Shrieve’s House in the West Midlands is an ancient and spooky Grade II-listed property which comes with a host of hauntings, as RICK HALE discovers…
Years ago, I met a man from London who shared in my interest of the paranormal.While having a conversation, he remarked, even if an old house isn’t haunted by ghosts, it’s still haunted by the events that transpired behind it’s walls.
His curious statement stuck with me, and I realized that many places are haunted by both and Shrieve’s House in Stratford-upon-Avon is one such place. An old house where history and hauntings collide.
A Brief History Of Shrieve’s House
From 1536-1542, William Shrieve, the namesake of the Tudor house at 400 Sheep Street, lived as its longest resident.
Historically, not much is known about the enigmatic William Shrieve, except he served as an archer during the reign of Henry VIII.
The house is considered to be one of the oldest in Stratford and has witnessed its fair share of tumultuous events.
The house survived a mysterious fire, the plague and the civil war. However, it’s not without it’s good historical events. Britain’s greatest author, William Shakespeare was a frequent visitor to the house.
The Haunted Barn
To the rear of the house sits a converted barn, which now serves as a museum.
Visitors to the house can view a collection of articles and artifacts that details the long and storied history of Stratford’s oldest house.
It’s here, in the museum, where visitors and staff have reported coming face to face with the unexplained.
Since opening its doors to the public, visitors have reported the frightening sensation of being smothered.
They remark, it’s almost as if a large hand is reaching into their chest and strangling their lungs.
Feelings of being physically assaulted by an unseen hand isn’t the only supernatural phenomena in the barn turned museum.
The tall figure of a man in a tunic and stockings is seen standing at the top of the stairs.
The apparition is seen wielding a sharp axe and he glares down at people with a look of contempt.
Visiting mediums claim this ominous phantom is the man of the house himself, William Shrieve. And according to them, he does not appreciate visitors in what he still believes to be his home.
Although the barn with its angry apparition may be creepy enough for some, people soon learn the house is inhabited by its own spirits.
The phantom of an elderly woman is seen struggling to walk up the stairs while clutching a candle in her claw-like hand.
The old woman isn’t the only ghost to haunt the house. The apparition believed to be a civil war soldier is said to lurk in the rooms of the house.
It’s long been believed the soldier was a deserter who ran off rather than die in war.
As he was hiding in the house, paranoia that he would be captured and executed took hold and he hung himself from the beams.
He is said to manifest as a powerfully negative presence followed by a frosty blast of air that chills people to the bone.
Paranormal Investigators and Their Evidence
In 2004, a group of ghost hunters spent a night in the notoriously haunted house, in the hopes of gathering evidence of the extreme haunting phenomena said to occur at Shrieve’s House.
They were anything but disappointed. In a single night, the investigators observed several apparitions throughout the house.
They further reported the overpowering stench of rotting flesh. The fetid odour was there one moment and gone the next.
While all this may be impressive catches, their most dramatic ghostly event was yet to come.
No haunted house would be completely without at least one tragic loss of life. And Shrieve’s House is no exception.
According to old stories, a small child was viciously abused by their parents and died from the injuries they sustained.
The investigators utilized one of the oldest tricks in the ghost hunter’s repertoire.
They spread flour over an area of an upstairs bedroom floor where the child was allegedly buried centuries earlier.
When they returned after a break, they were stunned to find the letter, T scrawled in the flour. They are convinced the letter is the first initial of the child’s name.
When asked by a local reporter of the ghostly goings-on in the house, the owner said that something strange was indeed going on in Shrieve’s house.
If even only half of the stories are true about Stratford’s oldest house, I would be inclined to believe.