Saturday, 6 August 2011

Milton Mausoleum

Milton Mausoleum was built by the 4th Duke of Newcastle as a final resting place for his wife. She died in London giving birth to twins who also did not survive. Initially interred in London, the Duke was going to have them buried in the family vault in the village of Bothamsall near his ancestral home at Haughton. He was then persuaded to re-build the church at Markham Clinton, where the family had originated from at the time of the Norman Conquest. However, a decision was made to build the mausoleum at nearby Milton half a mile down the lane from Markham.

                                                              Milton Mausoleum 

Building work started in 1824 but was not completed until 1833 when the Archbishop of York consecrated it. The Duchess and children were interred there the following year. Also intended to replace the existing parish church in Milton, it was used for services by the locals as well as being the private mausoleum and burial place for the Newcastle's. However by the 1880's the 7th Duke had built a gothic church at the side of Clumber House where members of the family used it as their place of worship and burial. Milton fell out of use with the villagers reverting to the medieval parish for their services.


By the 1970's the Newcastle's could not afford the upkeep of the mausoleum and it passed into the care of the Churches Commission. They now keep the fabric of the building safe and it is open to the public one Sunday in every month. The interior is very basic with no ornaments or items of value kept there. In fact only one side of the church has pews, the other being bare. No heating makes it feel cold and damp. it is still being used for burials by surrounding villages on occasion.

Many people in the locale have often regarded the place as haunted and tales of witchcraft have been mentioned. What is certain was that the mausoleum was desecrated in the 1980's by thieves. They broke into the mausoleum and into the crypt where the bodies lay. Fuelled by stories that the 4th Duchess was buried with all her jewels they smashed the coffins to find the treasure. The story of the jewels was false ond nothing was found. However, rumours that all the corpses had their hands removed in the vain search for the jewels were rife. After the desecration the entry to the crypt was permanently sealed

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