Dolesden Lane, Turville
The apparition of a young woman is thought to haunt Dolesden Lane in Turville. According to the Luton Paranormal website ‘One witness was pushing his bicycle along the road when he saw someone approaching. It was a bright, moonlit night and he could clearly see that she was wearing old-fashioned clothes. As she approached he could hear the rustle of her skirt. Not wanting to frighten her, as it was late at night, he walked past her without acknowledging that she was there. As they passed he thought that it might have been reassuring for her if he had raised his cap and wished her goodnight. He turned round but there was no one there, yet he could still hear the rustling of her skirt. She was also seen by two other residents of Turville on a dark night. A man and his wife were walking down the lane when they saw ‘something’ pass them by and they could hear the rustling of a silk dress. They turned to see what it was but there was nothing there.’
It has been suggested that the apparition is the ghost of the Henley on Thames poisoner, Mary Blandy who on 6 April 1752 was hanged for the murder of her father. Mary was known to visit Mrs Pocock of Turville Court by Dolesden Lane. In fact one day Mary’s mother became ill and feverish whilst they were visiting Mrs Pocock and they stayed there for several days until she was well enough to travel. According to the Newgate Calendar Mrs Blandy called out for Captain Cranstoun who was also implicated in Mary’s parricide. ‘In the height of her disorder, which was a violent fever, she cried “Let Cranstoun be sent for.” He was then with the regiment at Southampton; but, her request being complied with, she no sooner saw him than she raised herself on the pillow, and hung around his neck repeatedly exclaiming “My dear Cranstoun, I am glad you are come; I shall now grow well soon!” So extravagant was her fondness, that she insisted on having him as her nurse; and he actually administered her medicines. On the following day she grew better; on which she said “This I owe to you, my dear Cranstoun; your coming has given me new health and fresh spirits. I was fearful I should die, and you not here to comfort that poor girl. Flow like death she looks!”
The current Turville Court was built in 1847 to replace the early building built by Robert Doyley in 1635, which is likely to have been the one visited the Blandy family. Turville Court is private property.
North East of Turville Court is Churchfield Wood where Mary Blandy is also said to haunt.
However, we must ask whether it is justified to link Mary with the apparition just because we know she visited a property on Dolesden Lane?