Old vintage houses carry a unique charm, each corner resonating with untold stories. Often, these aged structures, when left uninhabited for extended periods, either become tourist attractions or foster haunting rumours. The renowned Red Dress Manor in the UK aligns itself with the former category, drawing visitors with its historical allure, albeit not associated with ghostly claims – at least not yet. However, the mansion’s eerie halls and passageways leave an indelible impression on those who explore its shadowed corridors.
Uninhabited for half a century, the Red Dress Manor’s last owner, Ellen Jones, passed away in the early 1970s, leaving the house abandoned. Originally established in 1725 as a dairy farm, the four-bedroom residence, officially known as Calcott Hall, now stands as a Grade II listed structure near Llanymynech, Powys, Mid Wales. Although a relic from a bygone era, the property preserves Ellen’s belongings precisely as they were before her demise.
The red dress, hanging from a closet door, lends the manor its moniker, but it is just one artefact among many that encapsulates the essence of the past. Ellen’s photos, including the one featuring the iconic red dress, adorn the walls, still partially covered in faded flowery wallpaper from the 1950s. The robust stone covering the walls dates back to the original construction of the dairy farm, a testament to the home’s enduring history.
Throughout the manor, remnants of a forgotten era persist. Friends’ love notes and letters, scattered around, remain unread for nearly four decades. Dust blankets armchairs and cushions, while black and white family photos near the fireplace depict long-departed relatives. Beds remain covered, curtains intact but weathered and leaves carpet the spaces where people once walked. Nature’s encroachment is evident with branches creeping up the walls, emphasising the manor’s isolation.
In the living room, a 1960s television, devoid of images or signals since the 1970s, stands as a relic frozen in time. Stacks of newspapers from bygone years clutter the room, preserving historical articles. This four-bedroom house has become a poignant reminder of the Mary Celeste, a mysteriously abandoned ship where everything remained in its place. Much like the ship, the Red Dress Manor captivates historians and writers, inviting contemplation on the passage of time and the stories left untold within its walls.
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first published: February 05, 2024, 11:24 IST