Manor of Clifton

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Clifton Hall standing above the River Trent, viewed from north-west
Clifton Hall, east front
Clifton Hall in 2008, east front, viewed from graveyard of the Church of St Mary the Virgin

The Manor of Clifton was a historic manor situated near the City of Nottingham, England. The manor house, known as Clifton Hall is situated on the right bank of the River Trent in the village of Clifton, Nottinghamshire,[1] (grid reference SK54043483).[2] about 3 1/2 miles south-west of the historic centre of the City of Nottingham, now partly the campus of Nottingham Trent University and partly a large council estate of modern housing. The Hall is a Grade I listed building,[3] and is situated within the Clifton Village Conservation Area.[4] Clifton Hall was remodelled in the late 18th century in a Georgian style. The manor was held by the de Clifton (later Clifton) family from the late 13th century to the mid-20th century. In 2008 Clifton Hall rose to national prominence when it was reported in tabloid newspapers that its millionaire owner, Anwar Rashid, and his family had left the house and stopped paying the mortgage because they believed it was haunted.[5] It was repossessed by the bank and is currently for sale at £2.75m.[6]


Domesday Book[edit]

The manor of Clifton was noted in the Domesday Book of 1086. Clifton Hall is on top of a cliff on the edge of the village of Clifton, overlooking the River Trent,[7] probably because the site was easily defensible.[8] Clifton Hall was originally a fortified tower house, designed for defence as well as habitation.[7]

de Clifton[edit]

Arms of Clifton of Clifton, Nottingham: Sable semée of cinquefoils and a lion rampant argent

Description of Hall[edit]

The Hall was three stories high.[7] Clifton Grove, a 2 miles (3.2 km) long double avenue of elm trees running alongside the River Trent to Wilford, was probably planted by Sir Gervase Clifton, 6th Baronet in the late 17th century. Clifton was well known in the 19th century for its grassy terraces and the grove.[7]

Cliftons Elm grove can be seen in the distance to the left in this 1695 landscape painting by Jan Siberechts


The house was largely rebuilt between 1778 and 1797 by a later Sir Gervase Clifton, who employed the premier architect in the north of England John Carr of York. It was probably during this remodelling that the tower of the original house was demolished. The octagonal domed hall built by Sir Robert Clifton, which incorporated many of the old rooms of the house,[7] c.1750 was retained during the rebuilding.[20] The south wing of the Hall is Carr's work, but the north wing is of a later date, probably used by servants as quarters and a working area.[4] Banker and philanthropist stay at the hall lived in the hall in about 1825.[citation needed][21]

In 1896 Sir Hervey Juckes Lloyd Bruce, 4th Baronet (1843–1919) succeeded his 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).[22]

Lieutenant Colonel Peter Thomas Clifton began in the 1940s to sell off the remainder of the Clifton family estates. A local legend states erroneously 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 while it was being painted, in a riding accident in Clifton Grove.[23] The story is however untrue as both of the colonel's daughters outlived the colonel and later married.[24] 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. In 1958 Peter Thomas Clifton sold Clifton Hall and the remains of the estate, thus ending a period of 700 years of ownership by his family.[7]

After the Clifton family[edit]

In 1958 the Hall became Clifton Hall Girls' Grammar School, which closed in 1976. Nottingham Trent University, then Trent Polytechnic,[7] then used the Hall until 2002.[4] In the early 2000s it was sold to Chek Whyte, who built houses on the grounds and converted Clifton Hall into two luxury apartments.[7] Fourteen houses were built to the south east of the Hall.[4] Anwar Rashid bought the house in January 2007[25] and applied to Nottingham City Council for a licence to hold weddings.[25] In May 2007 the council refused planning permission to hold civil ceremonies and partnerships, conferences, training courses or media events.[26] Anwar moved out after eight months, claiming Clifton Hall was haunted.[25]


