It’s said that a ghost haunts the historic Malvern Hall in Solihull. There are reports of a ghost being seen on the stairwell in the early hours of the morning. The luminous figure apparently appears around midnight and descends the staircase before disappearing.
The ghost is said to be Rev. Charles Meysey Meysey Wigley (1804-1830) (known as Meysey), who suffered an accident at Malvern Hall in October 1830. He was living there because his elder brother, Edmund Meysey Wigley (1798-1833) inherited the Malvern Hall estate in 1829.
Edmund inherited the estate from a distant cousin, Henry Greswolde Lewis, with the condition that Edmund should adopt the Greswolde surname. He was granted a Royal licence to use the surname Greswolde, becoming Edmund Meysey Wigley Greswolde.
Edmund was a soldier and was away with his regiment for much of the time so his younger brother, Meysey, and their sister Caroline (1801-1873) lived in the Hall and looked after things whilst their brother was away.
Although some reports of Rev. Wigley’s death suggest he fell from his horse, this is untrue. This article in the Oxford University and City Herald, Saturday 16th October 1830, gives an account which corresponds to that in the diary of the Rev. Archer Clive, Rector of St Alphege Church at the time:
The inmates of Malvern Hall, the seat of Major Greswolde, were thrown into the greatest consternation early on Wednesday morning last, by a very distressing accident which occurred to the Rev. Charles Meysey Meysey Wigley, brother to the proprietor of that mansion. The unhappy gentleman, in attempting to descend the stairs in the dark, made a false step, and was unfortunately precipitated from the top of the staircase to the bottom. Mr Wigley was so seriously injured by the fall, that he survived only six hours after its occurrence.
The staircase in question has been altered since the time of the Wigleys’ residence as a result of renovations by later owners. The top storey of the hall was removed following the purchase of Malvern Hall by David Troman in 1896. The crystal chandeliers in the entrance hall and on the staircase, seen in the photo above, were presented in 1956 by the Governors and past and present members of staff in honour of the 25th anniversary of Solihull High School for Girls.
Just over two years after Meysey’s death, his elder brother, Edmund, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the 6th or Enniskillen Dragoons, died of cholera in Cahir, Ireland on 6th January 1833. As he was unmarried and had no children, he had no direct heir. His younger brother, Meysey, would have been the heir, but had predeceased Edmund.
Malvern Hall devolved to Edmund’s uncle, Henry Wigley (1760-1849) who also adopted the surname Greswolde.
Malvern Hall has been home to a succession of schools since 1931, and there have been reports of the ghost over this time, although he was described by Saint Martin’s School as a “friendly ghost” so there’s no need to worry!
Heritage & Local Studies Librarian
© Solihull Council, 2020.
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