Codnor Castle Cottage, also known as Castle Farm in Codnor near Derby is fast getting a reputation as one of the most haunted properties in England.
The 16th century, isolated family home was built on the grounds of the Codnor Castle estate, a medieval castle which sits right on the border between Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire. The estate is surrounded by countryside that has been parkland for a hundreds of years.
The castle, which once stood overlooking the beautiful Erewash Valley, is first mentioned in the doomsday book of 1086, this was a long time before the stone castle we see today was built. The castle is now in ruins after it was nearly completely dismantled in 1643 and the stone and timber was used to build seven farm houses in the local area, including Castle Farm itself.
Tragically, the farmhouse, which now lies derelict, is said to be the location of a murder, as well as four recorded suicides. The most famous tells of a former resident who murdered his step daughter by putting a hose pipe in her mouth outside the cottage.
In the 1950s, one former owner of the house allegedly killed himself in the attic area, it's said that he attached a length of rope to the window before jumping to his death. There was also an accidental death reported at the property, a woman is said to have fallen down the stairwell, she broke her neck and died. Some say these tortured souls have never left the cottage.
As if it couldn't get more sinister, the farmhouse is also said to have a history of witchcraft, in the foreboding attic space there are several unusual markings, which are believed to have been created to ward off evil spirits.
The paranormal occurrences at Codnor Castle Cottage range from dark shadows, to poltergeist activity like doors slamming, furniture being moved across rooms, glass thrown, and one witness was even dragged across a room while sat on a chair. There have been countless reports of disembodied voices including singing, laughter, the voices of children, and blood-curdling screams.
Rokia Brown, the chairlady of Codnor Castle Heritage Trust has plenty of paranormal stories herself. Soon after the Trust took over the cottage, she was clearing out the rooms. She gutted the cottage, ripped up carpets, and steam cleaned that walls.
When she came back the next day, she found something odd in one of the rooms. Covering the floor, which was previously covered in carpet, were hundreds of disembodied wings from the brightly coloured peacock butterfly. She swept all the wings up, ready for an open day the following day. But when she returned for the open day, she found a necklace lying on the floor.
The cooper necklace had been perfectly laid out like a gift, and featured blue-green glass stones, which perfectly matched the coloured spots of the peacock butterfly.
On another occasion, Rokia and her team of volunteers were cleaning out the downstairs of the cottage. They went outside and sat on a wall for a break. Suddenly a stone was thrown through a downstairs window, smashing it. The team ran back into the cottage, only to find it completely empty.
Other witnesses have reported seeing apparitions in the cottage, including the vision of a Victorian lady wearing a straw hat. In the living room, visitors have seen the ghosts of three monks that walk across the room.
On the first floor female voices are heard in one of the bedrooms and the door is said to slam on its own. It's said that in Victorian times a baby died in front of the fire in the room.
The attic rooms are said to be home to a negative entity and dark shadowy figures are regularly seen walking through the long roof space. Paranormal investigators have experienced demonic attacks here, and many have fled the building after experiencing this dark energy.
Some think the activity could be linked to a the spirit of a man who committed suicide in the space in the 1960s. A little girl's death is said to be connected with the attic too.
In a wooden beam in the attic you'll find ritual protection marks, signs that witchcraft took place here. The markings which are burnt into an original beam are supposed to protect the house from evil spirits and from fires. The belief was if you scorched a little bit of the wood it would protect you from a larger fire.
The witch's marking didn't stop a cursed doll bursting into flames. The incident happened during the 2018 special of the long-running ghost hunting television series, 'Most Haunted'. Yvette Fielding and her team had placed the creepy doll at the end of the attic, but partway through their investigation, it spontaneously caught alight with no obvious source of ignition or explanation.
As well as the cottage, the castle grounds are also said to be haunted. The most famous story is that of a soldier of the Knight's Templar who was injured in battle and took refuge in the castle over night. The soldier died during the night, and ever since, his rather aggressive ghost has been seen wearing a dull metal helmet in the castle grounds outside the cottage. He's also seen running through the ruin of the great hall.
The grounds are also said to be haunted by a spirit known as the Grey Lady, the name could be linked to the De Grey family who occupied the castle for centuries. It's said she was a heavily pregnant French woman, and died following an accident while out riding her horse. She has since been seen gliding around the estate and the echoes of a French woman singing have been heard.