Blennerhassett Family Tree
Genealogy one-name study - by Bill Jehan
   Introduction      Arts      Ghost Stories
 
Ghost Stories
 
 
 
 
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
        Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
        As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
" 'Tis some visitor, " I muttered, " tapping at my chamber door -
        Only this, and nothing more. "

And the silken, sad, uncertain, rustling of each purple curtain
        Thrilled me, filled me, with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating, of my heart I stood repeating,
        " 'tis some visitor, entreating, entrance at my chamber door -
Some late visitor, entreating, entrance at my chamber door -
        This it is, and nothing more. "
 
"The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
"Old Blunderhazard" of Barsham, Co.Suffolk
 
 

go to:  Barsham Old Hall, Co.Suffolk
 
go to:  Blennerhassett inscriptions at Barsham, Co.Suffolk
 
 
 
 
 
 
 Drawing of Barsham Hall: courtesy of Ivan Bunn ["Echoes of the Past No.2: Old Blunderhazard"
by Ivan A. W. Bunn, in “Lantern: The Magazine of East Anglian Mysteries” No.26 Summer 1979, p.2]
 
This drawing is based on a rough sketch of Barsham Hall made in 1915 by Mr William Frederick Suckling of Highwood House, Romsey, Hampshire, for <???> whose ["Notes, Letters & Sketches concerning Barsham Hall, compiled 1915/1919" SRO HD 78:1671], including the page on which this sketch is attached, are at Suffolk Record Office, Ipswich.
Suckling based his sketch on an illustration of Barsham Hall appearing on a map of 1719, then in his possession.
 
 
 
 
A Tale of Barsham Hall...
 
Thomas Blennerhassett (b.c1546 d.1599) of Barsham Hall, near Beccles in Co.Suffolk, was the inspiration for a ghostly legend, recorded by David Gurney in 1858, of “Old Blunderhazard” and his coach. Barsham Hall is located about half a mile from the main Beccles-Bungay road, from which it is reached by a gently sloping track along which, according to local legend, the ghost of Old Blunderhazard drives out in a coach and six, just before midnight every Christmas Eve, to visit Hassett's Tower at Norwich, returning to Barsham "...before he may snuff the morning air". The story has the horses without heads, yet fire flashing out of their nostrils. This track was not a part of the old coach road from Barsham to Beccles, along which a coach would reasonably have been expected to proceed on its way to Norwich. That coach road is no longer in use although its route may still be identified.
 
Hassett's Tower, usually called “Cow Tower”, is directly across the River Wensum from the site of Hassett's House (Hassett's Hall), Pockthorpe, Norwich.
 
References:
[“Record of the House of Gournay” by David Gurney 1858]
["Echoes of the Past No.2: Old Blunderhazard" by Ivan A. W. Bunn, in “Lantern: The Magazine of East Anglian Mysteries” No.26 Summer 1979, p.2]
"Old Blunderhazard"
Drawing: courtesy of Ivan Bunn
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Hassett's House (Hassett's Hall)
Pockthorpe, Norwich, Co.Norfolk
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
"Hassett's House circa 1750"
Drawing: courtesy of Ivan Bunn
["Echoes of the Past No.2: Old Blunderhazard" by Ivan A. W. Bunn,
in “Lantern: The Magazine of East Anglian Mysteries” No.27 Autumn 1979, p.9] 
 
 
 
 
Tales of Hassett's House...
 
David Gurney in 1858 recorded a ghostly tale of Hassett's Hall that has strong similarities to a legend of "Old Blunderhazard" of Barsham Hall.
 
“...a strange tale ran that old 'Hassett' often 'rode' in his coach and four over Bishop Gate [bridge], and when his whip cracked, flashes of fire came out which illuminated the whole city...”

He also recorded other tales, told by local people about Hassett's Hall:

“...a old man told that, when he was young, in Hassett's Hall he saw an apparition of a dead body roll across the room...”

“...there was a closet in the mansion that had never been opened, and no-one knew what was there, and the doors of the two rooms had been plastered up, in attempting to open which, two people had been struck blind...” 
 
“…that soldiers working in the [cavalry] barracks hospital, built on the site of Hassetts Hall, often complained of strange spiritual manifestations…”
 
 
 
References:
[“Record of the House of Gournay” by David Gurney 1858]
["Echoes of the Past No.2: Old Blunderhazard" by Ivan A. W. Bunn, in "Lantern: The Magazine of East Anglian Mysteries” No.No.26 Summer 1979, pp.2,3,9 & No.27 Autumn 1979 pp.5-9] 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Map of Norwich showing Hassett's House, Pockthorpe, Hassett's Tower (Cow Tower) & Bishop's Gate Bridge.
Drawing: courtesy of Ivan Bunn
 
["Echoes of the Past No.2: Old Blunderhazard" by Ivan A. W. Bunn,
in “Lantern: The Magazine of East Anglian Mysteries” No.27 Autumn 1979, p.6]
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
Rev. William Blennerhassett of Iwerne Minster, Co.Dorset 
 
 
Rev. William Blennerhassett (b.10-Jul-1800 Elm Grove, Ballyseedy, Co.Kerry - d.27-Apr-1860 Dorset) was Vicar of Iwerne Minster 1832-1860. He built the vicarage c1833, he and his family the first to reside there. In 1860 he committed suicide and was said by some local people to haunt the vicarage.
 
