Billionaire Phones4U founder John Caudwell has revealed that his £10million mansion is ‘being haunted’ by the ‘ghost’ of a child killed in the English Civil War.
Mr Caudwell, 62, claimed visitors to his 50-room Jacobean manor in Staffordshire have felt a bed vibrate and a ghost brushing past them on the stairs.
The businessman believes the ghostly goings-on are being caused by the spirit of a terrified little boy who died in the 17th century conflict.
Spooked: Billionaire John Caudwell inside his historic mansion. He thinks the imposing building is being haunted by the ghost of a boy who was shot by a soldier loyal to Cromwell during the English Civil War
Spooky stays: Women visitors spending the night in one particular bedroom in the mansion (above) have felt its bed vibrate. Tycoon John Caudwell says the room is where the boy died
Mr Caudwell, who sold off Phones4U in 2006 for £1.4billion, said: ‘The little boy was alone in the house. All the men had gone out hunting – and the Cromwellians came down the drive.
‘He shouted: ‘We are for the king’ – and one of the soldiers lifted a musket and shot him dead.
‘He fell in the Long Gallery, crawled into one of the bedrooms and bled to death.
‘Legend has it that every so often, those blood stains come oozing through.
‘I’ve never seen that but there’s a strange thing where several women have slept in the room and felt the bed vibrate. I was not there at the time.
‘There are also stories about this ghost brushing past people on the stairs.
‘People who think they are in tune with the spirit world always say they can feel something – but it’s warm, not malevolent.’
John Caudwell in 2006 with his then partner Claire Johnson at a party hosted by Sir Elton John. Right: With his private helicopter in the grounds of his £10million Staffordshire mansion
Mixing with the stars: John and Claire with singer Stephen Gately at a charity ball in May 2009, just five months before the Boyzone singer was found dead at his holiday apartment in Majorca
Historic: Broughton Hall in Staffordshire was the scene of a Civil War tragedy according to Mr Caudwell
Mr Caudwell, who is ranked as the 42nd richest person in Britain, bought Broughton Hall 20 years ago for £800,000. The house and its 28-acres, which are near Eccleshall, are now worth more than £10million.
The businessman started work at the age of 17 on the production line of the Michelin factory in his home city, Stoke-on-Trent, for just £3 a week. He began his mobile-phone empire in 1987.
Earlier this month he spent £155million buying the Audley Street garage in Mayfair, central London. He plans to knock it down and build a high-end housing complex worth as much as £2billion.
The apartment block will contain five townhouses, three penthouses, a mews home and 21 luxury flats – rivalling properties such as the nearby One Hyde Park for the title of the world’s most desirable living space.
Mr Caudwell also made headlines earlier this year when he was granted planning permission to build his own steam railway in the grounds of Broughton Hall.
Mr Caudwell at the mansion in 2009. He has lived there for 20 years after making his money from the mobile-phone company Phones4U.
A half-sized locomotive will haul a fleet of fully furnished carriages, at an initial cost of £500,000.
Mr Caudwell said at the time: ‘It’s a mad idea – crackpot really. I’ll probably only use the railway two or three times a year but I’ve had a fascination with steam trains since I was a boy.’
No doubt they will be enjoyed by his family of five children by three women. He split from his last long-term partner, Claire Johnson, last year. The couple had been together for 15 years and remain friends. Mr Caudwell is also friends with his former wife Kate, to whom he was married for 25 years.
There are several family suites in Broughton Hall to accommodate them and Mr Caudwell’s other visitors.
He also has an £80million mansion in Mayfair and two luxury ski chalets – one in Vail, in the US, and the other in Whistler, Canada.
The English Civil War took place between 1642 and 1651.
It was fought by the Cavaliers – who remained loyal to King Charles I – and the Roundheads, who wanted to overthrow the monarchy.
Their battles saw Charles I being executed, his son, Charles II, being exiled and Oliver Cromwell taking over as the leader of a republic Britain in 1649.
Cromwell died in 1958 from suspected septicemia – and he was buried with great pomp at Westminster Abbey.
But in 1661, a year after the monarchy was restored, his body was exhumed and subjected to a ‘posthumous execution’.
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