Easington Hall was the seat of the Overton family and although I don’t know exactly where it was in Easington, I have come across a reference to it being on the principle street in the village. According to ‘Haunted Hull and East Riding: 25 ghost stories for Halloween’ (Hull Daily Mail on 31October 2014). ‘Easington Hall was said to be the most haunted house in the county before it was demolished in 1887. It was claimed that milk in the dairy turned into blood, and one guest is reported to have heard the footsteps of “many beasts” tramping up and down a staircase all night.’
In ‘County Folk-Lore Volume VI – Examples of Printed Folk-Lore Concerning The East Riding Of Yorkshire (1911)’, Eliza Glutch prints a letter which is probably one of the earliest accounts of this tale. The following is an extract of the letter between Edmund Spencer (Chaplain to Colonel Robert Overton of Easington Hall) and Richard Baxter. It dates from 26 July 1673.
‘Rev. Sir, At the request of my good friend Mr. Saunders,.
I send you here an account of those things which I heard and saw in Yorkshire, whereof he saith he gave you some account when you were at Iroton. About 17 years agoe I went down Chaplain into Yorkshire to Esqr. Overton of Easington, in Holdernes, upon his having marryed a Gentlewoman in Leicestershire, of my acquaintance Soon after’my coming to his house, I was informed by some of the inhabitants of the town, that his house was haunted against the death of any of the family and was at that time disturbed. We had been there but a few nights, but the servants began to talk in the day time of noises they had Jieard in the night. I was loath to believe it was anything but the Greyhounds walking up and down the garret, and told them sure it must be so. I heard a rush like noise severall times my self, and I resolved at last to be satisfyed whether it was the dogs or no. In order thereto I stayed up with the boy late one night, and having turned out all the dogs I lock the door, and tooke the keys into my chamber. That night the noise in the garret was more than ordinary, such a jumping and lumbering, as if the floor would come down on my head.
The rooms commonly said to be disturbed were the garret, and three chambers, betwixt which and the family, I lodged. I heard frequently in the night as if a person came up the back stairs into those rooms, and walked up and down the next roome to me, and when it went down stairs it was as if a woman descended, and her coats swept the stairs. An old servant told me they have some seldome times seen the spirit, and that it was in the likenes of a maid of the family whom their old mr. not permitting to marry one she was deeply in love with, she pin’d away and dyed, and that this disturbance in the house had been from her death.
Against the death of the Gentleman’s mother, a servant who then lived there, told me that they filling the copper with water overnight in order to brewing, in the morning, it was blood and could not be used, and their milk was spotted with blood severall nights. The last was also when I lived there: the Gentlewoman calling me one morning to see it I told her surely it must be the cats lapping with bloody tongues. She replied that could not be, since it was further than it was possible for them to reach, and more than it can be supposed a cat’s tongue should bleed while lapping; we resolved to see how it would be if closely covered, and the next evening she ordered all the milk to be put into one larg vessel, which with our own hands we closely covered, and locked the door, and she tooke the key up with her to bed. In the morning when she was about to go in, she was pleased to call me, and the milk was as bloody as any time before, and the inside of the vessel the spots were bigger and less, and the largest as broad as a silver twopence.
The fame of the house being haunted made it difficult for us to get any servants good for anything ; and when we had them, they would stay but awhile. A new maid being hired was set to brew. In the day time she heard a groaning in the celler under her. There being a hole in the floor, she puts her head to see if there were anybody in the celler, when she heard 3 hideous groans, which extremely affrighted her, as appear’d by her countenance and trembhng. This maid having been hired a good way of had not heard of the house being haunted.
This last was about two years after I was in the family, and then Colonel Overton dyed at Seaton in Rutland, that day that noon, that the maid heard the groans in the celler and as far as I could gather at that instant, above 80 miles distant. I lived afterwards there three years, but heard no more disturbance within the house.
A person related to the family, and of the same name, a vicious man, dyed about eight years before I knew the town. At the instant of his expiring (as I was credibly informed by many) a spirit set up a bellowing under the window, and ran up the street into the Church-yard at the end of it, continuing his hideous noise all along till it came thither, and ever since the death of that person, that if any dyed in that street, the spirit made the noise under there window, and ran up so into the Church-yard, and was sometimes met in one shape, sometimes in another. Our washer-woman (they told me one day as we were at dinner) had in the night seen and heard the spirit, and was so affrighted that she kept her bed. I urged it might be onely the strength of her imagination, and that I would not beheve there was any such spirit unles I heard it myself. That very night, we being three of the family, and a gentleman of the next, sat up till one o’clock, and in severall parts of the house, the gentleman and a young lady his mistress upon the stair case, two maids by the kitchen fire fast asleep, I in my study. A spirit came under my study window, and fetched such a groan, as no creature I ever saw could make so loud a noise. It awakened the maids, affrighted the Gentleman and his mistress, set the dogs on howHng and trembUng, and I thought it might have been heard four or five miles, and yet none heard it but we five. That night a poor blind fellow of the town dyed. It was like his voice, but louder than it was possible for him to grown.’