Lore on Tour! Drayton Manor – Police, Phantoms & Pirate Ships

This is a story of a place with two identities. There’s the Drayton Manor that was the home of Lettice Knollys (grand-niece of Ann Boleyn) and rebuilt in 1830 by Sir Robert Peel, founder of the Metropolitan Police Force and future British Prime Minister. Where Peel entertained Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in 1843 and from where his body was taken to be buried at the local parish church of Drayton Bassett following his death in 1850 from injuries sustained falling off his horse on Constitution Hill in London.
The Drayton Manor that passed to the next three Sir Robert Peels, only for them to fritter it away until all that remained was the ivy clad clock tower. Have a look here if you are interested in the story of how the estate came to ruin. 
History of the Peel Family 

 In 1950, the second Drayton Manor, the one most would associate with today was born, opening with one restaurant, a tea room, three hand operated rides, six rowing boats and some dodgems.  Some of my memories from the 1980s are of frisbee, football and picnics on the grassy car park, trying to stretch the day out, because Mum and Dad wouldn’t buy any more ride tickets; the horror of plastic animals jolting up out of the water and the dark tunnel of the Jungle Cruise *shudder*; finding out the hard way that sitting on the end of the Pirate Ship is not the same ride as sitting in the middle of the Pirate Ship, and perhaps most of all The Snake Train, which was toned down in 1986 and finally closed in 1993, saving future generations from bruises, whiplash and worse. For some pictures of Drayton Manor Park from the 1950s to the 1990s visit their website Drayton Manor 60th Anniversary 

Now, I can’t resist a ghost story, and Drayton Manor has a fair few.  Sir Robert Peel, whilst Prime Minister, was taking a walk in the grounds of Drayton Manor, when apparently his father (deceased) appeared to him and had a chat.

Sir Robert himself is believed to have been seen wandering the grounds or riding his horse up the drive to the caravan site (!). People have heard horses running towards them in one of the lanes at the back of Drayton Manor.  Opposite the nearby central stores, the black outline of a gentleman, said to be ‘Sir Bobby’, can be seen standing looking woefully into the distance. Perhaps he’s thinking about his spendthrift descendants and his squandered legacy.However, the naughty Peels still seem to be having a good time  – in the park’s Missanda Suite lights switch on and off on their own accord and even party-like noises have been heard coming from the suite late at night.  Also, beer occasionally dispenses itself at the Park Inn where the clock regularly comes off the wall for no apparent reason. At the clock tower, one of the few features of the original Drayton Manor building, ‘someone’ has been seen loitering around and even climbing the tower itself. 

One final interesting fact about Drayton Manor is that the Tamworth Breed Pig originated at the Estate.  Also, there are some pictures of the house and estate at the StaffsPastTrack website

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