I spent this weekend intensely researching the Priory of Whiteladies, offically known as the Priory of St. Leonard, and Whiteladies house for the starting of Charles escape adventures. Whiteladies house is hard to find things on, but I found it supposedly was built at the eastern side of the priory and had a small walled garden. Current visitors report a 'green gate' that lets you into the priory grounds. They've removed the ivy that once covered the standing walls, but I found an old picture that showed it still on.
I did find a very neat story of a wooden statue of the Virgin Mary that the Giffard Family found in the ruins of the priory and took into the house. It seems to be rather large, and the Penderels ended up having custody of it. Apparently it was in Whiteladies house at the time of Charles visit and was miildly damaged by the troopers who came to search not long after the King had departed. Then I found a replica of the statue still exists at a church in Brewood, so now I have a picture of it even for my files! Whiteladies Priory was where Guenivere of the Authurian legends supposedly came after King Arthur's death, and spent the rest of her life there. She is supposedly buried somewhere nearby after dying at the priory, but no one knows where her grave is.
The priory itself there was more information to be found on, tons of pictures, and quite a number of recent 'ghost hunts' conducted at the site. Reports of ghostly manifestations commonly include: small balls of light, seeing a human shaped figure made of mist, sharp screams, music, chanting, bells, whispering and other odd mists. Can't use all of that, but I'll manage to work in something. There are a number of grave markers that sit inside the priory walls, and there are three fish ponds on the far side from Whiteladies house.
Also researched Colonel Ashenhurst, mentioned in several old works about Charles' Adventure. This turns out to be Colonel Edward Ashenhurst, of the Staffordshire militia who was appointed by the House of Commons to adjucate matters when needed and to act in the state's interest. Yeah, he acted in the state's interest all right - he found a widow trying to get back her sequestered properly and bought it for himself. Can't establish a birth or death date for him, but he seems to have had a child, John born in 1647 and a child, Marie born in 1648.
Local Legends involve an ancestor of Charles Giffard killing a panther that was about to pounce on a woman near his house (it was his escaped pet) He killed the beast with a magnificent shot from his cross bow, and thus his armorial shield was augmented... so apparently the story is true.
Also in the area, sightings of 'The Wild Hunt'... usually not before the LAST battle of a war, but before the SECOND to the last battle. Wild Edgar seems to lead the Wild Hunt in Shropshire at times. He is accompanied by dark clouds, thunder, lightening and the normal other accoutrements of the Wild Hunt. Dresses in green.
Veteran trees - trees with a circumference of more than 8 feet are given this designation and would be at least 700 years old. Brewood Forest probably had a number of them. Many have special tales associated with them. Still looking into those.
Also looked up what the Penderels do for a living as 'woodmen'....
Coppiced trees are ones that are cut off close to the ground leaving 'stools'. New tree trunks start out of the stool and grow upwards fast and much fuller than normal for the variety tree. This was the old way of 'reforesting' without having to grow from a seedling. The new forming tree has the massive root system of the full sized tree that was removed, and so grows much fuller and faster than normal. The taken section is then sold by the woodmen. Coppicing is done on a rotational basis. How long between harvests depends on the kind of tree. Trees common to Shropshire consist of oak, ash, willow, birch, and hawthorne. An area that has been coppiced will experience open areas with a profusion of wildflowers and dense bramble growth, while the thicker and more heavily shaded areas will have more clear forest ground.
At dawn or near dawn on Thursday, 4 September 1651, after saying he must now travel on his own to escape England ..... Charles went from Whiteladies House, through the ruins, and into Spring Coppice, about half a mile away where he spent the day with Richard Penderel. It rained heavily, becoming a downpour while he was in the woods. It was too wet for him to sleep, and soldiers were on the nearby roads, going back and forth. They didn't venture into the coppice due to the rain, which while it was raining over the coppice very heavily, was not raining other places. Being human creatures they followed the path of least resistance and searched for the king where it was NOT raining. The moon calendar shows 4 Sep 1651 to be the full 'dark of the moon' phase, so the nights would have been VERY dark.
Now to start writing all of this up in third person story form....... :D