Battle of Naseby ghosts still haunt fields

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Guest writer CLAIRE DAVY explores the paranormal afterlife of those who fought at the Battle of Naseby in Northamptonshire, nearly 400 years ago during the first English Civil War…

The Battle of Naseby

To drive through the peaceful and quintessentially British village of Naseby in Northamptonshire on a summer’s evening is as tranquil an experience as can be imagined.

The sharply triangulated tower of All Saints Church looms over the pretty cottages and leafy lanes and fields of rapeseed are juxtaposed with neatly trimmed gardens and a chocolate box pub.

But Naseby has a very long shadow, a shadow of 376 years in fact. For some of the fields in this rural idyll played host in 1645 to the Battle of Naseby, a key campaign in the course of the English Civil War.

What was the Battle of Naseby?

Though the battle itself only lasted one day, that foggy morning of June 14th heralded the last day on Earth for nearly 1500 men from the Parliamentarians led by Oliver Cromwell and Thomas Fairfax and the overwhelmed (and soon to be heavily defeated) Royalists under King Charles 1 and Prince Rupert.

Maybe the seeds were sown for the defeat of the Royalists however, before a pike or quarterstaff was even drawn in anger.

Legend has it that the First Earl Stafford, Sir Thomas Wentworth, beheaded by the parliamentarians in 1641, appeared to King Charles the night before the battle, at the Wheatsheaf Hotel in nearby Daventry and urged him not to engage in battle there but instead to move the confrontation further North, (though the reasons for this advisement aren!t clear).

The King was not to be dissuaded however and the rest is quite literally history. The battle itself was to prove decisive and after crushing defeat, imprisonment and multiple daring escapes, the establishment of a Rump parliament and a stunning show trial, it culminated for the unfortunate Monarch at the business end of an executioners axe in the centre of Whitehall just four years later.

But Naseby was reluctant to let go of its past and played host to the spectres of the bloody skirmish for nearly one hundred years after the event in a spectacular show of residual warfare played out in the cold night skies above the battlefield.

Ghosts of Naseby Anniversary

So constant and abiding was this supernatural phenomena that the villagers attended the site regularly on the anniversary of the battle fully expecting (and often playing witness to) the sight of terrified horses, grievously wounded men and bloodied corpses accompanied by the screams and anguished moans of the dead and dying and the roar of cannon fire.

The dramatic but nebulous re-enactment faded after a century or so but it is said that the ghosts of Naseby still have unfinished business that the end of the battle failed to satiate and it was with that enticement in mind that the Northampton Paranormal Group headed to the site on the anniversary of the battle in 2008.

Wandering around the perimeter of the field and snapping some pictures, the group believed they had caught nothing of any paranormal significance when they returned home.

But upon checking through their pictures from the investigation they were shocked to see the very clear figure of what seemed to be a cavalry soldier striding purposefully across the battlefield.

The photo was soon picked up by the local and then the national and international press and though sceptics somewhat unsurprisingly were quick to attribute the capture to a photographic anomaly, it was generally given a cautious welcome by paranormal experts and historical researchers alike.

There is a certain amount of disagreement on the stance of the alleged apparition, with some including the paranormal investigators who took the picture, claiming it looks like a soldier sitting on a horse while others, including local “ghost detective !and author Adrian Perkins says he believes the image looks “more like a soldier with a musket or pike walking through a gateway!, whatever your opinion it is certainly a compelling image.

And so Naseby remains still and quiet under the Northampton skies until the time rolls round once again for the beleaguered king and his loyal cavalry to re-enact their eternal but ultimately doomed battle. The Northampton Paranormal Group picture taken on 14 June 2008 is shown below.

  

Battle of Naseby ghosts still haunt fields 1

CLAIRE DAVY lives in Northampton but comes from the remote west of Ireland. She’s been passionate about all things paranormal since she was a child and has a particular fascination for the Chase Vault case in Barbados and visited the haunted tomb for her 40th birthday. She’s a member of Ghost Club, the SPR and ASSAP and has hosted webinars and taken part in paranormal podcasts about all things spooky! You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this piece which comes as a welcome reminder of the rarer category of ghost ightings, what may be termed the ‘whole sale re-enactment’ or large scale variety of haunting which claimed in time-slips and military clashes and battles, and occasionally at ancient sites. Most ghost reports and hauntings suggest that apparitions are usually single indviduals, even of persons who were known to be extremely socialable in life who appear posthumously alone, but there are accounts of large numbers of figures appearing at once, as if percipients are tuning into the re-enactment of a single event or location involving many people at once. Admittedly accounts from earlier times must be treated with caution. Earlier eras had their equivalents of the National Enquirer and the Sunday Sport in the past as well as tracts and pamphlets written as propaganda or religous apologetics of things such as ‘marvels in the sky’. At the same time something must have encouraged or inspired such literature to begin with, leading us back to actual human experience and trauma (and the English Civil War was hugely traumatic). Nor should be dismiss the impressions of possible sensitives, simply because they were in the past or because the accounts are old. The world may learn more as it rolls along, but it does not mean it was stupid before. I have not visited Naseby but certain battlefield sites do seem to possess an atmosphere, notably in my own experience at Battle, Sussex and the field which was the site of the Battle of Hastings. In passing, I am also pleased to learn that Naseby has not been built over and survives, it was identified as the site of a number of adverse planning proposals in the past, now hopefully quashed and in abeyance.

    • Thanks Alan for your thoughts. You mention that Battle in Sussex had a certain atmosphere. Do you think you would have felt that if you’d not known it was the site of the Battle of Hastings? I always wonder if we are feeling a paranormal atmosphere or just being overwhelmed by the awe of some an awesome place – the same way we feel when we visit a very famous icon site, like the Eiffel Tower or Hollywood.

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