The Ice House – A mystery for the New Year – part 3

Journal of David Markham,

January 1st

Bateson is alive but now has a fever. A servant was sitting with him, but Mrs Rogers had told Mary that he was saying things that she didn’t think a servant should hear. She has bravely volunteered to sit with him this morning, as Charles and I explore the area where the woman was seen yesterday.

My footprints are still clearly visible in the snow, but where the woman was standing there is no trace, I must admit I am not surprised. Later, when Bateson was asleep, Mary brought the notes she had made of what he had said.

Notes by Mary Bingham, pasted in David Markham’s Journal

She is there … Ice house …. No can’t be….

Shouldn’t have tried …. Foolish ….. tried to tell father only protecting him

She can’t be there ….. in Ice House ….. put her ….. should be angry

Foolish … why was he angry ….. shouldn’t have been …… didn’t mean to ….. with her

She can’t be here …. She can’t be here … She is HERE!

Journal of David Markham,

January 2nd

It is over, we have found George Williams and Miss Walgrave. As soon as possible after breakfast we all assembled by the Ice House. The snow had been swept away from the entrance and it only took half an hour to open it enough for Charles and I to enter. There had been a wooden door, but this had partly rotted and after only a few blows with an axe we were inside. There was a short passage, at the end of which was a second door. I had been in such buildings before so warned Charles about the drop, we looked through the door into the chamber, it seemed empty apart from branches on the bottom which had once supported the ice and kept the drain open. Then Charles lowered a lantern into the chamber and we saw, immediately below the entrance, a pile of what looked like old clothes.

We both guessed what it was, I called for a sack, then climbed down the ladder set in the wall. As soon as I reached the bottom, I saw that it was not one body but two. I carefully collected the bones and clothes in two sacks, and climbed back up. As soon as we were out there was a noise behind us, part of the entrance had fallen in. The workmen had seen what we had brought out, and were eager to complete the job and block the entrance to the ice house.

Later Mr Croft called, and identified the coat found on the man’s skeleton, as being one worn by Mr W. Then Mrs Rogers came to tell us that Bateson had disappeared. His clothes have also gone. A search has been instituted.

Courier and Telegraph January 14th

At an inquest held on remains lately found in an Ice House at Bramlingham. The remains were identified as those of Mr George Williams and Miss Dorothy Walgrave. Upon direction the jury presented that they died an accidental death, at a date unknown.

Undated note by Mary Bingham

I wonder if the White Lady will be seen again?

Ghosts and Legends of the Eastern Counties Rev P Parsons 1892


A White Lady is supposed to have appeared at Bramlingham Hall at some time in the last century. No definite account can be discovered and Major Markham, the current owner, tells me that there have been no reports of any apparitions in living memory.

Journal of David Markham, January 6th

A most important day, the Vicar and his wife came to dine and afterwards we discussed the case, the Vicar agrees with me that it is for the best that Bateson has disappeared, nothing could ever be proved against him. He suggested that the burial of Mr Williams and Miss Walgrave should take place as soon as possible after the inquest, he then added slyly that he thought I would be wanting another service from him very soon. Seeing my confusion he apologised profusely and explained that my servants as well as the entire parish consider that I am affianced to Miss B!

I was so startled at this I had to leave the room and walk on the terrace for a few little while, despite the cold. Returning, admittedly somewhat frozen, I was met by Miss B, who was struck by my appearance and immediately led me to the fire to warm. I suddenly realised that, in addition to the assistance that she had given with the discovery of Mr Williams, she had turned this large house into a home, and I couldn’t imagine living in it without her.

I looked at her directly and asked her if she could possibly consent to be my wife. At this she smiled and asked if I was aware that everybody was expecting her to marry me. I was surprised she knew, she replied that she had known for some time and, although first thinking it amusing had been wondering for several days when I would get around to asking for her hand.

At that we both laughed and walked into the great parlour to the congratulations of our friends.

From Mary Bingham to Isabelle Rawlins, January 7th


So much has happened.

I must apologise for the definite statement I made in a letter to you a few weeks ago, you, the servants and the village were right. I must now beg your attendance here as I cannot imagine marriage, even to my dear Mr M, without you by my side.

The Buildings of England Nickolas Pevsner ed


Temple of Hope, 1780 200yds SSW of house. Small Doric summer house with cartouche in pediment including the entwined initials D and M and the date 1780, prob commemorating the marriage of Sir David Markham and Mary Bingham of that date.

Proceedings of the County Society.

Temple of Hope, Bramlingham. Interim report.

Following partial subsidence of the mound of the Temple of Hope, a grade II listed building, archaeological investigation took place prior to stabilisation work. Excavation work around the area of subsidence revealed the exterior of a brick dome, this was identified as part of the Old Ice House. An ‘Ice House’ is shown in approximately this location on an estate plan of 1772, whilst estate accounts for 1782 include the payment of £27 10s 9d for the ‘New Ice House’. It was clear that part of the main chamber roof had collapsed, it was impossible to enter the chamber safely so remote sensing and laser scanning were used to record the structure prior to it being infilled. During this a human skeleton was discovered lying on the bottom of the chamber, it appeared to be lying on demolition debris. The origin of this skeleton has excited much speculation.

1 Comment

Filed under Georgian, Ghost story

One response to “The Ice House – A mystery for the New Year – part 3

  1. Excellent. So many nice touches here.


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