Annesley Hall – Nottinghamshire, England - Atlas Obscura
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Nottinghamshire, England

Annesley Hall

This romantic, decaying 13th-century ruin on the edge of Sherwood Forest is reputedly one of England's most haunted places. 

Dating to the middle of the 13th century, Annesley Hall is a historic country estate. The decrepit stately home has a ruined church, a history of bold seafaring adventurers, ghosts and unrequited love. The manse has been mentioned in works by Nottinghamshire literary greats Lord Byron and DH Lawrence. However two devastating fires have left the historic building in a precarious state.

Annesley Hall was home to the powerful Chaworth-Musters family who had a longstanding rivalry with the Byrons of nearby Newstead Abbey, including tales of dynastic murder and romance worthy of Shakespeare. The Poet Byron was in love with Mary Chaworth, heiress of Annesley Hall, whose second cousin was shot dead by Byron’s own uncle in a duel. Byron wrote of his forbidden and ultimately unrequited love in the poem ‘The Dream’ set on Diadem Hill, a short walk from the ruins.

Neglected in the graveyard of the ruined church stands a surprisingly nautical memorial for landlocked Nottinghamshire. The memorial is to Mary Chaworth’s son, George Chaworth-Musters, one of a number of Naval officers in the family. George spent a year from 1869 to 1870 living with and learning about the Tehuelche people of Southern Chile and Argentina, earning himself the nickname of “The King of Patagonia.”

The house was sold by the Chaworth Musters family in 1972, and shortly afterward became uninhabited, falling into disrepair. It suffered a serious fire in 1997. In 2004 the house attained notoriety when it was featured in a televised paranormal investigation called Most Haunted, which purportedly featured contact with the spirits of numerous former inhabitants including ghost children, hanged servants, bereaved parents and infanticidal aristocrats.

In 2015, the ruined mansion that had become popular with enthusiastic ghost-hunting trespassers suffered an arson attack, leaving it in its current state of haunting beauty.

Know Before You Go

This beautiful privately-owned ruin stands on private land and could be dangerous. This said, it can be viewed from the publicly accessible Old Church and Churchyard, which are signposted from the A608 close to junction 27 of the M1 motorway. An impressive view of the house can be had from the foot of Diadem Hill on the northbound carriageway of the A611 Annesley Bypass.