Ghost of chance to see something special during castle open days
PEOPLE will have the chance to go ghost hunting when they are given the rare opportunity to tour Dacre Castle, at Dacre, near Penrith.
It is a decade since the doors of the 14th Century building were last opened to the public. However, next Saturday and Sunday, short tours will be given to raise money for the restoration of nearby St. Andrew’s Church, Dacre.
Jane Hasell-McCosh, of Dalemain, whose family owns the castle, said those who took the chance to look around might catch a glimpse of a headless ghost which is said to haunt the building.
Ten-minute tours at 11am, noon, 2pm, 3pm and 4pm each day would also allow the public to see the pele tower and grounds, and learn more about its history.
Admission is £2 for adults, free for children, and tours of Dacre church are available at no extra cost. “It is a fantastic opportunity, there is so much history to do with the church and castle,” said Mrs. Hasell McCosh.
The castle was built in the early 14th Century by William de Dacre and, in 1600, it was renovated and towers were added. It was bought for £1,500 by Sir Christopher Musgrave in 1715, before it became the property of the Hasell family, of Dalemain, when Edward Hasell married Julia Musgrave. At one stage it was used as a farmhouse for Home Farm, on the Dalemain estate, and since the 1960s significant restoration has taken place.
Tenants occupied the building until recently. These included Bunty Kinsman, the author of the book Pawn takes Castle.
Although it is about to be re-let, the Hasell McCosh family decided to hold an open weekend in aid of the church appeal. More than £60,000 is needed to refurbish the kitchen at the church, and install toilets and heating in the building.
Priest-in-charge the Rev. Clive Pattinson said the weekend would be a “crucial” fund-raising opportunity. “We are applying for grants, but the people who give the grants like to know that the community is contributing towards it. It is to invite the local community to come along and help to make the church fit for purpose in the 21st Century,” he said.
St. Andrew’s is famous for four bear sculptures which stand in each corner of its churchyard, and there are a number of themed activities next weekend. These include a teddy bear hunt, and guess the name of the bear and bear drawing competitions. Other attractions include face painting, a plant stall, raffle and the chance, at noon and 2pm each day, to ring the church bells. There will also be the usual Sunday service at 9-30am.