The ghosts of Ossington Lodge
The Ossington Lodge was founded as a coffee tavern, to lure the town drunks away from the public houses.
A portrait of the Ossingtons Lodge founder, Viscountess Ossington had hung in the Lodge for nearly 100 years.
However, when the Lodge changed its trade and began to serve alcohol, some claim that the ghost of the Viscountess Ossington became offended, and the painting was reported to fly off the wall.
Crates of wine in the cellar have fallen off shelves and smashed on the floor by their own accord, and kegs of beer have been bled dry, with no evidence of them leaking.
During restoration work on the lodge following its private sale, the whole of the building was stripped down and completely redecorated.
The first floor was completely cleared and re-plastered by private tradesmen, which they claimed would only take three days. Two weeks later the plasterers were still there, blaming their slow progress on ‘ghostly intervention’.
On the first day that the men were working in the lodge, they decided to stay late and continue working late into the night. The rooms were dark, as the electricity had been cut by the electricians who were rewiring the top floor, and the plasterers were working by artificial light.
Around 9 pm, a noise was heard from the stair well, as if someone were climbing the stairs very slowly, with heavy footsteps. The doors downstairs were locked, so one of the workmen went to check the noise, only to find the stairwell completely empty.
Spooked, they abandoned the house in a hurry and decided to start work again in the morning.
The next day they returned, to find their tools had been moved into the room adjacent to the one they had left them in.
Beginning to worry about the strange goings on at Ossington Lodge, the plasterers agreed to only work in daylight hours, and leave the building as soon as it got dark.
True to their word, they left that night, ensuring they had noted where everything they left behind was.
They arrived at the Lodge the next morning and climbed the stairs to the room they were renovating.
Again, their tools had been moved, but this time, the ghost had left them a message, carved into the fresh plaster with what looked like bare fingers: “Get out of my house…”
Our experience at Ossington Lodge
I have visited the Ossington Lodge in Newark many times over the years. More recently I have had dinner in the restaurant on the ground floor, but found no reason to believe that any paranormal activity ever took place in the building.
Maybe this was due to the stark contrast in scenery. I’m sure that when the building was being renovated, the rooms had a very different feel. It is hard to imagine what it would be like when you are sat in a restaurant full of people.
After going up the stair well to what is now private apartments, I reminded myself that these were the steps in which the plasterers heard footsteps slowly advancing up the stairs towards them.
Dimly lit, this part of the building has kept a lot of its original features and it does begin to feel like it may have something more sinister about it.
Outside in the courtyard, the stables have gone, but the original drinking trough remains. Noise from the nearby restaurant and road gets rid of the opportunity to hear anything out of sorts, and the brightly lit courtyard seems much like the downstairs of the building-it is hard to imagine any paranormal goings on taking place out here.
The history of Ossington Lodge
Built in 1882 in the late Tudor style, The Ossington Lodge on Newark’s Great North Road, is a grand and imposing building. Founded by the Viscountess Ossington-a daughter of the Fourth Duke of Portland, The Ossington Lodge was built in memory of her husband, Mr Speaker Denison.
It was first used as a coffee tavern with assembly rooms, in order to lure the town’s drunken farmers away from the public houses.
The original title deed for Ossington Lodge detailed that some of its profits were donated to the Newark hospital.
The lodge itself had extensive accommodation upstairs, a library and club rooms for local societies to use.
The ground floor had a coffee room, kitchen and offices. Outside there was stabling for fourty horses, a cart shed, and a tea garden.
Architecturally designed as a sixteenth century tavern, Ossington Lodge still retains many of its original features. Mullioned windows and leaded lights, the steep red tiled roof is typical of its period. The original horse trough used by travelers horses and passersby still stands in the court yard to the rear of the lodge.
Since its origins as a charitable establishment the Ossington has had many uses. During the First World War the lodge was requisitioned by the Air Ministry between 1942 and 1946.
In the 1960’s Ossington Lodge was reviewed by a court, and was deemed to no longer be a charitable institution, due to the manner in which the rooms were always run as a commercial business.
As a result, the heirs of Viscountess Ossington were traced, and in 1978 the building was sold for commercial use. The top floor has since been renovated into private flats and the ground floor is now occupied by a restaurant.