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Alaska.
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Posts: 1404

This is a story about two places  that wern't actually  Abbey's, and a connection with Halesowen Abbey, which most certainly was. When John de Somery, Baron of Dudley, died at the start of the 1300s, the part of his estate called Warley Wigorn, was inherited by his sister, Lady Joan de Somery. The other larger part of Warley, had been given,  in 1215, by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury,  to the White Cannons, who built an Abbey at Halesowen, thus insuring that that both area's would be under the control of Shropshire for the next 600 years. Now Lady Joan, and her sister Margaret, were very religious women, and formed a great spitual attachment to the Abbey at Halesowen. So much so, that when she died in 1325, she degreed that her estate should be given to the Monks. There were conditions attached to this bequest; that prayers for her good soul should be said, and that the poor of the Manor should, every year, assemble at the Abbey Gates, when 20 shillings, raised from rents, would be distributed among them. The gift from Lady Joan gave the Monks extra land on which to farm, and contributed greatly towards the Abbey's financial success. All went well until June 1538, when Henry VIII who had desolved the Monasteries, gave the estate, and the Manor of Halesowen, to Sir John Dudley, and ordered the Abbey to be demolished. It was then, that stories of the restless shade of the Grey Lady, ( Joan de Somery its presumed ) began to manifest itself. It was said, that in quiet darkness of the Tomb, she knew at once, that prayers for her enternal soul had ceased, and rose seeking retribution. So strong was the belief in this Gray Lady, that she was said to have caused the death of Samuel Whitehouse, in 1822, ( See:  More Ghastly Murders. ) by, according to the defence lawyer, terrifying his horse.


The Horse was found, sweating and foaming at the nostrils, clearly in a state of eyerolling terror, perhaps occasioned by the sudden appearence of the phantom form of a woman, said to to manifest itself close to the spot where the unfortunate man was found.


The spot of course was on the estate of the Galton Family, and included Warley Woods, and the nearby Warley Hall, which, in 1822, was near the old Water Tower, and was described as nothing more than a glorified Summer House, with a Tower attached, wich afforded views over the estate.



The House, which came to be known as Warley Abbey, was under construction at the time, and was then known as New Warley Hall, and built in the old Gothic Style. It was named Warley Abbey, by Hubert Galton, who had, when he was first married, taken up a lease on a house at Handsworth Heath, ( in sight of Matthew Boultons house and grounds ) built by an eccentric man called Richard Ford. He had the inner walls of the house built in brick, but the outer layer was composed of the slag from the Iron furnaces of Aston and Birmingham, giving it a sort of rustic Gothic look. Ivy was trailed over the outside, and moss began to grow, making it resemble an old Abbey, which soon led to it being called, Hockley Abbey. To enhance the legend, Ford even had the date, 1473, set in white pebbles on the front of his building, which, in the event, certainly impressed Hubert Galton. Over time, the Grey Lady legend began to be linked to Warley Abbey, which of course, as I said at the beginning, wasn't an Abbey at all, and the true link with Halesowen Abbey faded away into the mists of time. There were many reported sightings of the Gray Lady in the 1860s, mostly, attributed to one owner of Warley Abbey, Sir Hugh Gilzean Reid, somewhat a seeker of publicity for his many business enterprises, he even claimed that Warley Abbey was a medieval building. Strangely, even some of the locals believed him, and in some parts, they still do.

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A wonderful thing is work, I could watch it all day.  ( See my Blog entry )

