TRACY MONGER says Cambridge’s Abbey House has had paranormal activity reported from Victorian times
Abbey House is located on Abbey Road in Cambridge. Abbey House was built around the 16th Century,on the grounds of Barnwell Priory (re-founded in 1112). The priory was Augustinian and is among the earliest foundations of this order in England. The priory was dissolved on 11th November 1538. In the garden of Abbey house are some remains of the Abbey and the inner and outer walls were built from stone, from the priory.
Abbey House has a history of reported paranormal activity dated from 1860. Activity includes poltergeist, an apparition of a butler, the sound of chains, the movement of furniture, groans and raps are heard. A squirrel and a hare are seen in the garden, but when either are approached, they both disappear. Occupants have fled the house at 2am in the morning and no explanation was given.
Other reported activity consists of footsteps on the staircase and loud banging on bedroom doors. Sheets on the beds being pulled and rustling heard. A white woman has been seen; she walks into bedrooms, stands at the end of the beds and disappears into the curtains. Other accounts suggest this figure is of a nun, wearing a long dark robe, solid looking and looks about 30 years old.
Professor Lawson and his family moved into the house in 1903, banging noises were heard, footsteps heard, and all family members saw the nun in the bedrooms at different times. Wolfie a furry creature was seen by the children, described as a large rabbit with short ears. The family moved out in 1911. Wolfie was seen again in 1920 by 2 children and in 1947.
Mr Ascham owned the House in the 1920’s. On three separate occasions, Mrs Ascham saw a disembodied head at the foot of her bed. Soon after, Professor F J M Stratton heard of the hauntings and spent a month in the house. He heard singing from an empty room and muttering. The Professor was the president of the Society of Psychical Research.
During 1968, the daughter ‘s (of the household) dog would run and bark, in a corner of a panelled room. The daughter also heard strange noises every night.
A grey lady was seen in 1969 and she is assumed to be the ghost of a nun. She is seen walking on the garden path and by the iron gates, at the back of the house. The nun is thought to have been at St Radegund. The tale suggests, she had a lover at the prioryand met him in secret tunnels. When it became public knowledge, she was walled up in the tunnels but there is no evidence of this.
During 1980, a man was seen in a doorway of one of the bedrooms, dressed in a grey jacket, dark tie and a light coloured shirt. A procession of nuns were also seen.
An exorcism was performed in the latter part of the 20th century and the activity seemed to have stopped at the time.
In 2002, the Cambridge Buddhist Centre bought the house.
TRACY MONGER, Spooky Isles East of England correspondent, is a paranormal investigator with Mysteries of Paranormal Research Association (MOPRA), based in Norwich, Norfolk. You can follow her on Facebook here. Read her articles for Spooky Isles here.