The Scapa Flow Landscape Partnership Scheme

The ghost of Melsetter

When William Heddle was a small boy he ran to his mum to ask for his jacket, which she had been mending for him. She told him that his jacket was in her sewing room, and was mended and ready for him, and that he should go there for it.

He replied that he had done so, but had hesitated to go in to the room as he feared he would disturb the little old lady in grey who was asleep on the sofa.

His mother replied, “Oh! Have you seen her? She is often there when I am sewing or writing letters but I thought that no one else had seen her.”

Not long afterwards, the boy’s sister also saw the little old lady.

At least this little old lady had company. In the 19th century the family at Melsetter had business interests in Sierra Leone. Locals told of a black woman who was seen arriving at the house. She was never seen leaving it...