Shopping for a bosky little getaway in the United Kingdom? You might want to get in touch with Vivian Rees in Chichester, West Sussex:
Rees and her husband now live in a grade II-listed, three-bedroomed thatched cottage built in the 1700s on the remains of a 12th-century leprosy hospital, which later became an alms house for the poor. The cottage, now for sale, incorporates some of the original hospital structure.‘When the lepers died, they buried them in the grounds around what was then the hospital. When the cottage was rebuilt, they did find bodies,’ Rees says.
More than 300 lepers were buried in the grounds at 115 Swanfield Drive – but Mrs Rees says there are no ghosts. Nor is she scared of the large tombstone laid flat in the back garden by the pond. ‘We’ve never tried digging it up,’ she says. ‘We’ve got a big well in the garden as well, but as far as we know, there aren’t any bodies down there either. The history adds to the charm of it. There are definitely no ghosts here – or if there are, they are only friendly ones.’
I’m sure. Still, when the property is listing for the equivalent of about 700 grand in Bushbucks, you might want to keep looking.
Hey, how about this place?
Orchardton House, a massive 50-room mansion in Dumfries, west Scotland, was a hospital for wounded soldiers during the Second World War. And rumour has it that there’s one of them still wandering around.
‘As I understand there was, or is, a ghost that stems back to when it was a military convalescent hospital, although we’re not sure if it was a nurse or a soldier,’ says Nick Wright, from Buccleuch John Sale, the agent selling the property. Wright says he has not seen the ghost, but that there is a room in one of the five spiral turrets which is ‘considerably colder than all the other rooms, no matter what time of year it is. There’s no real explanation for why that is.’
The property, which was built in 1881, is set in five and a half acres of gardens and includes 18 bedrooms and two self-contained flats over four floors. It also has its own cinema. ‘It’s quite austere as a property,’ says Wright. ‘It’s not exactly pretty but very gothicky, which has its own attraction.’
That one’s a bit over a million in Bushbucks, but any house with spiral turrets and its own cinema, along with a chilly haunted room, has something to recommend it.
This has been your Halloween real estate report.