Lesley Smith Announces Retirement As Curator Of Haunted Tutbury Castle

January 12, 2024 1:00 AM ‐ Paranormal
Lesley Smith At Tutbury Castle
Lesley Smith, the curator of the historic and allegedly haunted Tutbury Castle, and a prominent figure in the paranormal community, has announced her retirement from her castle duties in a heartfelt Facebook post. Her departure marks a significant change for the castle, known for its ghostly sightings and paranormal events.

In her Facebook post, Lesley expressed the mixed emotions surrounding her decision: "I knew I would have to write this post one day and the day has come, because I am retiring from Tutbury Castle after 24 seasons as Curator." She described her tenure at the castle as an "immense privilege," highlighting the joy of sharing her love for the castle and its history with visitors. However, she also acknowledged the strain that came with the role.

Lesley's involvement in the paranormal field extends beyond Tutbury Castle. She is well-known for her role as the resident historian on the television show 'Most Haunted' and her contributions to the spin-off series 'Midsummer Murders', and Phil and Sara Whyman's web-series 'Are You Haunted..?'. Her expertise in the field has made her a respected and beloved figure among ghost hunters and history enthusiasts alike.

Discussing the demanding nature of her work, Lesley noted, "The Castle work, together with my public speaking off site, has become overwhelming." She recounted an instance of her hectic schedule, having "carried out 29 bookings in 30 days in September at the Castle and across the UK." This intense workload led her to reevaluate her commitments and focus on her health and personal life.

Lesley's connection with Tutbury Castle and its community runs deep. She reflected on the relationships built over the years: "I have children from schools in the past now come and see me with their own children." She also reminisced about the castle's famous events, such as the Bonfire Nights with Vikings, and the significant research projects that revealed the real Tutbury Castle, leading to major publications on its history and archaeology.

Tutbury Castle has stood since 1070, it served as a prison to Mary Queen of Scots, and offered shelter to Charles I during the Civil War. Much of the castle was dismantled by order of Oliver Cromwell, but the ruins as they stand today are a popular attraction. Today, thanks in part to Lesley, the castle is just as famous for its ghost sightings and paranormal phenomenon as its important history. It is said to be haunted by a dark hooded figure and the ghost of a huge man in full Tudor armour. In the king's bedroom visitors are said to have suddenly fainted for no apparent reason.
Tutbury Castle

Lesley's post also touched upon personal challenges she faced during her time at Tutbury, including being widowed, remarrying, facing a life-threatening illness, and dealing with heart failure. These personal experiences, coupled with the broader challenges faced by the heritage and hospitality sectors, including financial strains and the impacts of COVID-19, played a role in her decision to step down.

Lesley expressed heartfelt gratitude towards her staff, volunteers, and performers who contributed to making Tutbury Castle a special place: "I particularly salute my staff who have been loyal and kind from the office to the gardeners, cleaners and of course our wonderful guides."

Despite stepping down from her role at the castle, Lesley assured her followers of her continued involvement in the field: "I will continue my offsite speaking, within manageable levels, and already have many bookings for the coming year." She also announced the launch of her new website, lesleysmithhistorians.co.uk, to keep her audience informed of her upcoming public speaking events.

In closing, Lesley conveyed her gratitude and best wishes to her followers and the future curator of Tutbury Castle. Her departure signifies the end of a significant chapter in the castle's history but also marks the beginning of a new era, both for the castle and for Lesley Smith herself.
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