“Reginald Hine, a solicitor and historian of Hertfordshire, was a familiar sight at Dent’s while his

Confessions of an Un-Common Attorney

was in production.”

Underwood (left) at work with a colleague (right) at Dents, with Reginald Hine (behind, right).

“The book contains a reference to

the haunted ruins of Minsden Chapel…”

“…the fourteeenth-century chapel

that was leased to Hine for his lifetime…”

“I had also heard about this reputed haunting from 

Elliott O’Donnell,

 a leading ghost-hunter of the day…”

“…he told me he twice visited the ruins alone…”

“…and once he heard sounds of sweet and plaintive music…”

“…and thought, just for a second,

that he saw a figure in white

standing in one of the archways.”

“But he added, in the phrase so often used

by serious ghost-hunters and psychical researchers:

‘It was gone almost at once and may have been a trick of the moonlight...’

Minsden Chapel is located not for from Letchworth

in Hertfordshire

in the village of Hitchin.

“I talked with Reginald Hine about Minsden,

and he told me there were several legends and vague stories of a murdered nun…”

“…and a phantom monk

who walk through the ruins at midnight

on All Hallows’ Eve…”

“…the ghost monk mounts steps ‘no longer visible’,

and disappears to the sound of

sweet and plaintive music’...”

“I visited Minsden accompanied by my brother

and by Tom Brown…"

“On reaching the secluded site…

we eyed the fragmentary ruins

and separated…”

“…as I turned towards the east end of the ruins, I heard faint but distinct music…”

“…as I stopped to listen,

it ceased…”

“Tom Brown hastened towards me

and reported hearing identical sounds…”

“…my brother,

only a couple of steps behind me,

heard nothing…”

After his visit, Underwood makes plans to return to experience Minsden at night...

“On the first All Hallows’ Eve that I spent at Minsden…”

“…in the company of Tom Brown and Derek Clark,

we all saw…”

“…at 1.45 a.m...”

“…a white cross which seemed to glow with an unnatural brightness for a few seconds before fading.

It continued fading and reappearing for some minutes.”

“I suppose it could possibly have been a trick of the moonlight, as a full moon was shining down at the time...”

The cross had appeared near where

the ghost of a monk was once photographed.

Reginald Hine had included the photograph (taken by his friend Thomas Latchmore) in his earlier book The History of Hitchin (1929).

Thomas William Latchmore
Minsden Ghost

Underwood points to where the luminous cross appeared upon part of the ruins of Minsden Chapel.

However Latchmore later confesses

(in an interview with Elliott O’Donnell)

that it was a hoax.

Many believe the ‘ghostly monk’ in the photograph

is none other than Reginald Hine himself

- with a hat and cloak.

“Hine was greatly interested in the cross we had seen;

and his one encounter with a ghost

remained a vivid memory…”

“It happened at Stanegarth in Bampton in Cumbria,

a crumbling Elizabehan manor-house

with no less than three ghosts…”

“The third apparition is the one Hine

saw when spending a night, a mild-mannered woman

who always seemed to appear to new occupants of the house.”

“He found himself suddenly wide awake,

and he saw a tall, fragile-looking woman

coming towards him…”

“Her face,

fixed and remote,

reminded him of a sleepwalker…”

“…but the eyes were wide open

and in his words

‘shone like the stars…’ 

“…she stretched out her right hand to touch him and Hine shrieked…”

“Help came, and the figure disappeared…”

“Hine committed suicide a few years later,

in 1949, while chatting to friends

Hitchin railway station.”

“As a train approached he casually said,

‘Wait a minute…

and walked on to the line in its path…”

“Meticulous to the end,

he left a note

addressed to the local coroner.”

“…he told me that it was his intention

that his ashes should be scattered

in Minsden Chapel…”

“…so he gave a warning

‘to trespassers and sacrilegious persons...

after my death… I will endeavour, in all ghostly ways,

to protect and haunt its hallowed walls…’ 

Hine’s memorial at Minsden Chapel