The Ghost Of Cambridge: The Watching Phantom Of Weston Colville Hall

The occupants of Weston Colville Hall in West Wratting, Cambridge, England, opened up to their paranormal experiences during their time at the reportedly haunted residence.

Mr & Mrs Dodkin are convinced a supernatural entity haunts Weston Colville Hall
Mr & Mrs Dodkin are convinced a supernatural entity haunts Weston Colville Hall

The phantom which appears at Weston Colville Hall in West Wratting seems to be unique in its peculiarity. Weston Colville Hall, built in 1725 as a country mansion for a wealthy gentleman farmer is now divided into several separate units. At the moment, two of these are gracious homes and the third is the administrative offices of the D'Abo estates. Before Andrew Dodkin, his wife Marion, and their baby daughter moved into their part of the mansion in May 1973 it had to be thoroughly redecorated, and to this end, a working party of relatives and friends busied themselves with brushes, paste, and paint in the evenings.

About 7 pm one evening in mid-May Andy Dodkin's mother and father who lived nearby were busy papering an upstairs room, but found their activity severely disrupted by their Jack Russel puppy who found the vulnerable open tins of paint and pasted wallpaper delightful playthings. When he was put out in their car which was parked by the kitchen window he voiced his displeasure by howling dismally, and partly out of pity, partly out of fear of what might happen to the interior of the car, Mr and Mrs Dodkin senior decided to take the dog home.

As Mrs Dodkin swung round the newel post at the front of the stairs, closely followed by her husband, she saw an elderly woman hurry to the kitchen window, peer out, and then obviously reassured that there was nothing seriously wrong with the dog, turn to go back. As she did so she looked straight along the hall to face Mrs Dodkin, who saw a stranger with greying reddish hair and a high complexion, dressed in a sharply waisted long black dress with a white collar and long sleeves. The woman frowned like a child caught in some activity that had been forbidden, then hurried out of view the way she had come.

Although the figure had seemed so humanly solid and natural, Mrs Dodkin was half prepared to find the kitchen empty when she dashed in: for one thing she knew, there was no one else in that part of the house, much less a complete stranger dressed so eccentrically, but more because, as she says 'there were straight lines down both sides of the figure as if I were watching her through a gap in a vertically boarded fence - a gap that moved about with her as she went to and fro.'

What was probably the same phantom was seen twice subsequently. On the first occasion in 1975 an agricultural student returned late one evening to pick up her car from Weston Colville Hall, and seeing a light in the kitchen assumed that Marion Dodkin was there. As was usual, she went towards the house for a cup of coffee and a chat, and as she passed the window noticed casually that Marion was working at the table. When the student reached the kitchen, however, it was empty as was the whole house.

One evening in the winter of 1976 Andy Dodkin had been delayed on his return from work by deep snow drifts, and unable to find a telephone box to call Marion, he was a little worried. When he eventually reached Weston Colville Hall he was surprised to find that his wife was anxious too, and was standing in the window of the spare room he used as an office, staring along the road, and well lit by light streaming in through the open door. He hurried indoors only to find that Marion was deeply asleep in bed and had obviously been so for quite some time. The office, and the rest of the house, when he checked, was deserted.

The Dodkins have no qualms about sharing their home with a phantom, who to judge by its concern for them and their pets, is a kindly figure. Their dog too shows none of the unease that is so common when they sense a presence. Although the house for over two and a half centuries has had a steady stream of personalities, ladies, gentlemen, men, and women, passing through it, it seems that the haunt is very recent. Mrs Dodkins senior's description was immediately recognised by several older villagers to whom she mentioned her experience as a Mrs Savage - or perhaps her sister Mrs Wilby - who always dressed in that fashion, and who lived in the hall until after World War II.

Mr A Dodkin & Mrs R Dodkin, Cambridge. The Headless Cyclist Of Kingsthorpe: A Fatal Accident, A Bitter Winter & A Ghostly Encounter


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