Brownsover Hall Hotel
Brownsover Hall Hotel is a Grade II listed 19th century mansion house with a reputation of being haunted. The original house is associated with the Boughton (of Lawford Hall) and Leigh families. Sir Theodosius Edward Allesley Boughton, 7th Baronet (Born 1760 – Died 29 August 1780) was allegedley poisoned at Lawford Hall with ‘laurel water’ or ‘laurel leaf essence’ by his brother-in-law, Captain John ‘Diamond’ Donellan (Died 2 April 1781 ), wife of Theodosia Anna Maria Boughton (Died 14 January 1830 ). Following the execution of Captain Donellan, Theodosia married Rev Sir Egerton Leigh, 2nd Baronet (Born 25 March 1762 – Died 27 April 1818) and they lived at Brownsover Hall. Their son died at aged 13, so their daughter Theodosia de Malsburgh Leigh (Born 1792 – Died 1870) and her husband John Ward (later Ward-Boughton-Leigh) (Born 1790 – Died 18 June 1868 ) inherited the estate.
The Hall, though rebuilt 1850 and again in 1890 was the home of the Ward-Boughton-Leigh family until 1936, when it became the home of Air Commodore Sir Frank Whittle (Born 1 June 1907 – Died 9 August 1996) inventor of the turbojet engine, who stayed there until 1942.
According to the Telegraph, [16 October 2004] ‘The Gothic-looking Brownsover Hall in Old Brownsover, near Rugby, is said to be haunted by a member of the Broughton-Leigh family who had his hand severed during the reign of Elizabeth I. Despite attempts to exorcise the ghost in 1755, “one-handed Broughton” has been reported to roam the grounds at night, groaning audibly.’ The story of One-handed Boughton has its origins at Lawford Hall where his ghost was exorcised by Parson Hall around 1755. The spirit was trapped in a bottle and disposed of near Lawford Hall. In 1815 a bottle thought to hold One-handed Boughton was found in a pool by Lawford Hall and for a while was placed on display before being returned to the Boughtons’ then at Brownsover following Lawford’s demolision. One account suggests that the family locked the bottle away in a room, the door of which would open of its own accord. According to tradition the family buried the bottle near Brownsover under a layer of concrete when they sold the house.
Note: Power Jets Ltd rented rooms at the Hall from July 1940. The World Billiard Championship was hosted at Brownsover Hall in 1980.