Clifton Hall, Nottingham
Clifton Hall is a country house in the village of Clifton, Nottinghamshire ( grid reference SK54043483 ). As well as being a Grade I listed building, the hall is part of the Clifton Village Conservation Area. While the history of the place stretches back to the 11th century, the hall was remodelled in the late 18th century in a Georgian style. It was owned by the Clifton family, Lords of the Manor of Clifton, from the late 13th century to the mid-20th century. In 2008, the hall rose to tabloid prominence when it was reported that its millionaire owner and his family had left the house because they believed it was haunted. It was repossessed and is currently on the market for £2.75m.

History

Under the Clifton family
The manor of Clifton was noted in the 11th century in the Domesday Survey. Clifton Hall is on top of a cliff on the edge of the village of Clifton, overlooking the River Trent, probably because the site was easily defensible. In the 13th century, the hall came into the ownership of the Clifton family. The Clifton family had arrived in the area in the 11th century and took their name from the village of Clifton where they settled. In the late 13th century, Gervase de Clifton bought the manors of Clifton and Wilford in Nottingham and the family became Lords of the Manor. The original form of Clifton Hall was that of a fortified tower house, designed for defence as well as habitation. Charles I stayed at Clifton Hall in 1632 as a guest of Sir Gervase Clifton, the first of the Clifton Baronets, who prepared for the royal visit by extending his stables, to designs by John Smythson, son of the renowned Jacobean architect Robert Smythson; other works may have been undertaken at the same time, but none remain. The hall was three stories high. Clifton Grove, a 2 miles (3.2 km) long double avenue of elms running alongside the River Trent to Wilford, was probably planted by Sir Gervase Clifton, 6th Baron in the late 17th century. Clifton was well known in the 19th century for its grassy terraces and the grove.

Rebuild
The house was largely rebuilt over a period of years, 1778”“1797, for a later Sir Gervase Clifton, who employed the premier architect in the north of England John Carr of York. It was probably during the remodelling that the tower of the original tower house was demolished. The octagonal domed hall built by Sir Robert Clifton, which incorporated many of the old rooms of the house, c. 1750 was retained during the rebuilding. While the south wing of the hall is Carr's work, the north wing is of a later date. The north wing was probably used by servants as quarters and a working area, while the owners would have resided in the south wing. Banker and philanthropist stay at the hall lived in the hall in about 1825. In 1896 Sir Hervey Juckes Lloyd Bruce, 4th Baronet (1843-1919) succeeded a cousin, Henry Robert Clifton, to part of the Clifton estates. The early Bruce years at Clifton are recalled in Henry James Bruce's book Silken Dalliance (1946). Lieutenant Colonel Peter Thomas Clifton began in the 1940s to sell off the remainder of the Clifton family estates. There is a local legend that a portrait in the hall of the colonel on horseback was originally intended to be one of his daughter, but was changed when she died in a riding accident in Clifton Grove while it was being painted. The story is however untrue as both of the colonel's daughters outlived the colonel and later married. In 1947, 944 acres (382 ha) (3,820,000sqm) of the family's land in Clifton was sold and an auction of the contents of Clifton Hall was held in 1953. Peter Thomas Clifton sold Clifton Hall and the remains of the estate in 1958, ending a period of 700 years where the family had owned the house.

After the Clifton family
In 1958 the hall was opened as Clifton Hall Girls' Grammar School. It remained open until 1976. Nottingham Trent University, then Trent Polytechnic, then used the hall until 2002. It was sold to a private buyer, Chek Whyte, in the early 2000s who built houses on the grounds and converted Clifton Hall into two luxury apartments. Fourteen houses were built to the south east of the hall, Anwar Rashid bought the house in January 2007 and made an application to Nottingham City Council for permission to host weddings; however in May 2007, the council denied planning permission to hold civil ceremonies and partnerships, conferences, training courses, or media events. Anwar moved out after eight months, claiming Clifton Hall was haunted.

Haunting
A reputation of Clifton Hall stretches back to at least the time when it was used as a school. Anwar Rashid, a businessman with a £25 million fortune and a portfolio of 26 properties, bought Clifton Hall in January 2007. The 52-room hall cost £3.6M and features 17 bedrooms, a private gym, a cinema, ten reception rooms, and ten bathrooms. Rashid made his fortune from a chain of nursing homes and a hotel in Dubai. Thirty-two-year-old Rashid and his family ”“ consisting of his 25-year-old wife, three daughters, and a son ”“ moved into the hall the same month as they bought the place. From the first day in the house, they allegedly experienced paranormal activity, leading them to believe that Clifton Hall was haunted. On the first evening they spent in the house, there was a knocking on the wall and they heard a voice say "is anyone there?", however they did not find anyone making the noises. Rashid said "The day we moved in we had our first experience. We sat down in the evening to relax and there was a knock on the wall. We heard this, 'Hello, is anyone there'? We ignored it the first time but two minutes later we heard the man's voice again. I got up to have a look but the doors were locked and the windows were closed." On another occasion Nabila, Anwar Rashid's wife, thought she saw her eldest daughter watching television downstairs at 5 am, however when she checked in her daughter's room, Nabila discovered her daughter was still in bed. Eventually, the family's friends refused to go round to the house. Eager to get rid of the ghosts the family believed were haunting them, they invited Ashfield Paranormal Investigation Network to investigate the hall. The investigators were unable to stop the haunting and the leader of the group said "Clifton Hall is the only place where I've ever really been scared, even in the light. It's just got a really eerie feeling about it". When drops of blood were found on the baby's quilt of their 18-month-old son, the family decided to leave. Rashid said "When we found red blood spots on the baby's quilt, that was the day my wife said she'd had enough. We didn't even stay that night". After spending eight months in Clifton Hall, the family moved out of the house in August 2007. They stopped paying the mortgage in January 2008 and, on the 18 September 2008, the Yorkshire Bank reclaimed the property. Speaking of his experience in Clifton Hall, Rashid said "When people used to tell me about ghosts, I would never believe them and would say 'whatever'. But I would have to tell any new owner that it was haunted having experienced it".