The collection of ghost stories known as ‘The Ingoldsby Legends’ were written by Rev Richard Harris Barham (Born 6 December 1788 – Died17 June 1845) under the psuedonymn of Thomas Ingoldsby of Tappington Manor. His son wrote about his life which included the following experience concerning the Grade II listed Brundon Hall taken from Rev Barham’s diary. The experience also appeared in ‘The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain’ by John Ingram (1897) from which the following extract is taken.
Barham states that the story is current in the Carter family, of which his first wife was a member, and that it was told to him by Dr. Roberts:
“One day,” proceeds his narrative, “about the year 1785, two lads, one of whom was the uncle of the lady in question, were playing in the large hall of Brundon Hall, a mansion situated on the borders of Suffolk,” and at that time the property of the Carters, but which afterwards passed into the possession of the Hurrells. The attention of the boys was suddenly caught by the opening of a door, usually kept locked, which led to the more ancient part of the landing; and they were more astonished still by the appearance of a strange lady dressed in blue satin, who slowly walked towards the great staircase, stamped three times on a large slab of blue stone which lay at the foot, and then, continuing her walk across the hall, disappeared through a door opposite the one by which she had entered. The boys, more puzzled than frightened, left off playing, and ran and told Mrs. Carter, the mistress of the house, and the mother of the narrator’s (Mr. Roberts’) uncle. She immediately fainted. Subsequently she told her son that the apparition had been frequently seen by other members of the family, and that there was a very dreadful story connected with it which, however, she declined to communicate. Some years afterwards, the house having, I believe, changed hands in the interval, certain repairs were undertaken, in the course of which the entrance to a large vault was discovered, concealed by the stone upon which the lady in blue satin had stamped. On examination two skeletons were found below; a gold bracelet was on the arm of one, and gold spurs were lying near the feet of the other. In addition, a goblet having some dark-coloured sediment at the bottom, supposed to be blood, was found in a recess in the wall, and a considerable quantity of infants’ skulls and bones were heaped up in one corner. Lastly, a considerable sum in gold coin was brought to light.”
The present representative of the Hurrells informs me that he is ignorant of the tradition attaching to Brundon Hall; but he adds that a pair of antique spurs and a sword were directed by his great grandfather in his will to be preserved as heirlooms in the family.
How far this coincidence may be thought to corroborate the story of the well-known Sudbury apparition, afterwards to be referred to, must be left to the reader to decide.