I’m fortunate enough to own a couple of excellent quality prints of Crossbasket Castle. One of these is particularly interesting and in such incredible resolution, that it permits good zooming in on features that may have previously been missed.
This 1870 photo shows Crossbasket Castle at the time James Clark, merchant of Glasgow owned it. During this year, James was actually away from Crossbasket on a 4 year trip to Australia, leaving behind his teenage daughters.
A few years earlier on 30th April 1863, his beloved wife Agnes, died whilst at Crossbasket at only 39 years old. James never really got over this tragedy, and the event denied the children growing up with their mother. Perhaps to overcome his grief, he left on his voyage to the other side of the world in 1867. Now, lets get back to the photo.
There, in the arched upper window, is a ghostly figure, which looks like a woman, bent over knitting or doing crochet with her hands. Could the photographer have captured a Crossbasket ghost on camera? This suggestion and picture has never been put forth to anybody either verbally or in writing before this time. Of course, it may simply be one of the little Misses Clark, wondering what was going on down below.
However, keep this in mind. It was 1870. James Clark was abroad, leaving the four daughters aged between 10 and 18 either looked after by a governess, or perhaps their elder brothers? Maybe, just maybe this was the late Agnes Clark (nee Barclay), James’s 2nd wife, in the window, back to look over the safety of her children, gazing down on the river spot she was so fond of? She had died only a few years previous and these upper bedrooms in the new extension would have been the bedrooms of the family, rather than servants. Indeed, that particular room is one of the most commodious bedrooms in the house. It was then, just as it is now in the 2015 renovation. At the time, there were no trees this height or in front of the building that could have caused this reflection. Indeed, the area was hugely open.
Want to know more? The Book “The History of Crossbasket” by Paul Veverka is available on Amazon.co.uk