A reputation of Clifton Hall as haunted by ghosts stretches back to at least the time when it was used as a school.[23] Anwar Rashid, a businessman with a £25 million fortune and a portfolio of 26 properties, bought Clifton Hall in January 2007.[25] The 52-room Hall cost £3.6M and included 17 bedrooms, a gym, a cinema,[27] 10 reception rooms and 10 bathrooms.[26] Rashid made his fortune from a chain of nursing homes and a hotel in Dubai.[25] 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 they bought it. 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 reportedly a knocking on the wall and a voice saying "is anyone there?", however they did not find anyone making the noises.[27] 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."[26] 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.[27]

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".[27] 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 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".[25]


  1. ^ latitude=52.907906; longitude=-1.196309
  2. ^ Historic England. "Clifton Hall (317834)". PastScape. Retrieved 23 September 2008.
  3. ^ Listed building text[1]
  4. ^ a b c d "Clifton ward south: Report of services director planning, transport and highways". 23 May 2007. Retrieved on 25 September 2008.
  5. ^ "Millionaire spooked from mansion". BBC NEWS. Retrieved 2012-11-21.
  6. ^ "The Most Expensive Repossessed Properties".
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h "Clifton Family of Clifton: A Brief History". Nottingham University. Retrieved on 23 September 2008.
  8. ^ "Clifton Hall — The Epiphany Of Elegance — History". 2006. Retrieved on 23 September 2008.
  9. ^ Clifton Family of Clifton: a Brief History[2], introduction to Clifton of Clifton Collection, Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham Manuscripts and Special Collections
  10. ^ Betham, William, The Baronetage of England: or The History of the English Baronets, Volume 1, Ipswich, 1801, p.49 et seq.[3]
  11. ^ Clifton Family of Clifton: a Brief History (University of Nottingham)
  12. ^ Clifton Family of Clifton: a Brief History (University of Nottingham)
  13. ^ Clifton Family of Clifton: a Brief History (University of Nottingham)
  14. ^ Clifton Family of Clifton: a Brief History (University of Nottingham)
  15. ^ Clifton Family of Clifton: a Brief History (University of Nottingham)
  16. ^ Clifton Family of Clifton: a Brief History (University of Nottingham)
  17. ^ Clifton Family of Clifton: a Brief History (University of Nottingham)
  18. ^ "Royal link to historic listed building". 19 September 2008. Retrieved on 23 September 2008.
  19. ^ Mark Girouard, Robert Smythson, pp 269f.
  20. ^ Howard Colvin, A Biographical Dictionary of British Architects, 1600–1840, 3rd ed. (Yale University Press), 1995, s.v. "Carr, John", "Smythson, John".
  21. ^ 'Townships: Clifton', A History of the County of Lancaster: Volume 4 (1911), pp. 404–406. URL: Date accessed: 23 September 2008.
  22. ^ Biography of Sir Hervey Juckes Lloyd Bruce (1843-1919) at, accessed 17 January 2011
  23. ^ a b "Clifton Hall: So Creepy". 23 September 2008. Retrieved on 23 September 2008.
  24. ^ "Person Page — 18618". Retrieved on 25 September 2008.
  25. ^ a b c d e f "Millionaire spooked from mansion". BBC Online. 21 September 2008. Retrieved on 23 September 2008.
  26. ^ a b c Alastair JamiesoJohn (21 September 2008). "Spooked businessman flees 'haunted' mansion". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved on 23 September 2008.
  27. ^ a b c d Jonathan Brown (22 September 2008). "Family abandon their 'haunted' dream home". The Independent. Retrieved on 23 September 2008.

Further reading[edit]

  • Bloomfield, Anne (2005). The Clifton Dynasty: A Chronicle of the Cliftons of Clifton Hall, Nottinghamshire. AuthorHouse UK DS. ISBN 1-4208-2883-5.
  • Bruce, Rev. Rosslyn, Rector of Clifton, The Clifton Book (Nottingham), 1906, esp. Chapter III. The Cliftons of Clifton[4]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°54′28″N 1°11′47″W / 52.9079°N 1.1963°W / 52.9079; -1.1963