I really don’t understand why it takes me so long to get round to reading my copy of Phenomena Magazine when it arrives in my Inbox every month. Phenomena never fails to feature some cracking articles and March’s is no exception. Steve and Dave do a great job bringing out such an interesting publication month after month – and it’s free! If you don’t have yours yet, download it at www.phenomenamagazine.co.uk.
I was especially interested in the article about UPIA’s investigation at Gawsworth in Cheshire. This is a well-known haunted house-church-rectory combination, with an apparition who is said to wander round all three, as well as each edifice having its own ghost or ghosts. The village is only about 45 minutes away from me here in North-East Wales adn I keep meaning to visit it. Indeed last year I was all set to do so one Sunday then realised that by the time I got there the Hall would soon be closing for the day.
I first learnt about Gawsworth in a book called ‘Pilgrimages in Cheshire and Shropshire’ published in 1901. It’s the first of a series describing the cycling trips to old mansions, abbeys etc by a witty Manchester writer rejoicing in the name of Fletcher Moss. He was accompanied by a keen amateur photographer, the Hon James Watts, who preferred to be known simply as ‘X’. His photos add a great deal to the enjoyment of the books. I reproduce his photo of Gawsworth Hall here. Splendid looking old place, isn’t it?
The ‘Pilgrimage to Old Homes’ books were self-published by Moss from his Didsbury home until his death in 1920. The final, rather scarce, book was published posthumously. They’re beautifully produced and highly entertaining: imagine antiquarian guidebooks written by Jerome K Jerome, and you can get a flavour of them.
I shan’t spoil Dave Sadler’s article by telling what did or did not happen during his visit. I just know it’s high time I visited this olde worlde corner of England for myself. The Hall re-opens in May, so that’s a date for my diary.