Ghost story of the day: Sinister Swinsty Hall

The eerie entrance to the Swinsty Hall. Credit: Haunted Harrogate
The eerie entrance to the Swinsty Hall. Credit: Haunted Harrogate

Swinsty hall is no doubt a majestic and historical gem, but the grand estate in the valley of Washburn holds a spooky secret...

The hall dates back to the 16th Century and can be found in the picturesque parish of Otley, high up on the right bank of Swinsty Reservoir.

But while it may sit in scenic surroundings, the hall is subject to a hair-raising rumour that it is haunted by a ghost so troubled by his past that he terrorizes anyone who dare step foot near the plagued property.

The story features a man named Robinson who grew up in a humble cottage not far from where the hall stands and worked as a weaver making a poor living.

William Grainge, a Yorkshire based antiquarian, historian and author of The History of the Timbles and Snowden spoke of the Swinsty legend in the 19th century.

He said: "This young man left his humble home, travelled to London at a time when the plague was raging in that city; when death had left many houses totally uninhabited and desolate, wherein no survivors were left to bury the dead, and no heirs to claim their wealth."

With the now thriving capital city on the brink of extinction, Robinson saw an opportunity like no other...

Looting the houses of the dead, he took possession of their gold and other valuables, loading up a wagon and team of horses ready to head home with his new found wealth.

But upon returning to his hometown, the fear of the bubonic plague that had wiped throughout the southern city had followed Robinson north.

No friend or neighbour that he had once grown up with would allow him to take rest in their home and Robinson was forced to find his own place.

With nowhere to stay, he used his stolen wealth to buy a nearby estate and build the Swinsty hall that stands today.

In order to protect himself from both the bubonic plague and the ghosts of the dead victims, whose gold he had stolen, plaguing his mind, Robinson washed the gold in the Greenwell Spring.

The spring is still there today and at certain times, his ghostly apparition can be seen frantically rubbing the gold coins, forever unsatisfied that he is free from it's taint...

Each day this week we will be bringing you spooktacular tales from around Harrogate and the District in collaboration with Haunted Harrogate - keep a look out for the Ghost Story of the Day.

For more spine-chilling stories and horrifying history, visit the Haunted Harrogate Facebook page.