Monthly Archives: October 2011
Today was a perfect day to be at Eldon House, in costume, sharing the Eldon House ghost story, as it was told by Sarah Harris nearly 130 years ago. Over one-hundred people ventured out to hear the haunting tale of Wenman Wynniatt’s ghost and how it affected the eldest Harris daughter, Sarah.
Walking through the house after the retelling of the story, one could literally walk in the ghost’s footsteps: in the library, through the hall, and into the dining-room where finally he vanished into thin air.
Upstairs, the blue bedroom at the end of the hall is where I imagine Sarah getting ready for the ball. Did she sit at her vanity doing her hair, only later to feel it was all in vain when Wynniatt never showed? Or, when he did appear, he didn’t bother to stick around for those promised dances, he just left suddenly without even speaking to her. Did she look out the window that night, as she got ready for bed, wondering where he went and why he acted so strangely?
Of course, she would have realized afterwards that it was hardly his fault. He did in fact try to keep his date with her. He just couldn’t dance, nor speak, because he wasn’t really there at all…as she found out the next morning when his body was pulled from the river. His pocket watch was stopped on the time that he had appeared in the ballroom the night before.
Perched on the hill at the end of Central Avenue overlooking Blackfriar’s Bridge in London Ontario is a mansion called Blackfriar Estate. The building has also been known as The Bishop’s Palace, and was originally named Firbrae.
This Italianate estate home was built in 1870 by Thomas Kent whose father was granted much of the land along the river by the Crown of England in the 1840’s. Despite selling off most of the land, this parcel was retained by the family and Thomas built the home after selling some of the remaining land along the river to the City of London.
When Thomas died without an heir the house was purchased for Bishop Fallon by John Donnelly and the property became the residence of 6 Roman Catholic Bishops until 2008.
The property is now owned by Blackfriar Estate Condominiums which has made an obvious effort to retain much of the historical features of the building, while updating it for contemporary living. The building includes 3 main suites which are equipped complete with fireplaces, kitchens and bathroom facilities. Enjoy this visual tour of the three suites, the ceiling medallions and fireplaces are all original as are many features that remain within the building.