PATSY SORENTI lists the most haunted places to visit in Old Isleworth in West London
Isleworth was once a Saxon settlement named Gyislheresuuyrth (meaning in Old English Enclosure belonging to [a man called] Gīslhere.)
It is first mentioned in an Anglo Saxon Charter of 695. Although the old village was and is, situated around the banks of the River Thames, it has over time, spread to the borders of Brentford, Osterley and Hounslow.
Its ghosts are many and varied and the area contains many old legends and new ghosts.
Although this is recognised as being in Brentford, Brambles Close can be included, since it is on the borders of Isleworth.
The Hollywood actor Bernard Lee – who played M in the early James Bond films – had a home here.
One of the maisonettes was the scene of a bad haunting in 1993.
The then owner Diane was constantly plagued by the ghosts of an old man and woman, who would stop at nothing to make their presences felt.
So terrifying were these occurrences that Diane asked for a medium to step in.
Twice the Hounslow Spiritualist Circle visited the place but the hauntings continued.
Diane sold the flat shortly afterwards.
Almond Grove is situated on the Syon Estate and like Brambles Close is in Brentford but can be counted in Isleworth.
Number 40 was the scene of a haunting that occurred during the 1960’s and early 1970s.
The ghost was of a man, dressed in red. He would emerge from one of the upstairs bedrooms, peer into the face of a sleeping child and disappear through the opposite wall.
This may have also been responsible for the oppressive atmosphere in the house and why the children would receive ‘gifts’ of objects (pennies, pencil sharpeners and stones) which fell out of the air.
The child most affected was so terrified that he slept with a plastic dagger from a war set under his pillow each night.
The Angel, London Road
In 1966, this pub was the scene of a murder when a man who was dating a married woman, stabbed her husband to death in the saloon bar.
For years afterwards, pub staff, cleaners and customers alike would experience sudden and intense cold and the sound of a door slamming in the saloon bar but nothing was ever seen.
It is difficult to carry out research here as the pub has been demolished and a block of private flats now stand on the site.
The London residence of the Duke of Northumberland, the ghosts here are many and varied and continue to be seen up to the present day.
The walled entrance to the park from the Brentford end was the location of a strange haunting.
In 1945 a courting couple standing by the wall were mysteriously touched by unseen hands close to a bricked up doorway.
This happened twice, to both the man and the woman. The reason for this has never been satisfactorily explained.
The ghost of a woman, dressed in 1940s fashions has been seen close to the garden centre.
It is thought to be Sylvia, a woman murdered in the blackouts by an American serviceman.
The murderer was never brought to justice and this case remains unsolved.
Another garden centric ghost is that of Roman Catholic Priest Richard Reynolds who was martyred at Tyburn during the Reformation.
Along with his friend he was hung, drawn and quartered, his head being placed on a spike and stuck on Syon’s Lion Gate.
His ghost has been seen around the garden centre and in the lodgings he used before his execution.
The ghost of Lady Jane Grey, the nine days queen who was executed at The Tower of London in 1554 has often been seen wandering outside Syon House.
She was last spotted by a group of ghost enthusiasts on a walk in February 2019.
Her portrait hangs in the house, which was once Syon Abbey.
It was used as a charnel house for King Henry VIII’s funeral on route to Windsor.
It was at the former abbey that prophesy proved true.
When alive, the King upset a commoner, who put a curse on him that a ‘dog would eat him.’
As his coffin lie in state here, the contents leaked over the floor. A dog was said to have ‘licked it up.’
In the winter of 1973 a man cycling home from work one evening was followed from the Isleworth gate by a mysterious white light.
This had no definite shape, but according to the report, it ‘floated’ above the ground.
The wraith disappeared just before the cyclist reached the house.
The area where the ghost was seen is the spot where seven trees, marking the graves of seven nuns of Syon Abbey were situated.
The trees were felled in the Great Storm of October 1987 and are no longer there.
All Saints Churchyard
In 1972, a woman walking past the churchyard late one evening saw the spirit of a young boy near the church porch.
According to the report, the ghost was transparent and had ‘no feet.’
The ghost stared at her for a moment until the witness fled.
This is not unusual, for many churchyards, earth was piled on top to accommodate more burials and the reason for the ghost having no feet – it was probably standing on an earlier level than that of the present day.
The London Apprentice
This famous pub has been sited here since Tudor times.
There are two ghosts here: Reverend Glossop, vicar of All Saints who died in 1867 and whose grave was decorated with flowers for many years and the actor William Hartnell who lived opposite the pub and was often seen there.
Isleworth Burial Ground
No longer is a working cemetery, this place home to at least two ghosts, a strange black dog and an odd legend. The first ghost was seen in the 1970s.
Two women tending a nearby grave were bid ‘good afternoon’ by a young man sitting on a bench beside a water tap.
As the women looked up, the man disappeared.
The second ghost is that of Mr Bumstead, a former gravedigger.
He has been seen around the entrance to the cemetery and has a fierce scowling face.
The black dog was seen in December 2018 when it jumped the seven foot iron fence and disappeared as it ran off.
No trace of the dog was ever discovered.
A strange legend concerning premature burial was current here in 1973, when a young woman’s grave was exhumed.
This was done to clarify the cause of death, since it was necessary to inform the Coroner. When the coffin was opened, scratches and tears were seen inside the coffin lid and the girl’s fingers were torn.
She had also twisted around in the confines of the coffin before finally expiring.
The Red Lion, Linkfield Road
The ghost here is of a former landlady who was accidentally locked in the pub cellar. Her screams can still be heard.
Former Workhouse Buildings, Linkfield Road
Now modern flats for older people, the old alley beside the buildings have been haunted for many years by a man dressed in old fashioned clothes.
Beechen Cliff, Isleworth
This was a double fronted house on the corner of College Road and London Road.
It was abandoned and derelict for many years before being demolished. During this time, the figure of an old woman was often seen with a washing basket, standing in the overgrown garden.
It is believed she was a former servant of this house.
(N.B. Brambles Close and Almond Grove: Further research undertaken in later years, revealed evidence that several farmers were displaced in bygone days. It is my belief that the ghost of Almond Grove, and the two ghosts in Brambles Close, could be those of the disgruntled workers, as reports of more hauntings of a similar nature in houses on this council estate have since come to light.)