Sunday, 18 November 2018

Discover Henley's haunted history

HISTORIAN Elizabeth Hazeldine will present Haunted Henley, a ghostly history of the town at the Kenton Theatre on Monday.

In this pre-Halloween talk she will recount the story of notorious Georgian poisoner Mary Blandy, who is believed to haunt several buildings in the town, including the New Street venue.

She will also talk about the monks that haunt a town centre pub, the Cavalier soldier who has been spotted at the Red Lion hotel and the ghost sited at the building in Hart Street that was most recently occupied by the Maison Blanc coffee shop.

Miss Hazeldine, who lives in Adwell Square and was born in the town, will speak for 45 minutes about the ghosts of Henley before a 45-minute question and answer session when she hopes the audience will share some of their own spooky stories.

She said: “I am going to be talking about the ghosts of Henley such as the ghostly Cavalier at the Red Lion. Henley was fortified during the Civil War by the Roundheads and some of the royalists made a couple of forays into the town and held it for a few weeks. The Red Lion was also one of the stopping points of Charles I.

“Normally I have done this as a tour around the town and I would take people around the different buildings. I will try and put some pictures on the foyer of the theatre and hopefully there will be some sound effects.

“In the second half I will answer questions and hopefully people will also have their own stories of when they have seen them.

“I met a man once who worked in one of the buildings who said he had seen a ghost walk up and past him and then up a flight of stairs that wasn’t there.”

Miss Hazeldine launched her own business, Henley Heritage Walks, in 2013 to provide talks about local history and guided tours.

She set it up her with help from the Department of Work and Pensions’ New Enterprise Allowance scheme after leaving her job at the River and Rowing Museum in Henley.

She is also a published author having written about the history of the town and also the murder of Kate Laura Durgey, who was killed in Lambridge Wood in December 1893.

She has spoken at the Henley Literary Festival three times and also does talks to various groups such as branches of the Women’s Institute.

Miss Hazeldine says her stories are a firm favourite with youngsters, adding: “I have spoken at schools and children’s groups and children have come on the tours. They love the gore, the more the better.”

Tickets are £8, including a £1 restoration levy, from the box office on (01491) 575698, in person 11am to 3pm weekdays and 10am to 1pm Saturdays or visit www.kentontheatre.co.uk

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