One of the oddest ghost stories I've ever heard concerns a pair of haunted shoes and there relationship with Papillon Hall. Legend has it that a wicked lord of the manor back in the eighteenth century kept a Spanish mistress prisoner in the house and that with her dying breath she cursed the house. If ever her shoes left terrible things would happen. Over the years the shoes left a few times, apparently every time they did things went bump in the night until they were returned. It was bad enough to ensure that the shoes were eventually kept behind an iron grill above the hall fireplace (for more details see here).
In 1903 Lutyens was called in to renovate the hall (his workmen soon came to believe in the curse) he turned the existing octagonal building into a butterfly plan and fortunately it was reasonably well documented in Country Life (here I would dearly like to pinch these images but suspect Country Life would take a dim view, do take a good look at the lilly pond picture) because in 1950 the house was demolished. The floor plan for Papillon appears in a few text books so I was familiar with it both from an architectural perspective and from the ghost stories and have wanted to see it for an age. I got my chance today thanks to the Scottish one exercising his academic credentials and hitching along with The Leicestershire and Rutland Gardens Trust.
I knew the house was gone,(the sight is on a farmyard and access is dependant on the good will of the farmer, he's lovely but this is not a public sight) but had assumed there would be visible foundations, perhaps a course or two of bricks. There isn't. The lilly pond is still there and at first glance that's it. Careful prodding around revealed bits of stonework and tile, possibly the dining room fireplace, and the end of the billiard room gable. There was a bit of brickwork on the ground identifiable from one of the Country Life pictures which was very exciting and a few other tantalising clues, but for the first time I really understood how much of our architectural heritage we lost in the aftermath of the second world war when unaffordable country houses were knocked down wholesale. There are scraps of documentation left, (Country Life again and a few memoires from people who had the foresight to realise there was something worth recording) but so much has gone forever and 60 years or more after its destruction it's slipping out of our collective memory that these places ever even stood. It makes me wonder what else was out there.