The Hall original old hall has stood for over 400 years, built around the late 1600s and was home to the Haden family for centuries. In 1877, George Alfred Haden Haden-Best inherited the estate from his uncle, Frederic W. G. Barrs, known as the Squire. Haden-Best originally intended to demolish the old Haden Hall as he didn’t want to live in the old house following his strict upbringing from his parents and build the more lavish Victorian mansion as his home.
But his elderly Aunt, widow of the Squire, lived in the hall, and by the time she died in 1903 he had lost the will to demolish Haden Hill old hall, so the two buildings remained side by side. George Alfred lived in Haden Hill House with two local girls, Emily Bryant and Alice Cockin, who became his adopted daughters. They were the children of local families, and he took them into his home and bought them up as his own.
They were given an upper class lifestyle. Emily remained with Mr Best until his death in 1921. Alice married John Shaw, a local doctor, and they lived in Haden Hall for a while. Another story which has been told about the residents of the Old Hall was that of a Reverend Barrs, who married into the Haden family.He was a very stern, strict and aggressive man, Rumor has it that he dropped a child out of the window of the Old Hall and the child died.
I have tried researching this story and even though I have found information about a Reverend George Barrs marrying into the Haden family I haven’t found any information on a child being killed there.
In the last hundred years, Haden Hall and House have both been used as a refuge for evacuees in World War II and a shelter during bombing raids.
The newer Victorian mansion is now internally designed as it would have been back in the days of the Haden family, although unfortunately there isn’t much of the original furnishings of the home, the museum is brilliantly alike.
The Old Hall however, very regretfully is now a mere shell of its original Tudor magnificence. The hall had been near destroyed by fire some years ago and although has been restored, the hall now sits completely empty with nothing more than its plaster walls and beautiful oak floors.
There has been an abundance of reports of paranormal activity occurring at the Old Hall for a long time. From not only the sound of footsteps on the old wooden floorboards, but also the capturing of EVP’s and ghostly sightings within the Old Hall grounds.
One of which believed to haunt at Haden Hill Old Hall is the ghost of Annie Eliza Haden. Reports say she never married or had children. She lived her life at Haden and passed as the last in line of the original Haden Family. Other hauntings reported are that of the wooded area towards the lower of the Haden Hall grounds, sometimes referred to as Nursery Wood, this is associated with the sightings of the ghost of Eleanor, a beautiful young woman in her mid-ages lived at nearby Hayseech Mill.
The tragic story of Eleanor's love for a monk from Halesowen is reputedly based on fact. The parents of Eleanor and the Abbot of the abbey tried to prevent the lovers from being together but they both escaped, using a secret passage. However they were later caught and following his capture the Monk was walled up alive in the passage. Down the centuries, the ghost of Eleanor has supposedly been seen gliding through the wood searching for her lost love.
With such an array of Paranormal Reports surrounding Haden Hall, myself and my team just had to get in there to investigate. Following access agreements from the wonderful Friends of Haden Hall, we had the chance to first of all meet up and have a look around the Old Hall and then on other dates carry out Overnight Ghost Hunt Events.
On our initial meet with a member of the Friends of Haden Hill to show us around the Old Hall, I carried with me a voice recorder just to capture our discussions so I could remember all the historical information given to me, and also my partner carried with him a camcorder.
We spent merely 10-15 minutes having a quick look around the hall. The layout being very confusing with stairs, corridors and rooms leading all over the place. Mr Haden’s plans for the building being very obviously not complete as there are windows actually situated internally, between floors??
Whilst on the car journey home I decided to have a quick listen to my recorder, just out of interest and was totally amazed to clearly hear the voice of a young girl, merely a child, saying “Hello”.
It was clear as day and at this point I will mention that the only people present on the walk around was myself, my partner (adult male), and 2 members of the Friends of Haden Hill (1 adult male and the other adult female). This voice was very child-like and female, most definitely not myself or the other female present.
This capture most totally intrigued me, I had to get back in there and with the rest of our equipment. We quickly advertised a Ghost Hunt Event there and was thankfully able to attend again in a short amount of time. We setup our Night Vision CCTV cameras, we had EVP recorders positioned around the rooms of the Old Hall and also set out trigger objects.
We carried around with us K2 Meters, IR thermometers, and even more EVP recorders. One of the first things we noticed about the Old Hall was that it seemed significantly colder inside the hall than it did actually outside. On initially setting up the equipment prior to the guests arriving at the venue, Gaz setup up one of the EVP recorders in one of the main rooms. You can hear on the recording that the room is empty and you can hear Gaz’s footsteps as he has placed the recorder and was walking away.
Within a minute or two the quite eerie voice of a man can be heard saying what we believe is the word “Innocent”. Could this possibly be the declaration of Reverend Barrs proclaiming that the stories of him were not true. We carried out group investigations and also allowed our guests to investigate alone. Within one group investigation we sat in a circle again in the same main hall and my partner actually sat in a cupboard alone filming us.
We called out and asked any spirits to interact with Gaz in the cupboard, which I found quite amusing, and at this exact time myself and all the guests in the circle all heard what sounded like a menacing growl. Unfortunately this was not captured on the recorder, but was definitely heard by all of us. I also took some interesting still photos on my phone. 2 consecutive photos show a shot down the room being completely clear and then the next same shot having what appears to be a black mist in front of me.
Following the Ghost Hunt Event when we reviewed all the footage and EVP recorders, we were shocked to find a recording of what appears to be a man shouting, his actual words unclear, but he was loud and then a few minutes later a woman shouting, again words unclear, had we interrupted a domestic? And then on another recorder I was doubly shocked to come across that same sweet young child voice telling us “I’m in here”.
This empty Old Hall to me appears to still have it old residents still lingering. It is definitely one of my favorite venues to investigate and the little girl definitely wants to interact and grab our attention.