The last vicar of Iwerne, Rev. Rex Wells, had some personal experience of this, telling me that at the rear of the house was an old greenhouse or conservatory "...where the family will not go". Inside this structure was a stone tank or water reservoir, this fed by a natural spring that had once been the water supply for the house. Water ran from the tank to form a pond in the garden, before flowing away as a stream. While drawing water from this well Rev. Wells had distinctly felt other hands touching his own hands, when no-one else was present. He also mentioned that his wife, on hearing any unfamiliar noise, or creaking floorboards at night, would say humourously "...there goes old Blennerhassett". 
 
The tank, also described as a "cellar" so presumably sunk into the ground, was open to view until c1977 when it was sealed, following sale of the vicarage with its large garden to become "Devine House", a boys' boarding house for nearby Clayesmore School. The present vicar of Iwerne Minster, Canon Simon Everett, resides in a new vicarage built in the grounds of the old vicarage c1977.
<add newspaper cutting here...>
 
 
 

 
 
 
"The Ghost of Kilsheelan" 1831
author unknown
 
 
This extract is from "The Ghost of Kilsheelan", a short story set in Co. Tipperary, Ireland, available in full online at Google Books.
 
"...It's something more nor forty, or five-and-forty years ago, that there lived in Kilsheelan, in this very county of Tipperary, a real old genteman - he was one Major Blennerhassett - one of the real old Protestants. None o' your upstarts that come in with Cromwell or Ludlow, or any o' the blackguard biblemen o' them days - for the only difference between a bibleman now, Sir, and the biblemen o' former times, was just this - that Cromwell's biblwmen used to burn us out of house an' home, while the biblemen now only tells us that we are goin' to blazes - so, your honour, you see they were determined to fire us one way or another. Well, as I was telling you, Major Blennerhassett was a real old Protestant, and thoughthe'd curse, an' swear, an' d--n the Papists when he'd be in a passion, the devil a one of him would be ever after turnin' us out of our little holdings, supposin' we were two, or three, or may be five gales in arrear.
 
Now you may be sure that all the boys were distracted one morning, to hear that the Major was found with his throat cut from ear to ear, in a most unhandsome manner. There wasn't a Papist in the parish but knew that he hadn't a hand in it - for the Major was as dead as a door-nail, or Queen Elizabeth. There wasn't a neighbour's child in the entire Barony that wasn't up to the Major's house in no time, to hear 'how the poor master's throat was cut, ' and when they saw him it was plain to be seen that the Major didn't do it himself - for there was the poor right hand cut in two nearly; and such a gash as he had in his throat, they all said, couldn't be given by himself, because the Major, it was well known, wasn't kithogued (left Handed). Besides that, there was the old gold watch gone, an' his bonds, an' what money he had in the house, along with a £500 note..."
 
 
 
"The Ghost of Kilsheelan" appeared in several publications during the early 1830s:
 
"Monthly Magazine" c1831
""The Ghost of Kilsheelan" 1831" vol.29 , 1831, pp.445-453
"The Lady's Book" vol.3, 1831, pp.131-135
"Godey's Magazine" vol.3 1831 p.357
"Whittaker's Magazine" c1832
"The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser" Sat. 10-Mar-1832, p.4
"The Olio: Collected by a Literary Traveller" 1833, pp.187-201
"The Rover" vol.1, 1843, pp.1077-110
 
 
 

 
 
 
"The Red Marble Tank" 1901
by Rosanna "Rose" AiméBlennerhassett (b.1843 d.1907)

Pioneer nursing sister at Umtali, Manicaland, East Africa 1891-1893
 
 
 
Rosanna "Rose" AiméBlennerhassett ("Sister Aimee) was a pioneer nursing sister at Umtali, Manicaland, East Africa.
co-author of "Adventures in Mashonaland by Two Hospital Nurses, Rose Blennerhassett and Lucy Sleeman"
published 1893 and 1894.
 
Two years after the Siege of Kimberley, Rose contributed to "The Diamond Fields Advertiser" of Kimberley,
as a Christmas issue short story, a ghostly horror titled "The Red Marble Tank" by Miss R. A. Blennerhassett
published in their Illustrated Christmas Number, Nov. 1901, pp.32-33.
 
Rosanna "Rose" Aimée Blennerhassett was born 12th May 1843 in Paris of a prominent Irish Roman Catholic family,
baptised on 17th July 1843 at Sainte-Madeleine, Paris.
She had one sibling, her brother Sir Rowland Blennerhassett, Bart. M.P. born 5-Sep-1839 in Ireland.
 
Rose died unmarried 8-Oct-1907 at Carqueiranne, near Hyéres, Provence, France, aged 64.
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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