Clifton Hall is a Georgian style Grade I listed building and ancestral home of the Clifton family. The building recently attracted a reputation in the national media of being haunted after Anwar Rashid, the millionaire owner of Clifton Hall and his family fled the premises, apparently driven out by its ghosts. On 21 September 2008, Sky News covered the story in an article entitled Millionaire Flees Haunted House.
Anwar Rashid, 32, described how he, his wife and their four young children lived in fear after they began hearing screams in the corridors shortly after moving into Clifton Hall.
They also claim to have seen apparitions and heard knocking on the wall of the 17-bedroom mansion in Nottinghamshire.
But it was the sight of blood spots on their 18-month-old son’s bed clothes that finally forced the family to abandon their luxury home, Mr Rashid said, comparing his experience to Nicole Kidman’s film The Others.
“We were like the family in The Others. The ghosts didn’t want us to be there and we could not fight them because we couldn’t see them,” he said.
“The day we moved in we had our first experience. We sat down in the evening to relax and there was a knock on the wall. We heard: ‘Hello, is anyone there?’
“We ignored it the first time but two minutes later we heard the man’s voice again. I got up to have a look but the doors were locked and the windows were closed.
“On another occasion my wife went downstairs to make milk for the baby at 5am and she saw our eldest daughter watching television.
“She said her name but she wouldn’t respond. My wife realised something was up, so she went back upstairs to check on her and found her fast asleep in her bed.
“When we found red blood spots on the baby’s quilt, that was the day my wife said she’d had enough. We didn’t even stay that night. It was the last straw, we felt that they had come to attack us. It was really emotional.”
The ‘This is Nottingham Website’ on 20 September 2008 took the story further in an article entitled ‘Evil ghosts forced us out our £3.6m mansion’.
‘Businessman Anwar Rashid says that they fled Clifton Hall after hearing screams in passageways late at night.
They also say that they saw mysterious figures in bedrooms and blood spots appeared on his baby’s clothes.
When he tried and failed to sell the 17-bedroom home in Clifton Village, he stopped paying the mortgage so the Yorkshire Bank were forced to repossess.
It is thought to be the most expensive home in Notts to be repossessed.
Mr Rashid says the home, which he shared with his wife and four young children, his brother and his parents, was plagued by evil spirits.
“We didn’t have a choice, we had to move out,” he said.
A paranormal investigation team said the hall was the “most active” place they had ever seen.
Team leader Lee Roberts said: “It is the only place where I’ve ever really been scared, even in the light.
“It’s just got a really eerie feeling about it.”
Mr Rashid, who owns a chain of nursing homes, added: “I never believed in stuff like this before, but I do now. My family’s safety had to come before everything else.”
Andy Dolan of the Daily Mail wrote on 21st September 2008 ‘When businessman Anwar Rashid bought the 52-room Clifton Hall, he thought it complemented his millionaire lifestyle perfectly.
But Mr Rashid yesterday claimed his family was left so terrorised by a series of ghostly sightings he had to give up the property to his bank, only eight months after being handed the keys.
The final straw was the appearance of apparently unexplained blood spots on their 18-month-old son’s bed clothes.
Mr Rashid, 32, compared his experience to the 2001 horror film The Others. In the film, which stars Nicole Kidman, a family is apparently forced out of their country home by ghosts.
Mr Rashid said: ‘Clifton Hall is a beautiful property. I fell for its beauty but behind the facade it is haunted. We were like the family in The Others. The ghosts didn’t want us to be there.’
He said the first experience came hours after the family moved in.
‘There was a knock on the wall,’ he said. ‘We heard this, “Hello, is anyone there?”.
‘Two minutes later we heard the man’s voice again. I got up to have a look but the doors were locked and the windows were closed.’
Mr Rashid, wife Nabila, 25, and their four children bought the house in Clifton, Nottinghamshire, in November 2006.
The family moved in two months later, along with Mr Rashid’s brother and their parents.
Mr Rashid, who is worth £25million and made his money through a chain of nursing homes and a hotel in Dubai, said the house then remained quiet for several months until one of the maids said she saw a grey figure sitting on her bed.
He claimed that things began to get really scary when the ghosts started to take on the form of his children.
‘On one occasion my wife went downstairs to make milk for the baby at 5am and she saw our eldest daughter watching TV,’ the businessman added.
‘My wife realised something was up, so she went back upstairs to check on her and found her fast asleep in bed. When we found red blood spots on the baby’s quilt, that was the day my wife said she’d had enough. We didn’t even stay that night.’
The hall, which dates back to the Norman Conquest, has 17 bedrooms, ten reception rooms, ten bathrooms, a gym and a cinema.
Charles I stayed briefly in 1632. According to legend, a woman dressed in white jumped from a window to her death, while tunnels in the grounds were said to have been used by Satanists.
The family moved out of the house in August last year and Mr Rashid found he could not sell it.
He then stopped paying the mortgage in January 2008 ‘as a last resort’ so that the bank would eventually repossess, which happened on Thursday.
In an effort to drive the spirits from the mansion, Mr Rashid called in the Ashfield Paranormal Investigation Network, based in nearby Sutton-in-Ashfield.
Lee Roberts, team leader of the network and a serving police officer, said: ‘Clifton Hall is the only place where I’ve ever really been scared. It’s just got a really eerie feeling about it.’
He said two of his team fainted after independently seeing the same ghost of a boy.
Mr Rashid had planned to open the hall for weddings, but failed to obtain a licence. He denied suggestions he had made up the ghost stories because he couldn’t pay his mortgage as a result of the failure of his business plan.
The hall was intended primarily as a family home, he said.
Mr Rashid now lives in the Wollaton area of Nottingham. He said he had never believed in ghosts until his experience at Clifton Hall.
Darren Brookes, whose security firm previously guarded the hall for five years, said some of his staff ‘refused point-blank’ to work there.
He said they reported sightings such as a monk walking through the grounds, a woman in the graveyard falling over, and chairs moving in one of the rooms.
Mr Brookes, of Sovereign Security UK, said: ‘I’ve often put officers who know absolutely nothing about the house in there – and after a night on duty they have quit.’
The Clifton family became the lords of the manor of Clifton during the 13th century when the manor was bought be Sir Gervase Clifton. During these early years Clifton Hall is thought to have been a fortified tower house and its position by the River Trent was a good defensible position.
Over the centuries the house has been extended and remodeled many times. Such as when Sir Gervase Clifton, 1st Baron Clifton (born 1586 – died 28 June 1666 ) had the stables extended for the 1632 visit of King Charles I. The current house was designed by John Carr for Sir Gervase Clifton, 6th Baron Clifton (born 1744- died 1815) High Sheriff of Nottinghamshire and the construction work was done between 1778 and 1797.
Following World War II Nottingham City Corporation issued compulsory purchase orders buying most of the Clifton family estate and in 1958 Lieutenant Colonel Peter Thomas Clifton DSO (born 24 January 1911) sold off the house which then opened as Clifton Hall Girls Grammar School. This school closed in 1976 and Clifton Hall was then used by Trent Polytechnic until the early 2000’s when it passed again into private ownership.