The Haunting At Pinfold Farm continued……


I think my mum must have been talking to children at Acocks Green Junior School about her life in Yardley as a child, this seems to be a response to a letter from one of the pupils…..

                                                                                                Acocks Green


                                                                                                                                                                                               1st November 1985

Dear Ranjit,

            Thank you for your letter which Mr. Griffiths passed on to me.

Yes I did live at Penfold Farm, as it was correctly known, a long time ago. A penfold is an enclosed grass area (or pen) where stray animals such as sheep, cows or the occasional horse are enclosed safely (or folded) when they escape from the field or yard where they belong. The owner of the animals can then collect them after payment of a small fee to the owner of the penfold. 

I have enclosed a photograph of the house which is some three hundred years old. Notice the blocked in windows. This was done a very long time ago to avoid paying a window tax.

My great aunt Ann Maria, and my great uncle William were the two members of the family I best remember (apart from my mother) and it was Ann Maria who was said to have been doing the haunting. When my mother (who was Amelia Mansfield before her marriage) died in the early 1950s, the house and land was sold and a new owner moved in. Almost immediately they complained that they felt uneasy in the house and even in the garden, and they were aware of being watched by unfriendly eyes. Strange white markings appeared on the black, stone floor in the kitchen, (I saw these myself.) A strange feeling of malevolence permeated the whole place. One night the man of the house stood at the foot of the stairs intending to go to bed, when, on the landing at the head of the stairs he saw the figure of a woman in a long black dress and white blouse with a high collar. Her hair was piled high on her head, and she was leaning on two sticks and looking very angry and threatening.

He was extremely frightened and contacted my mother, who realised that the figure he saw must have been Ann Maria. She was extremely arthritic and could only shuffle along with the aid of two sticks. After much discussion, a psychic society was contacted, and five members spent a night in the house exhorting the ghost to quit the premises and leave the owners in peace. Apparently, this was a successful operation as no-one ever saw the ghost again, and the atmosphere of extreme hostility completely disappeared.

The other story I know of that`s ghostly, concerns an old public house known as The Red Lion. This very old pub was demolished fairly recently and The Traders now stands roughly on the same site. The story goes that there was on room in the inn which no-one cared to sleep in, complaining of a feeling of clammy cold. No animal could be persuaded to go into it, and several tenants said that they heard shuffling footsteps and a sound as if a chair was being shunted across the floor. It is known that an old woman lived in that room for years and she could only walk with the aid of a chair. What the true story is I have never been able to unravel. I did know someone who lived there for a time, and she said she felt chilled whenever she entered the room, and the hairs stood up on her dog`s back when he approached it, he could never be persuaded to enter.

I am sure there must be many such stories to be told, and I wish I knew more of them myself as I find them really fascinating. I hope this may interest you and your classmates.

Yours sincerely,

Bess Pitt. (Aged 72.)


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