Shrieve’s House, where history and hauntings collide

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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…

Shrieve's House in Stratford-upon-Avon
Shrieve’s House in Stratford-upon-Avon

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.

The House

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.

Dave faces Personal Ghosts in haunted Shrieve’s House

(Article originally published on Spooky Isles on 20 March 2012.)

SHRIEVE’S House in Stratford-Upon-Avon is considered one of England’s most haunted properties. To discover its secrets, a  filmmaker has spent the night in the Tudor building to see what goes boo!

Personal Ghosts, a new 52-minute documentary, is the result of Dave Mitchell’s paranormal investigations.

The documentary tells the history of the 15th Century Stratford-Upon-Avon house, including interviews with people who’ve experienced sightings, as well as footage of Dave’s own solo overnight stay.

Dave Mitchell Personal Ghosts, haunted Shrieve's House in Stratford-Upon-Avon
Dave Mitchell in Personal Ghosts, investigates haunted Shrieve’s House in Stratford-Upon-Avon

Dave told Spooky Isles he was fascinated by the idea of filming in a haunted house.

“I’d reached a point where my own beliefs had faded, due to personal circumstances, and I thought that if I could experience something in Shrieve’s House, then maybe my own beliefs would be restored.”

Shooting on the iPhone 4S, Dave was given full access and an overnight stay in the property.

“Owners John and Janet were great. The worry was that I would try and debunk the house and its reputation. That was never my intention – I wanted it to be true. The place has a history. John Davies, a 17th-century serial killer; a little urchin girl called Lucy; a Dutch soldier who hung himself; they’ve all been seen time and time again.”

Personal Ghosts was Dave’s first venture into a supernatural documentary.

He said: “I’ve had feature films made, but this was new territory. I interviewed Michael Chapman and his daughter Melissa, who famously spent the night there on Halloween 2004. Thirty people were going to stay the night. Within a few hours, all but the Chapmans had left because of what they were experiencing. They were terrified. The Chapmans stayed and this was the first time in seven years they had returned to Shrieve’s House to talk about that night.”

For Dave, the most curious part of his night alone in the house was making contact with the little girl Lucy.

“I had a crystal on a chain and asked Lucy to move it. It started spinning in the air. No trick, just her moving it. I have no explanation except that it was Lucy’s ghost moving the crystal and it’s all on camera.”

Dave said he hoped the documentary would encourage others to find out more about Shrieve’s House in Stratford Upon Avon.

“I hope Personal Ghosts makes people visit the house, themselves. It would be great to make more films on this subject.

“I was respectful; perhaps that’s why the spirits were kind to me?

“Maybe the next place I film, the ghosts might not be so friendly?”

Watch Personal Ghosts at Shrieve’s House

Have you seen a ghost at Shrieve’s House in Stratford Upon Avon? Tell us about it in the comments section!


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