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Knobbly bannister

Have you ever wondered why the “servants’ staircase” has these little knobs all along the banister? Lots of stories abound, but the most commonly heard one is to stop servants sliding down the banister.

Well, Easter Daffodil, sister of the last squire Harry Clifton, left us some notes before she died. It is full of fascinating stories about her life and according to her the banister was fitted with the knobs because her uncle Caryl (brother of John Talbot Clifton), fell down and broke his neck when he was 4 years old. She said the butler carried him on a large tray to his mother and the doctor ordered him to lie flat until he was well. She ends “Later he joined the army-but had a stiff neck.”

This uncle must have been Charles Caryl Clifton, who was born 25 April 1877. He fought in the Boer War and the First World War and died in 1932, unmarried. Spare a thought for Stiff-necked Caryl when you run your hand down the banister. I know I certainly will.

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