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Harborough Museum

Brocade shoes of Papillon Hall

Brocade shoes of Papillon Hall

The shoes from Papillon Hall were reportedly owned by the Spanish mistress of David Papillon (1691-1762), known as Old Pamp. She was kept prisoner in the attic of the house and would take her exercise on the roof of the Hall.

She died in mysterious circumstances around 1715. There was no record of her death. However in 1903 during alterations to the hall, a body was found walled up somewhere in or near Old Pamp’s Attic. It may well be that she was the owner of the shoes, upon which legend has it she left a curse that would bring death and disaster to the owner of the house if ever the shoes in which she walked were to leave the house.

During the time Thomas Holford owned the house, the shoes were sent to Paris for an exhibition. From that moment, life at the hall became intolerable with strange knockings and sounds all over the house. They endeavored to get the shoes back but could not retrieve them until the exhibition had finished, so there was nothing for it but to vacate the hall. The next owner of the hall built a small container into the wall above the Hall fireplace with a strong metal grill and a padlock, so that the shoes could be seen but not touched.

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