Awd Nance: The Screaming Skull of Burton Agnes Hall

Does the unquiet shade of a young woman reside in her skull - now kept in secret in a grand Yorkshire hall.

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During the flowering of wealth and architecture during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, few of the new stately buildings were anticipated as much by their owners as Burton Agnes Hall. The Griffths' family ancestral home - a Norman keep - was to be superseded by a splendid and fashionable pile in the modern fashion.

The three daughters of Sir Henry Griffiths were most excited of all. And of the three, it was youngest sister Annie whose anticipation was most uncontainable. What tragedy it was then that it was she who was attacked and fatally injured by robbers at nearby Harpham.

She was brought back to the hall alive, but was clearly dying. As she slipped in and out of consciousness, she said she would never rest unless part of her was present for eternity at the hall. However, when she finally passed, her sisters had her buried, intact, in the churchyard.

This was unsatisfactory to the spirit of the recently departed Annie.

Within days of its final completion, the hall was alive with ghostly sounds and groans - the extent of which was so bad that servants refused to stay in the house. Eventually, 2 years after her death, the sisters had Annie's body dug up, her head removed and brought into the house, whereupon the manifestations ceased.

Today, "Awd Nance" - the name given to the skull - is still kept in secret within the hall. Reputedly, the skull is kept in a secret, walled-in compartment known only to the family and senior servants, who must keep it's location secret.

Image courtesy of RobertG

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Author: Ian Freud   |  Last updated: 27th January 2011 | © Weird Island 2010-2021
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