Calcott Hall first came on to the exploring radar shortly after it was introduced to the Buildings at Risk register by Powys council. There may have been a few who explored it before then, but the influx came in around 2012/2013 – and inevitably made its way in the national newspapers with lashings of “spooky” and “eerie” plastered on over-edited, HDR shots of the “Red Dress Manor”.
Having completely missed the bus on this one we thought it’d be rude not to pop in and have a look whilst in the area. The locals seem pretty jumpy and wary of anyone driving through the village. We only stopped for two minutes and already had people ask us what we were looking for! They must get it all the time.
Walking up to Calcott Hall, (grade II listed in 1953) the grandeur of this early 18th century building turns to pity as it looks as though it’s ready to give up and fall down. Built circa 1725, the Georgian-style farmhouse is in a sorry way and you can see why it was put on the buildings at risk register. Every window is broken and frames rotten. Roof tiles are missing and inside many rooms have extremely dangerous floors, and no floor at all in places. But it’s this dereliction that gives Calcott Hall its beauty.
Although almost every room looks like it’s been rearranged to create the perfect photograph, the contents of Calcott Hall are fascinating. A home which was reportedly abandoned in the ’70s after the owner fell ill has personal paperwork and photographs strewn over the floors and worktops. A pantry full of food, all obviously out of date.
As you move to the upper floors, to the bedroom which gave Calcott Hall the codename of “Red Dress Manor”, it no longer sports a red dress – apparently taken a few months ago – a nightie now drapes over the wardrobe next to a bed which still has bedsheets on. Why anyone would want to take the dress is beyond me? Perhaps it was someone annoyed at the code-naming, or perhaps a caretaker who thought it might deter explorers?
Moving down to the basement there’s more interesting items. Some lovely wooden barrels and a few bits of equipment which hint to Calcott Hall’s farming history. After making sure we had explored every room (it’s a bit of a “higgledy-piggledy” layout in there!) we packed up and made our way outside to photograph the exterior – but not before bumping in to another couple of explorers disembarking the tour bus!