It's a 17th century pleasure palace, filled with erotic paintings and sculpture- a party house, a forerunner of the Playboy Mansion only in much better taste. The atmosphere got to poor David Wells and turned him queasy. "Not evil," he said, "But outside my comfort zone." The Most Haunted team can be crass- most notably Karl and Stuart- and somehow their crassness last night felt crasser than usual.
The couple who created this extraordinary place were the first Duke of Newcastle and his Duchess. He was one of Charles I's generals, a minor poet and playwright, the author of a classic work on horsemanship and a thinking libertine. She was a feminist before the word was coined, brazenly eccentric (known to her contemporaries as Mad Madge) a crossdresser, philosopher and prolific author- a sort of 17th century George Sand. They were exceptional people and a famously loving couple (in spite of the orgies and black masses) - and stomping round their old home, shouting out to the Duke as "William" and asking him to whistle was maybe not the the best way of approaching them. It made me cross and no doubt made the Duke even crosser- so I'm not at all surprised he tried to push Karl down stairs.
There's a room with a curse on it, called the Pagan room. (Oh wow, I've got to go there). You lie on the floor and say "Sleep no more" and you die. Of course Carl and Stewart wanted to try it. To his credit, David Wells, who sometimes seems uncomfortable in this company, tried to stop them and was in tears when they went ahead. Stupid, bloody oiks.
There are worse things than mocking one's ancestors- and sometimes, indeed, the ancestors deserve to be mocked- but beauty and distinction are rare enough qualities without the apes being let in to piss over what little of them there is.
Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle