The day was perfect, but exploring the Hermitage Ruins in Ancaster had me whispering through the wrought iron gates, what happened here? You could feel the loneliness of the place, even before learning of it's history, the Ruins are aptly named.
In 1830, at this very spot, there lived a Reverend named George Sheed who built his home here. Unfortunately he never lived to see his dream come true of ministering his own church because he died before it was finished. In 1833, a Greek man named Otto Ives along with his wife and beautiful niece took over the property and moved in. They had hired a coachman named William Black, who fell in love with the niece. Unfortunately Mr. Ives was a man of status and connections, and therefore denied William permission to marry his niece. Back in those days, it was important to maintain a certain status and it was considered unwise to marry someone with no money. As you can imagine, this broke Williams heart. The devastating reality hit him so badly that he had gone to the gatehouse and hung himself. :( The next morning when William was supposed to bring Mr. Ives and the niece to town, the carriage never arrived. Minutes later screams were heard from the coach house where they found Williams cold, body dangling from the rafters.
What makes this story even more heart breaking is that in this era, when someone took their own life, they weren't given a proper burial, because it was considered a sin. So poor William was given a shallow grave at the nearest crossroads of the mansion. It is because of this sad tale, that the area is so popular for paranormal activities. The paranormal society claims that you can hear William crying or seeing him wandering the grounds, sometimes alone or with a woman by his side. Well I don't believe in that sort of thing, but that doesn't mean I don't believe that others do. They have their right to believe this, just as I do to not believe. I just find that his life and the way he died horribly sad.
The mansion had passed a few more hands and in 1855, Mr. George Brown Leith bought and sold 10 acres to his daughter and her husband 10 years later. In 1901, Georges youngest daughter Alma Lauder took over the estate. Alma loved the home so much, she never left it and even after a house party left the house in ruins in 1934, Alma refused to leave the home she loved. She died at 87 years old, and once again Paranormal activists believe her spirit is still roaming the property. The only remains of the estate to this day is the old gatehouse and the ruins of the original home.