Friday, October 10, 2008
Church Hill Plantation
Church Hill Plantation is located on Route 14 directly across from what used to be Gloucester County Day School, now Ware Academy, where I attended grade school. One time our class went on a field trip to Church Hill, clear across the road. It wasn't much of a trip, per se, distance-wise, but it was a field trip I'll never forget. Even at that young age I was fascinated with old houses, and here was an opportunity to go inside one without violating any trespassing laws.
For as long as I can remember and well beyond that since my memory only dates back two days, Gloucester's Church Hill Plantation, which dates to pre-1700's, has been associated with a ghost story.
Legend has it that a young girl, pining away for a lost love, fell ill one winter and died. She was buried on the grounds of the family estate. That evening was a cold, snowy, blustery night. A thief rumored to be a disgruntled servant dug the coffin up and stole the jewelry she'd been buried with. Unable to get one of the rings off her finger, he cut the finger off. Imagine his amazement when the shock of his action caused the girl to awaken from whatever coma she was in. The thief ran off into the night.
The girl, weak and bleeding, dragged her way in the snow storm to the front door. She scratched and knocked to the best of her ability, but to no avail. The wind was howling, and whatever noise she made was attributed to the storm by people inside. She eventually succumbed to the elements and they found her dead on the front door step the next morning.
They (whoever "they" are) say that sometimes rustling skirts are heard in the house. Some say they have seen blood stains in the first snow of winter or on the door where she was knocking. Others say that the most beautiful violets sprout up where she died.
I have no idea if any of this is true, if parts of it are true, or if none of it is true, but I do know this: Church Hill is one gorgeous old house with lots of stories associated with it.
And every time I drive by I want to pull in and look around for blood stains and violets. Except that would be trespassing.
Unless I said I was the Avon lady.....