Adaptations on the Croglin Range Tale
Augustus Hare, who had the story printed, said he heard it from a Captain Fisher who leased the property after the Cranswells. He dated the events to around 1875. This immediately aroused suspicion that he had actually adapted certain sequences in a ‘penny dreadful novel’ possibly by James Malcolm Rymer: ‘Varney the Vampire’ published in 1847. Penny dreadfuls were deliberately sensational. The books sold for a penny, often authors did not want to admit they wrote them.
In 1924, Charles G. Harper decided to challenge Hare’s account of the vampire. He went to Cumberland and could not find Croglin Grange, although he found both a Croglin High Hall and a Croglin Low Hall. There was no church nearby. The closest was a mile away. There was no vault as described by the brothers and the villagers.
Later a man called F. Clive-Ross visited the area and in turn challenged Harper’s findings. He interviewed the local people and deduced that Croglin Low Hall was the Grange. He also noted that a chapel had existed near the house and its foundation stones were still there in the 1930s.
Then in 1968, D. Scott Rogo, a writer, using a book published in 1929 that contained both stories concluded that it was likely that one story was based upon the other and therefore Croglin Grange was most likely a hoax.
However some years later F. Clive-Ross found a witness, Mrs Parkin who lived at Slack Cottage in Ainstable who said she had known one of the Fishers. However this gentleman was born in the 1860’s had heard the story from his grandparents. Mrs Parkin also said that according to the deeds of Croglin Low Hall, it was commonly called Croglin Grange until 1720″.
So Hare had made a huge blunder. If the story had taken place it was two centuries earlier in 1680-1700 not the 1870s. Clive-Ross published his research in ‘Tomorrow magazine, spring 1963’.
More recent research by Lionel Fanthorpe also suggests that the events took place in the late 1600s. A vault close to the Grange was demolished during Cromwell’s time. Hence these findings, place the events before the publication of Varney the Vampire.
So what exactly happened? We shall never know. It is possible that Varney’s author heard the legend and decided to write about it as a Penny Dreadful. It was said the book was based on events that took place during the reign of Queen Anne (1702-14), near the time of the incident. Maybe Hare used Varney the Vampire for his book or perhaps he heard about the legend independently and wrote his own account. Whatever the truth, the Croglin beast will remain a mystery.