CALLUM CAMPBELL reveals five of Warwickshire’s most horrifying ghosts and hauntings
Warwickshire is the birthplace of William Shakespeare, one of possible locations for the first bicycle and the haunt of plenty of ghosts. Wraiths riddle the lands of this smaller English county and here are five of the most intriguing locations that have been scarred by the claws of death.
Brinklow Road, Binley, Coventry CV3 2AB
Constructed in the 12th century, Coombe Abbey was originally the abbey for a group of Cistercian monks. It passed into the Harington family after the dissolution of monasteries, who sold it to numerous owners until the Craven family took possession in 1622 and held onto it until 1921.
Currently, it remains in the hands of Coventry City Council where it is classed as a Grade 1 history building. This abode contains several spirits, the most active of which is Abbot Geoffrey who was brutally slashed and slaughtered by an unknown assailant in the 12th century.
In his rage at his unjust demise, Abbot Geoffrey is an energetic spirit which creates poltergeist-like activity and roams the halls as a hooded figure. Another notable spirit is the distraught figure of stable hand Matilda who was reported abused by the Craven family.
When she fell pregnant, without her own choice took into regard, she was held onto a table and sawed open, the baby callously disposed of like a crisp packet, and because abortion techniques in the 19th century were not exactly cutting edge, she died on the table. But before she entered death’s cold embrace, she cursed the Craven family.
Now her footsteps echo through the halls and her frail figure can be seen at the stables. Other obscure phantoms found at Coombe in Warwickshire are a Victorian woman that hangs around at the cobbled road and a stately gentleman.
Edge Hill, Warwickshire
On the 23 October 1642 during the English Civil War, the Royalist Army, headed by Charles the First, and the Parliamentarian Army, led by the Earl of Essex, crashed into each other like speeding trains on the scarp of Edge Hill, Warwickshire.
Blades were thrust through flesh and blood spurted around like rain, cadavers crushed between hooves and boots; a sea of rotting flesh and spewing innards, dead men with dead dreams.
Now, like a tape being played back, the thunder of hooves galloping can be heard as well as cries of pain and fury accompanied by the shades of slaughter soldiers.
Bear in mind these occurrences are not a few ghostly apparitions and screams, they are full fledged spectral battles that flare up the sky. After the battle these incidents were occuring near daily, with such horror that the occurrences made their way to King Charles who sent a troop of soldiers to verify these claims.
The soldiers were bemused by the events and were even able to name specific warriors. The villagers were then ordered to give each and every body a Christian burial which quenched the phantom battles however there are still remains of the event which usually flare upon on the anniversary of the battle.
Warwick CV34 4QU
Warwick Castle is the one of the largest tourist destinations in Warwickshire and one of the most populous castles for ghosts and ghouls in England.
The land Warwick Castle was built on has had buildings before the first millennium B.C. The castle itself was constructed in 1068 by William the Conqueror to act as a base of power in the Midlands and implemented some of the settlement into its construction.
Due to its intended construction being that of a military base, the castle has seen centuries of warfare and siege, with many bloody deaths occurring within its walls.
One of the most infamous events that has been scratched into the paranormal record disc of the castle was the shanking of Sir Fulke Greville. Fulke was gifted the castle by King James I in 1604 and restored the shattered ruin of a castle into a glamorous palace filled with rich food, extravagant furniture and lavish wines.
He lived life like a dream in the heaven he had created. However, once he took note that his days were beginning to dwindle he crafted a will with a bequest of an amount of money dedicated to his servant.
The servant was unimpressed with the sum. He considered it paltry and insubstantial to what he felt he was owed in return for his labour. In rage and fury, he stabbed Fulke with a flurry of blows from a blade at his house in London.
Greville was floored and his ungrateful assailant fled not knowing that Fulke was still taking shallow breaths on the floor. The surgeon was able to prolong Greville’s life, however, put him in great pain by packing the wounds with mutton fat and he died at his study in Warwick Castle after being confined to the room for a month and bearing insurmountable pain.
Now his tortured shade stumbles about the fortress, often viewed as a shadowy from emerging from his own portrait.
Another fearsome inhabitant of this citadel is a massive, spectral black hound with blazing crimson eyes. Apparently, a woman named Moll Bloxham was disciplined in full view of the public for her crime of theft. In retaliation, she summoned a mutt-like fiend that raised hell in the castle grounds before being subdued. After its death it returned in incorporeal form.
An bestial apparition is considered rare, however, along with the ghost hound there have been sighting of phantom like Chinese geese, Japanese deer, an ant bear, a baby elephant and a particularly aggressive emu who reportedly gave chase to a bishop. These apparitions are the remnants of Anne, Countess of Warwick’s exotic pets.
This lady is similar to us, in that she had an avid interest in the supernatural. Recently records of a seance performed by her shows that, even in the 1800s, ghosts were stirring in the keep for she wrote that she witnessed an apparition of a child bearing flowers and connected to a spirit called Edward Jameson, an old servant, who wrote some notes through Anne’s hand.
He seemed to be trying to tell her of a hidden item in the castle however it seems she was not able to locate it.
General phenomena found in the castle include moving shadows, growling, orbs of lights and physical attacks such as being grabbed or pushed. These occurrences occur through the fort, however, become most prominent in the dungeons.
With many ghosts, plenty of phenomena and even violent assaults I would be confident in stating that Warwick Castle is one of the most haunted places in the UK and perfect for any thrill seekers.
Ettington Park Hotel
Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 8BS
If you thought that Warwick Castle had deep roots with a building on its site before the first millennium, you will be gobsmacked when you look at the history of Ettington Park Hotel, which has had a foundation since a Roman villa was built there almost 2000 years ago.
In 1938, it began its current purpose of a hotel and has received good business despite the horrors that lurk inside. Ettington Park Hotel has a great many ghouls, most are suspected to originate from the Shirley Family who possessed the hotel from the days of the Doomsday Book to the 1960s.
These numerous spectres include a semi-transparent Edward Shirley, a former owner, who strides through the lobby each and every Christmas Eve with his canine companion, in The Long Gallery (likely the most paranormally active section of the lodge) a military officer and an eldery woman flit about the room, a serving lass named Mary who met her maker after a sudden drop lingers in the Oak Room and a monk (naturally) is bound to the church.
This large selection of ghosts indicates a wide variation of haunting phenomena and Ettington Park is no exception to the rule.
Objects such as bibles and candlesticks skelter through the air and levitate, footsteps are heard without a source, eerie children’s voices are heard singing, guests are greeted by a man who disappears the next second and one resident woke up and felt something sitting on his leg, his ipad refused to turn on despite being on full charge and he heard banging and muttering in the room with him.
Due to the hotel’s notorious reputation it has been the set for several horror films such as The Haunting and The Watcher in the Woods and if you are to visit I believe you will get a scare out of the experience, I’m sure of it!
40 Sheep Street, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire CV37 6EE
This Tudor constructed house situated in Stratford upon Avon, Warwickshire, is considered to be one of the oldest in Stratford and is Graded 2.
The building is steeped in rich history having survived a raging fire from an unknown force, an outbreak of plague and the English Civil War and frequently receiving visitations from the famous William Shakespeare.
Inside the house lurks three spirits, a wraith of a wizened woman who cradles a lit candle while she struggles up the rickety stairs and a beaten down Civil War soldier who deserted his comrades and hung himself out of a fear that he would be brutally tortured and executed if found.
Perhaps the most tragic of these three spirits is that of a young child who was beaten, cruelly whipped and flayed by their parents. After years of abuse the child’s fragile body could not withstand more and after a savage beating they died but due to their violent end they are in a state between this world and the next.
The most haunted portion of this Warwickshire property is a barn located in the grounds which acts as a museum showcases varied parts of the house’s roots.
Spectators of the intriguing objects often find they are under an unpleasant sensation of being strangled by an invisible source.
The cause of these assaults is likely the spectre of the original owner of the home William Shrieve, whose apparition is often seen at the top of the stairs in the barn, wielding a wickedly sharp axe and an even sharper expression for he does not desire folk in what he still believes to be his home.
Have you been to any of these places or another haunted place in Warwickshire? Tell us about it in the comments section below!