The following article by Chris Riches and entitled ‘My £10m mansion is haunted by ghost of boy killed more than 300 years ago’ was published in the Express on 27 April 2015.
Phones4U founder John Caudwell, 62, bought the 16th Century, 50-room Grade 1-listed Broughton Hall, near Eccleshall, Staffs, 20 years ago.
But now the father-of-five has revealed the huge property is haunted by the spirit of a terrified boy who died in the 17th century.
The tycoon said: “The little boy was alone in the house.
“All the men had gone out hunting and the Cromwellians came down the drive.
“He shouted: ‘We are for the king’ – and one of the soldiers lifted a musket and shot him dead.
“He fell in the Long Gallery, crawled into one of the bedrooms and bled to death.
“Legend has it that, every so often, those blood stains come oozing through.”
Mr Caudwell – the 42nd richest person in Britain – admitted he has never seen the ghost himself, but other guests who have were left terrified.
He added: “I’ve never seen that, but there’s a strange thing where several women have slept in the room and felt the bed vibrate.
“I was not there at the time.
“There are also stories about this ghost brushing past people on the stairs.
“People who think they are in tune with the spirit world always say they can feel something; but it’s warm, not malevolent.”
Philanthropist Mr Caudwell bought Broughton Hall 20 years ago for £800,000 and it is now worth more than £10 million.
The manor of Broughton was owned by the eponymous Broughton family from the 13th century.
The present house was built in the mid 16th century in the vernacular black and white timbered style of the Elizabethan period.
The estate was sold in 1914 to John Hall, a Midlands industrialist, who extended the property and carried out significant restoration works including the removal of the stucco to reveal the original timbers.
During the 1940s the house served as a school and in 1952 it was donated by the Halls to the nuns of the Franciscan order of St Joseph.
It was abandoned in the 1990s until it was returned to private ownership in 2003.
As well as being haunted, the house is reputedly cursed, the curse being that no elder son will live to inherit it.
Earlier this year Mr Caudwell got the green light to build his own railway, so he can show off to family and friends.
Several women have felt the bed vibrate. I was not there at the time
The three-mile track will take guests past the estate’s tennis court and indoor swimming pool, through the large gardens and then round the parkland attached to the property.
Mr Caudwell admitted: “It’s a mad idea – crackpot really.
“I’ll probably only use the railway two or three times a year but I’ve had a fascination with steam trains since I was a boy.”
Mr Caudwell founded Phones4U in 1996 before selling the business for £1.47 billion in 2006.
While at his mansion in 2010, he was clubbed with an iron bar and his girlfriend Claire Johnson, 45, assaulted by masked robbers.
The raiders escaped with hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of cash and jewellery in the raid which left Mr Caudwell with a deep gash to his head.