Lizzy Dening

MR James ghost stories at Hemingford Grey Manor

Lizzy Dening
MR James ghost stories at Hemingford Grey Manor

We spent a spooky evening listening to ghost stories in the glorious Hemingford Grey Manor.

Do you remember gathering around the fire to tell ghost stories as a child? (And then not being able to sleep afterwards!) If so, you’ll know that there’s something about flicking firelight that makes every shadow seem sinister and atmospheric.

This spooky atmosphere is perfectly harnessed at The Manor at Hemingford Grey (a gorgeous house first built in the 1130s near Huntingdon, that was owned by Lucy Boston – author of The Children of Green Knowe). Here, various tales, from ghost stories to festive adventures, are brought to life by master storytellers, who need only an armchair and candlelight to set a vivid scene.

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We went to see Robert Lloyd Parry reading two of MR James’ chilling tales – Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook and The Mezzotint – which were delivered in the building’s glorious (if chilly) 900-year-old music room. Think thick stone walls, creaking floors and an enormous gramophone from the 1920s, which was used to cheer the spirits of soldiers during WWII.

Robert’s performance style was truly gripping, and cleverly choreographed so that it felt conversational, while using theatrical gestures, such as a hand over a candle to cause looming shapes on the walls, and lights being extinguished as things got more spooky.

If you loved being read to as a child, or want a night out with a difference, I’d highly recommend a night of storytelling at Hemingford Grey Manor – we’re planning to make it a winter tradition.