an absolute work of historic art. I’m of course referring to Old John. Built by the Greys in in the early 1780’s, Old John is a hilltop folly that was erected in memory of an old estate worker that died in tragic circumstances during a bonfire accident. It looks like a stand-alone tower from the corner of a castle, perfectly designed sitting proud and picturesque amongst the huge plains of green. The building has had many uses since it’s birth, including being used in the 19th century as a watch tower for horse racing-practice. It really was a surprise seeing Old John, I’d never even heard about it let alone seen it, so to have been able to get up close and experience it in such beautiful conditions really was a pleasure!
Standing on the top of the hill I was able to capture some fantastic shots of the park. It’s only when you reach the highest point that you can truly admire and appreciate what Bradgate is all about. We were lucky as it was such a warm and clear day, but the darker side of me can just imagine the wind and rain sweeping everything in its path and the energy that it could create. I’m sure the stories that have played out near Old John are far ranging, and one day we hope to return to see if we can document some of its 230+ year history.
As we started our descent, Vicky couldn’t help but tell me more about her recent visits and experiences at the park. The place just engulfs you, both physically and mentally, it holds so much energy and you can feel it as you walk its open expanse. From what I personally experienced, it’s almost like there are a multitude of locations all set into the same surrounding, with the ruins, Old John and then the woods. They all hold their own history all with their own stories to tell, yet somehow combining to form a larger and more important picture. I can only imagine what it would have been like back in the 1500s when the first parts to the house were put together. There would have been a huge sense of pride from the Grey family, it was one of the first great unfortified houses in the country. It’s a real gem, and I’m happy that there are still parts of it that remain standing to this day.
As you slowly make your way back flanked by the huge tree-lined banks, it’s as if you are making your way through time. After experiencing the beauty and history that the park encases, you start joining the crowds on the path and follow the brook back to the main entrance. I know that we didn’t even cover half of what Bradgate has to offer, but from what I saw and experienced, I just know that at some point in the future I’ll have to return!
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank Vicky of the DeadxCentral Blog for guiding me and making fun of my struggles up that HUGE hill! She was right, this place is amazing and it’s down to her that I now have some stunning images of a new location here on Haunted Insight! Also, if you don’t already, then go and subscribe to DeadxCentral so that you don’t miss any blog updates and news! We hope to be bringing you plenty of paranormal content between Haunted Insight and DeadxCentral as we travel and explore throughout the year!
It's safe to say that this is to be continued...
James - Haunted Insight
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