Do You Remember the Haunted House?

James Lodge, Bottesford

The ruins of James Lodge, photographed on 12-03-77
Edward and Hannah James
A 1950s picture of farmer Jerry Firth (R), Michael Bradshaw and Angela Bradshaw, and a young girl, with Jericho Farm (James Lodge) on the left of the horizon.

We are grateful to Mr. Chip Sutton for this picture of the ruins of James Lodge, once known to local children as ‘the haunted house’.

Mr. Sutton tells us that the house was used by Italian prisoners of war as a shelter when they were working in the surrounding fields. They decorated the interior with drawings. He believes that the house, the site of which is now on the other side of the by-pass,  may once have been the property of Mr. Valentine Green.

Mr Herbert Daybell adds:

“The following is taken form an interview with Daniel Richmond Daybell in the December 6th 1902 edition of The Agricultural World magazine.

The first boar I ever bought won the first prize at Bingham. It belonged to an old farming family named James of Elton. I remember that Mr James had 11 sons, all of them cricketers. He sent out a challenge that they would play the 11 sons of anyone else in the kingdom, but it was never taken up.

I remember walking over to James Lodge with friends as a boy birds nesting. On the walls of what was left of the house there was the “Kilroy was here” graffiti that had been popular during the Second World War and an image of Christ drawn in charcoal from the remnants of a fire on one wall. I was told that it had been done by an Italian prisoner of war.”

On the 1901 census James Lodge was unoccupied. In 1881 the James brothers, Edward (70) and Henry (67) farmed 78 acres and lived in the Lodge with Edward’s wife Hannah (68). Two grandchildren, Amabel Farmer (12) and Edward H. Farmer (9), who were born in Grantham, lived or were staying with them at the time of the census. They had one servant, 15 year old Elizabeth Padget from Barrowby. Amabel and Edward’s mother, Sarah, was a Bottesford woman who had married a Grantham¬† architect, Edward Farmer. By 1891, 80 year old Edward (retired farmer) and 78 year old Hannah were the only occupants of James Lodge.

In 1861, Edward and Hannah James were already farming at James Lodge jointly with his brother Henry James, working 232 acres, employing three labourers and three boys. They had two daughters, Sarah (13) and Mary H. (10), and two sons Edward (9) and John Thomas (5). There were five other James households in Bottesford at this time included those of Francis James, victualler (Red Lion), Hannah James (widow, 49, blacksmith) and Grace James (widow, 35, Dame School Mistress). Grace shared her house in Chapel Street with her grand-daughter Grace Spalton, who is described in the 1861 census as being “1h” (one hour) old!

Also in 1861, John James (42) kept the Norton Arms in Elton and also, jointly with his brother Isaac James (35), farmed 140 acres, employing 3 men and 3 boys. His wife was Jane James (aged 30) and they had three daughters Ann, Sarah and Jane, all born in Elton. John had inherited the inn and farm from his father, also John James, who had been born in Granby and was living at the inn in 1851.

Returing to the Elton family, in 1871 the inn and farm belonged to Jane James, assisted by her brother Henry Henson. Ann, Sarah and Jane are still there, together with young brother John aged 8. But in 1881, only John is left, aged 18, describing himself in the census as a licenced victualler and farmer employing 2 labourers and 4 boys. No Jameses are listed in the 1891 and 1901 censuses of Elton.

This was the Elton family visited by Daniel Richmond Daybell, presumably well before 1881, though it is not clear who the eleven sons were.

The picture of Edward and Hannah James, below, comes from the magnificent family albums shown to us by Mrs. Audrey Cole at the last Project Exhibition.

Can anyone tell us more about James Lodge and its owners?

This page was added on 25/11/2008.

Comments about this page

  • Like Chip Sutton I also visited this old building, as did most of the boys in the village. I can remember the drawings on the interior of the farm walls and some of them were worthy of a space in an art gallery.

    The attached photo was taken by my father in the late 50s at Jerry Firth’s farm down Barkestone Lane.

    The picture shows my sister myself and Jerry Firth – the old building can be seen on the far left on the horizon.

    I’m not sure but I seem to think it was called Jericho Farm. Perhaps Chip Sutton can remember.

    Regards Michael Bradshaw.

    [The picture is the second in the main page above. Ed].

    By Michael Bradshaw (25/11/2008)
  • In about 1949 – 1950 I was laying galvanized water pipes over these fields for Mr Firth’s cattle. Little did I know that I was walking the same ground as my wife’s great great and great grandmothers farm.
    Her great gran was Sarah James Nee Farmer. Small world. How things change. G Cole plumber

    By Geoffrey cole (30/03/2009)
  • Does any one know the reason why The James lodge was said to be haunted ??? Is there a story behind it or was it just kids imaginations running wild?
    Is the site of the ruin at the junction of Redmile lane and the new bye pass road? It seems to show on Google earth at this location – puzzled G Cole.

    By G Cole (06/04/2009)
  • I think all of the Belvoir Road lads went over there at some time during their youth, I know I did. Me and Billy Mitton and Monte shifted some floorboards and I found an old muzzle loading shotgun. I started to restore it, but sold it to Paul Adlington!

    By Richard Bradshaw (15/12/2020)
  • It wasn’t Just the boys that went over there. I remember walking across the fields to it in my youth

    By Roz Stanley (12/08/2021)

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