Derbyshire vampire-slaying kit from 1800s complete with wooden stakes, crucifixes and vials of holy water sells for £16,900

A vampire slaying kit which once belonged to a 19th century lord who kept guns, crucifixes, holy water and a wooden stake in case of an attack, has gone under the hammer.

By Adam Dutton
Monday, 4th July 2022, 8:16 am

The creepy wooden box of anti-vampire weapons was owned by Lord Hailey, a British peer and former administrator of British India was auctioned off last week and was eventually sold for £16,900

The tools and holy objects are stamped with his initials and it contains his full name and address.

The lockable box features two brass crucifixes on the lid which act as a sliding secret locking device.

The mysterious vampire-slaying kit contains objects reputed to ward off the blood-thirsty monsters

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Inside are more crucifixes, a matching pair of pistols, brass powder flask, holy water, Gothic Bible, wooden mallet, stake, brass candlesticks, rosary beads and Metropolitan police paperwork from the period.

It had been expected to make £2,000 and £3,000 when it is sold at Hansons Auctioneers on behalf of its current Derbyshire owner.

Auctioneer Charles Hanson said: “Items like this always capture the imagination of the world.

It will go under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers’ Derbyshire saleroom and it’s expected to spark global interest.

“Belief in vampires, an undead creature said to need human blood to survive, goes back hundreds of years and persists in some parts of the world today.

“The provenance reminds us that the vampire myth affects people from all walks of life.

“Whether through fear or fascination, the owner of this particular kit was a lord, a member of the highest aristocratic social order able to sit in the House of Lords.

“William Malcolm Hailey, 1st Baron Hailey (1872-1969) was recognised for his intellect.

“He was educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He was Governor of the Punjab from 1924 to 1928 and Governor of the United Provinces from 1928 to 1934.

“And yet, amid his illustrious career, he was drawn to this vampire-slaying kit.

“That’s perfectly understandable. These objects are both curious and intriguing.

“Vampires have been part of popular culture for more than 200 years. They are enshrined in European folklore.

“The task of killing a vampire was extremely serious and historical accounts suggested the need for particular methods and tools.

“Items of religious significance, such as crucifixes and Bibles, were said to repel these monsters, hence their presence in the kit we have found.”

Author John Polidori’s The Vampyre was published in 1819 which a major impact, followed up by Bram Stoker’s 1897 Dracula.

The seller, from Derbyshire, discovered the macabre kit only recently.

They said: “It’s a fascinating item, a conversation piece. I came across it in Southwell, Nottinghamshire, fairly recently.

“I liked it for its novelty and historical value.

“Interestingly, Lord Hailey has a memorial tablet in London’s Westminster Abbey which pays warm tribute to him.”