What is the Year One Project?

by MJ Wayland

Ten years ago I first discussed ‘Year One’ – a project that would reinvestigate and evaluate ‘classic’ hauntings based on its contemporary evidence rather than what was written after ‘Year One’. The project started successfully enough as we investigated the alleged hauntings of Chambercombe Manor, Devon and The Nunney Street Ghost based in Somerset. Sadly for personal reasons the investigations were only partially completed and only the Chambercombe Manor investigation saw print.

Its always been something that I’ve felt needed to be completed and I’m pleased to report that this year I have been making great inroads with a number of key cases. It also lead to a number of other discoveries. Hopefully this will provide information for future ghost hunters.

I’ve known of Dudley Castle’s hauntings for many years now and although I have no plans for it to be included in the Year One book, I uncovered a number of facts that were previously unknown to me and probably a great deal of researchers. The castle’s ‘main ghost’ is the Grey Lady, so much so even the cafe is named after her. When I researched the castle’s hauntings in 1999 the majority of references pointed to the Grey Lady’s identity as being Dorothy Beaumont, the wife of a Civil War General who lost her life after giving birth. Indeed during one investigation at the castle two friends witnessed a grey figure walk from the castle keep to a nearby staircase.

However during Year One researches I uncovered that during Victorian times, Dorothy Beaumont is not recognised as the Grey Lady, rather that of ‘Lady Dudley’. Several references claim that it could be Amy Robsart who was allegedly murdered by the request of Sir Robert Dudley, favourite of Queen Elizabeth I, while others claim she is one of the earlier Lady Dudleys.

Another intriguing insight is that while there is no reference to her haunting the courtyard and castle keep she had been witnessed several times descending the castle’s hill and walking into Dudley village, scaring the inhabitants (1865 and 1872).

I further uncovered other hauntings in the vicinity including a school governor meeting that was disrupted by a poltergeist, so much so that the governors ran into the streets refusing to return. The school sits within a short walk from the castle.

Year One is one of the most exciting projects that I have undertaken and I can’t wait to share to you future discoveries.

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