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    Hunting Down Scottish Greenknowe Tower’s Ghosts…

    Mairiuna, as a continuity to your post on Greenknowe Tower, let’s put together a video, mixing the recording that Jean-Claude did of the sound produced when opening the iron gate (the yett) and the pictures we took while investigating this beautiful ruined tower in Berwickshire.  🙂


    Although local folk tales, as you mentioned, said this place is the most haunted place in the area, we could not find in our respective libraries and archives, nor on the Internet, any further documentation relating to this fact. If anyone has some information to that effect, we would be very grateful to know about it, as it does intrigue us much.

    Being both fascinated by Scottish ghost stories and other mysterious legends of the Highlands and Islands, we despair in not finding more facts and feats relating to the haunting tales of Greenknowe Tower.

    While researching the web, we did stumble upon Lucy M. Boston’s novels: The Children of Green Knowe, but they don’t seem to relate to the Scottish Greenknowe Tower.

    Green Knowe means “green hill”, so it could be anywhere in the world!

    Still took time to learn more about this attractive children’s classic series and can tell you they will soon find a place on our bookshelves. As an insight, here’s a reader comment:

    The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston

    The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston 2006

    A ghost story for children, the novel revolves around Toseland (Tolly) Oldknow who goes to live with his great-Grandmother in the ancestral family home, Green Knowe, that has been known as Green Noah for centuries. Tolly and his Grandmother see ghosts of their ancestors, primarily three siblings -an earlier Toseland (Toby), Andrew, and Linette- who lived during the reign of Charles II and died in the Great Plague. There was a curse placed upon a large (green) topiary of Noah in the garden by a witch, the resulting tree demon affecting the Oldknow males and the topiary is left to become overgrown ever since, and another supernatural element in the protective stone St Christopher who becomes animated.

    The novel is supernaturally evocative; the reader is caught up in the magic and its charm was not lost on me as an adult. The more ominous, frightening, tension was less effective now but that is only to be expected. The writing is beautifully depictive, the descriptions poetic, and I found this line wonderfully expressive:

    He heard no thunder. It was even unnaturally quiet. Perhaps it only seemed unnatural because he himself was brimming with excitement. He heard the weir pounding at the end of the garden. It only made the quietness quieter. It was rather like a heart that is only heard when it beats too loud.”


    In another search engine result, a descriptive text on the Manor of Hemingford Grey indicates it became famous with Lucy M. Boston’s series of children’s books, so we guess that answers our question about which residence influenced the author!  😉

    “The house was recreated and made famous as the house of Green Knowe by Lucy Boston in her series of children’s books, now regarded as classics. Her son Peter’s illustrations depict many of the things in the house and garden. The attic contains toys used by the fictional children of the past; thus visitors get the feeling of ‘walking into the books’.

    She wrote about family belongings in the house and her son Peter Boston illustrated the books, drawing many of these as well as the house and garden.

    In the winter, as well as writing, Lucy Boston made many exquisite patchworks, most of which are on display. Rarely can such an important collection be seen in the house in which the exhibits were made.

    This moated house is surrounded by four acres of garden renowned for its collection of over 200 old roses and a collection of irises containing many famous Dykes medal winners, most of them dating from the 1950s. There are hidden corners in the garden so visitors find themselves coming to unexpected parts which are unanticipated from the first impression gained by looking down into it from the public footpath along the towpath beside the river Great Ouse. With its large herbaceous borders of mainly scented plants the garden gives the feeling of being a cottage garden full of favourite plants in a rather formal setting of lawns with topiary coronation shapes and chess pieces in their black and white planted squares.


    Lucy M Boston - The Green Knowe Children's Book Series

    Lucy M Boston - The Green Knowe Children's Book Series


    Product Description

    (….) L.M. Boston’s thrilling and chilling tales of Green Knowe, a haunted manor deep in an overgrown garden in the English countryside, have been entertaining readers for half a century. There are three children: Toby, who rides the majestic horse Feste; his mischievous little sister, Linnet; and their brother, Alexander, who plays the flute. The children warmly welcome Tolly to Green Knowe… even though they’ve been dead for centuries. But that’s how everything is at Green Knowe. The ancient manor hides as many stories as it does dusty old rooms. And the master of the house is great-grandmother Oldknow, whose storytelling mizes present and past with the oldest magic in the world.

    About the Author

    Lucy Maria Boston (1892-1990) purchased a ramshackle manor house near Cambridge, England, in 1935, which over a period of two years she lovingly restored. It is the house that inspired her, at the age of sixty-two, to take pen in hand and create the beloved Green Knowe chronicles. L.M. Boston said she wrote her books to please herself–but the pleasure of her stories extends to all who read them.

    Talk soon,


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