Welcome to part two of Huddersfield’s Haunted Haunts, here we are going to dive straight into our local sites.
Focusing on the entities said to dwell in these places, this article looks at what we can learn about the ghosts and the stories surrounding them. Were they real people? How are they related to the area? What do their stories tell us about the site? We will be working from the list of places introduced in the last segment, provided to me by local paranormal enthusiast and charity shop worker, Oliver. This article will focus on Black Dick’s Tower, Huddersfield Train Station and Longley Old Hall, saving Ravensknowle Hall, The Royal & Ancient pub, Standedge Tunnel and Storthes Hall for part three.
So, first up…
Black Dick’s Tower
Built between 1752-4, this curious structure just off Lilly Lane, Mirfield is thought to have been a little summerhouse on the estate of Whiteley Hall, the home of the Beaumont Family for near three centuries (Minter & Minter, 1993). While historical sources often record this course brickwork structure under the name, The Temple, a curious name for a summerhouse, the building is better known today as Black Dick’s Tower.
Legend has it that every year on the 5th July, Richard Beaumont aka Black Dick of the North, whom we introduced in part one, makes a ghostly appearance at The Temple. He is said to be wandering about holding his own severed head under his arm. A fairly ghastly sight. While some have noted that Black Dick died in 1631, a near-century before the Temple was erected, his ghost was said to walk the grounds of Whiteley Hall (Roberts, 2012) and given that the tower is on the land I am confident it would not be off-limits to the paranormal.
In life, Beaumont was a Baronet and MP who was associated with charities and played a role in founding Kirkheaton Grammar School in 1610 (Thrush & Ferris, 2010). In legend, Dick has been described as a gambling highwayman who performed black magic. It is also said that he killed a serving girl after he had impregnated her and it was these dark deeds that had earned him his nickname (Hemingway, 2013).
Given there is no evidence for these misgivings, had somebody applied these deeds to Black Dick after his death in an effort to deliberately discredit his reputation? or, could it possibly be a case of mistaken identity and/or hyperbole?
While there are no local figures that we can confidently attribute these wicked deeds to, there is one historical titbit that might suggest the ghost of Whiteley Hall estate may be a different Beaumont entirely. The supposed ghost in question that appears at The Temple annually is said to be headless. There is no reason to believe that Black Dick, interred at Kirkheaton Church in 1661, was without his head at the time of his death. But, there was one who lived over three centuries before Dick who in the mid-1300s had apparently left this world without his head, a man who had a not too dissimilar name, Robert de Beaumont (Hemingway, 2013). As an ancestor of Richard Beaumont, Robert, who had died during a local chapter of history known as the Elland Feud, may just have joined the family at Whiteley Hall and remained long after. Perhaps…
Huddersfield Train Station
There cannot be many folk in our wonderful town who have not visited our famous award-winning train station. Oliver, who suggested our ghost topic, while reminiscing about a time when one of the station’s pubs, The Head of Steam, once sold model trains and busses, describes how he loves the old building due to its mansion-like quality.
First opened in 1847, Huddersfield’s train station is one of several on our list that modern-day ghost enthusiasts have turned their sights to (Pattern, 2020). In addition to its enduring legend of a grumpy employee come back to haunt the place, both staff and security cameras have captured odd occurrences.
In 2013, the stations newly installed CCTV recorded an orb that had caught the attention of the paranormal communities (YorkshireLive, 2012). While these orbs are most likely backscattering – dust reflecting light that people often consider to be ghosts (Bina et al., 2013) – staff reported occurrences harder to contest. Workers have spoken of feeling the physical sensations of being pinched and pushed while at the station* (Roberts, 2014). Could these be the actions of our disgruntled ghostly employee coming back to irritate staff? Who is this spook and why is he stooping to such mischief? (*editor note: I’ve experienced similar sensations at the train station shortly after disembarking the last train back from Leeds on a Friday night).
While we are not given a year, we are given a very specific time. It is said that at 11.25 am, Johan Marr, a porter in the train station, had fallen onto the tracks and broken his legs irreparably. Due to this incident, it is said that he was unable to work again and died shortly after (Gildea, 2015). I have yet to discover any solid evidence confirming this incident, but conjecture – and belief in the paranormal – may lead us to consider that Marr, angry at his career-ending injuries and untimely demise, comes back to the station to inflict some misery on others.
In addition to minor violence, sinister laughter has been reported by staff who claim that it occurs at 11.25 am, the time of Marr’s accident. And, while not necessarily attributed to Marr, claims of a ‘crooked man pushing luggage’ have been reported in ‘one of the adjacent pubs’ (Gildea, 2015). Could this actually be the injured Marr pushing his porter trolley? Perhaps.
Longley Old Hall
The first thing we should probably know about Longley Old Hall is that our friend Richard ‘Black Dick’ Beaumont was born here (YorkshireLive, 2005). Recorded as being in use as early as the mid-fourteenth century, this estate, situated on Lowerhouses Lane, became a seat of power for the Ramsden family in 1531 (Minter & Minter, 1993). Home of the lords of the manor of Huddersfield and Almondbury, this is a building of great historical significance to our town. It was not until 1977 that the Ramsden family finally left the hall after four centuries in the area (Ramsden, 2005), though, with them gone, it appears that some spirits lingered.
While the identities of the ghosts said to dwell in Longley Old Hall are not known, centuries of inhabitants leave us with plenty of potential figures. One said to wander the manor is a woman dressed in a black robe, which some report bears a flower pattern on it (Mann, 2021). Might this be the spirit of one of the Ramsden matriarchs from over the years? Or even a well-dressed serving girl?
The other ghost said to wander this ancient estate is that of an unkempt young boy in shirt and breeches (YorkshireLive, 2003). Again, we have no identity for this ghoul so we can only speculate as to who he might have been.
Like all these cases, there is no solid evidence to confirm the existence of these spirits. It has been remarked that buildings such as Longley Old Hall, Black Dick’s Tower and Huddersfield train station have an atmospheric quality that enhances people’s sense of the supernatural (Roberts, 2012). While it might be the case that we like to attribute unexplained phenomena to the paranormal, it is also the case that there might be something we can learn from these stories.
Rounding up Part Two of Huddersfield’s Haunted Haunts, I would like to invite you back for the next article where we will finish our ghost list. At the same time, I implore any who have more information on these ghosts, confirmed or rumoured, to post a comment. We would love to hear any additional historical context to any of our spirits.
Bina, M., Magatti, D., Molteni, M., Gatti, A., Lugiato, L. A., & Ferri, F. (2013). Backscattering Differential Ghost Imaging in Turbid Media. Physical Review Letters, 110(8). https://doi.org/10.1103/physrevlett.110.083901
Gildea, S. (2015, October 24). Haunted Huddersfield: Dare you visit these spooky sites for Halloween thrills? YorkshireLive. https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/whats-on/whats-on-news/haunted-huddersfield-halloween-ghosts-ghouls-10314696
Hemingway, A. (2013). Black Dick’s Tower. Andyhemingway. https://andyhemingway.wordpress.com/category/black-dicks-tower/
Mann, D. (2021). The Paranormal Database. Paranormal Database. https://www.paranormaldatabase.com/yorkshire/Pages/yorkdata.php?pageNum_paradata=14&totalRows_paradata=525
Minter, G., & Minter, E. (1993). Discovering Old Huddersfield Part One. Huddersfield Local History Society.
Pattern, D. (2020). Huddersfield Railway Station – Huddersfield Exposed: Exploring the History of the Huddersfield Area. Huddersfield.exposed. https://huddersfield.exposed/wiki/Huddersfield_Railway_Station#:~:text=It%20was%20partly%20opened%20for,men)%2C%20was%20finally%20completed.
Ramsden, C. (2005). Ramsden Locations. Ramsden. http://www.ramsden.info/Ramsden/Ramsdens/RamsdenLocations.htm
Roberts, K. (2012). Haunted huddersfield. The History Press Ltd.
Roberts, K. (2014). Huddersfield: 5 Haunted Places To Visit | Spooky Isles. Spooky Isles. https://www.spookyisles.com/huddersfield-haunted/
Thrush, A., & Ferris, J. P. (2010). Beaumont, Sir Richard (1574-1631), of Whitley Hall, Kirkheaton, Yorks. | History of Parliament Online. Www.historyofparliamentonline.org. https://www.historyofparliamentonline.org/volume/1604-1629/member/beaumont-sir-richard-1574-1631
YorkshireLive. (2003, October 22). `Noises in the dead of night’. YorkshireLive. https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/noises-dead-night-5093852
YorkshireLive. (2005, February 23). Black Dick’s famous tower could become a unique home. YorkshireLive. https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/black-dicks-famous-tower-could-5082838
YorkshireLive. (2012, March 24). Ghostly goings-on at Huddersfield train station: Watch the video and make up your own mind. YorkshireLive. https://www.examinerlive.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/ghostly-goings-huddersfield-train-station-4957213