Sheffield Paranormal Investigations

Established 2002

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Black Dick's Tower
  Supposedly haunted by a highwayman carrying his head under his arm


In around 1200 the lord of Pontefract castle, Roger de Laci presented William Bellomonte, ancestor of the Beaumonts of Whitley, 24 bovates of land in Huddersfield, half meadow and half wood and four marks rent on the mill in the same place. Although there were probably houses built on the site in the interim, the first fully documented Hall was built by Sir Richard Beaumont in the early 17th century. The Beaumont family lived on the site of Whitley Hall as far back as 1390. Parts of the hall dated back to Elizabethan times in 1560. The hall was extensively remodelled in 1704 in an imposing Georgian style using local millstone grit. The gardens were landscaped by Capability Brown. A new frontage containing 30 bedrooms was constructed to bridge the gap between the two existing Elizabethan wings forming an enclosed quadrangle.

The hall always had a somewhat chequered history during the early 1800's. Richard Henry Beaumont the then occupier was said to have let the buildings condition deteriorate to such an appalling state that it was in danger of collapse around him. The Beaumont family continued to occupy the hall until 1917 when once again the hall had begun to fall into disrepair, the contents of the hall were sold by auction and after six century's the Beaumonts finally left the hall.
The hall stood empty from 1917 and continued to deteriorate further and the fittings were sold. In 1924 when Mr Charles E Sutcliff the owner of Sutcliff's Maltings and one time Chairman of Mirfield Council purchased the hall. Mr Sutcliff restored a small section of the hall and although it was never occupied on a regular basis again Mr Sutcliff would regularly entertain guests and shooting parties there. Unfortunately this was not enough to save the house and estate and it continued to deteriorate until it was sold in 1950 and split up, the major part was sold to an opencast mining company and the house was demolished.

Over the years Whitley Beaumont has had its fair share of characters. The first Baron of Whitley Beaumont was one Richard Beaumont, knighted by James I / VI, in 1609 and made Baronet in 1628. In 1610 he helped found Kirkheaton Grammar School. He was the MP for Pontefract in 1625, made Baronet in 1628 and died in 1631 whence his body was interred at the Beaumont Chapel at Kirkheaton Church. He earned the nickname Black Dick of the North from King James, quite why we don't know. There are references to Sir Richard being a highwayman, but this seems odd due to his position, his Knighthood and Baronetcy and his role as treasurer for wounded soldiers.

Unfortunately all that is left now is a small structure locally known as Black Dicks Tower or the Temple but was however built some time after his death. Black Dick is rumoured to walk the grounds with his head under his arm every year on 5 July



Investigation team Bren, Mick, Elise and Phil. The building was built in the 1600's and presumed to be a summer house, our team think it was more likely to have been a mausoleum. The team arrived at approximately 11.00pm. We walked up the hill to the tower. Mick went inside and walked around the remaining edge and sat on the far side. Elise went inside and sat on the right. Phil explored the outside. As Bren entered the doorway she felt quite sick and dizzy and also experienced the feeling of being pushed, she put all this down to the fact she was on a diet and was probably lacking salt (later Mick and Elise told her that they had both felt the same sensation). Elise and Phil went to explore the outside of the upper building and Mick and Bren went down to the lower level. Bren thought she could see something moving about as though it was coming out of a tunnel. Mick said he saw what looked like 'heat haze' by one of the upper windows. They were joined by Elise and Phil. Elise said she didn't feel comfortable sitting with her back to one of the alcoves and it felt like someone was touching her. Mick wandered off to look around the area. Elise and Phil went back up to the top leaving Bren in the bottom of the building. It still appeared to her that something was moving around. Mick joined Bren and they sat quitely for a while observing. Bren and Mick joined the others back on the hill. Mick went to the window nearest the road where he stood watching the lower floor, he said he could see definate movement. We waited to see if the Headless Highwayman appeared but unfortunately he didn't so, being as it was getting cold and starting to rain again, we called it a night. Mick says he thoroughly enjoyed the investigation and would go there again. Definately worth the visit. Note: On inspecting the entrance to the lower level, it appears that there may have been a tunnel leading to this entrance which possibly went underground.

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