November 24, 2012 at 4:01 PM Flag Quote & Reply

Pedro
Member
Posts: 25

Alaska. at November 24, 2012 at 4:01 PM

This is a story about two places  that wern't actually  Abbey's, and a connection with Halesowen Abbey, which most certainly was. When John de Somery, Baron of Dudley, died at the start of the 1300s, the part of his estate called Warley Wigorn, was inherited by his sister, Lady Joan de Somery. The other larger part of Warley, had been given,  in 1215, by Roger de Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury,  to the White Cannons, who built an Abbey at Halesowen, thus insuring that that both area's would be under the control of Shropshire for the next 600 years. Now Lady Joan, and her sister Margaret, were very religious women, and formed a great spitual attachment to the Abbey at Halesowen. So much so, that when she died in 1325, she degreed that her estate should be given to the Monks. There were conditions attached to this bequest; that prayers for her good soul should be said, and that the poor of the Manor should, every year, assemble at the Abbey Gates, when 20 shillings, raised from rents, would be distributed among them. The gift from Lady Joan gave the Monks extra land on which to farm, and contributed greatly towards the Abbey's financial success. All went well until June 1538, when Henry VIII who had desolved the Monasteries, gave the estate, and the Manor of Halesowen, to Sir John Dudley, and ordered the Abbey to be demolished. It was then, that stories of the restless shade of the Grey Lady, ( Joan de Somery its presumed ) began to manifest itself. It was said, that in quiet darkness of the Tomb, she knew at once, that prayers for her enternal soul had ceased, and rose seeking retribution. So strong was the belief in this Gray Lady, that she was said to have caused the death of Samuel Whitehouse, in 1822, ( See:  More Ghastly Murders. ) by, according to the defence lawyer, terrifying his horse.


The Horse was found, sweating and foaming at the nostrils, clearly in a state of eyerolling terror, perhaps occasioned by the sudden appearence of the phantom form of a woman, said to to manifest itself close to the spot where the unfortunate man was found.


The spot of course was on the estate of the Galton Family, and included Warley Woods, and the nearby Warley Hall, which, in 1822, was near the old Water Tower, and was described as nothing more than a glorified Summer House, with a Tower attached, wich afforded views over the estate.



The House, which came to be known as Warley Abbey, was under construction at the time, and was then known as New Warley Hall, and built in the old Gothic Style. It was named Warley Abbey, by Hubert Galton, who had, when he was first married, taken up a lease on a house at Handsworth Heath, ( in sight of Matthew Boultons house and grounds ) built by an eccentric man called Richard Ford. He had the inner walls of the house built in brick, but the outer layer was composed of the slag from the Iron furnaces of Aston and Birmingham, giving it a sort of rustic Gothic look. Ivy was trailed over the outside, and moss began to grow, making it resemble an old Abbey, which soon led to it being called, Hockley Abbey. To enhance the legend, Ford even had the date, 1473, set in white pebbles on the front of his building, which, in the event, certainly impressed Hubert Galton. Over time, the Grey Lady legend began to be linked to Warley Abbey, which of course, as I said at the beginning, wasn't an Abbey at all, and the true link with Halesowen Abbey faded away into the mists of time. There were many reported sightings of the Gray Lady in the 1860s, mostly, attributed to one owner of Warley Abbey, Sir Hugh Gilzean Reid, somewhat a seeker of publicity for his many business enterprises, he even claimed that Warley Abbey was a medieval building. Strangely, even some of the locals believed him, and in some parts, they still do.

I first came across the name of H Gilzean Reid (1836-1911) being the dignatory connected with the laying of the Memorial stones, in 1891, for the New Primitive Methodist Chapel in Walsall Wood. An interest to find a little more about Reid led me on a rather disturbing journey.

 

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography gives a detailed account of his life, being, amongst many things, a Baptist and a successful newspaper proprietor....

 

"Gilzean-Reid saw newspapers as a means of educating and enlightening people politically and otherwise.....Gilzean-Reid resided much in Belgium, and took early part in promoting civilising and religious agencies in the Congo. For his services, he was appointed and Officer of the Order of Leopold in 1897 and a Commander of the Order of the Crown in 1899.”

 

To find how Reid became held in such esteem I read the modern book "King Leopold's Ghost" by Adam Hochschild; it explores the exploitation of the Congo Free State by King Leopold II of Belgium between 1885 and 1908, as well as the atrocities that were committed during that period.

 

It appears Reid became the chief British apologist for Leopold.

 

Looking back to the period in question, it can be seen that Reid was not without his critics. It does not, to my mind, seem feasible that he was oblivious to what was occurring.

During 1909 Conan Doyle wrote "The Crime of the Congo", a long pamphlet in which he denounced the horrors of that colony. It was also the basis for the novel "Heart of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad.

 

 

 

December 11, 2015 at 10:08 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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