£35:00. This includes a Gourmet Burger Meal (Beef/Chicken/Veggie) + Soft Drink. (All served with chips)
Date: Saturday 15th April 2017
Event Duration: 5:30pm -2:00am
Parking: Local Parking Only
Important: Please arrive 10-15 minutes prior to start time.
The Street, Pluckley, Ashford TN27 0QS
Due to the nature of this location, it is not suitable for wheelchair access.
Often regarded as the most haunted village in England, this picturesque Kent village is certainly steeped in ghost stories, whether based on actual sightings or just modern folklore. Its reputation as a ghost village is not without its problems and the village can be a magnet to thrill seekers and those with a genuine interest in the paranormal, especially around Halloween.
Pluckley’s ghosts first appeared in print in 1955, where the Gypsy woman and Highwayman were mentioned. The phantom highwayman is certainly a common motif of sorts and the Gypsy woman may have been an old established story.
Guinness Book of Records: In the 1989 edition, Pluckley had an entry for being “Britain’s most haunted village”, with 12 different ghosts reported.
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– At ‘Fright Corner’ (once Frith Corner), an unknown highwayman was reputedly ambushed by either the law or other criminals and killed with a sword, pinning him to a hollow oak tree that once stood in this area. In some accounts, there was a fight between the highwayman and his attackers and in others, he was hiding in the hollow tree and was pierced when a sword was pushed into the hollow. Per legend, the ghosts appear a re-enactment of the killing is repeated. Ghostly Highwaymen and their stories can be tentatively dated to the time when Highwaymen were active in the 18th Century.
Coach – ‘Maltman’s Hill’ is haunted by the sounds of a horse-drawn coach. This ghost has been seen on at various places around the village. One October a lady was lady driving home from babysitting her granddaughter, just after midnight. At ‘Pinnocks Crossroads’ she could see a coach being pulled by horses with light coming from its windows. Her husband may also have been in the car and witnessed the coach too. On another occasion, one local resident using the back roads to get home had the coach pass straight in front of him. In early November 1997, around 7.00pm someone who was driving through Pluckley had the inside of their car filled with the sound of horses’ hooves on cobbles. The road wasn’t cobbled but in the past, it would have been.
Gypsy Woman or Watercress Woman – At the ‘Crossroads Bridge’, the apparition of a gypsy woman has been seen smoking a pipe. Apparently, she used to sell watercress which she found in the stream. She is said to have haunted the site since she was somehow accidentally burned to death. One theory about her combustion was that she was ignited some alcohol she was drinking with a spark from her pipe. Witnesses have described her as being a misty figure sat on the bridge. Note should be taken that this area around ‘Pinnock Bridge’ is apparently an area where natural mists form on a regular basis.
Red Lady – Lady Dering (circa the 1100’s) haunts the grounds of the church of ‘St Nicholas’. She was supposedly buried in seven lead coffins, within an oak one and placed in the church’s crypt. The name may come from the rose reputedly placed in the coffin with her. She is said to wander the churchyard in search of the unmarked grave of her stillborn child. The lady and the child have never been traced or identified and as far as we know, they may not even have been seen. The part of the story about concerning the coffin and rose is also attributed to another ghost, depending upon who’s accounting you are reading. This is the Ghost known as the White Lady.
White Lady – ‘St Nicholas’s Church’ apparently has another ghostly Dering lady that may haunt the inside of the church as well as the Dering family house library in their manor of ‘Surrenden, Dering’ which was destroyed in a fire around 1952. The manor house also served as a boy’s school before burning down. As mentioned above, the coffin with several linings of lead and the rose may belong to the White Lady and not the Red. The white lady was seen whilst ‘Surrenden, Dering’ was the US Embassy between the two world wars. A Mr Walter Winan supposedly held a lonesome vigil one Christmas Eve in the library with his hunting rifle. When the White Lady appeared before him, he reputedly shot her. The shot passed through the apparition. She vanished through a panelled wall which might have led to a tunnel which was supposed to link the house with the Church. The witness may have been Walter Winans (1852-1920), an American-born British marksman and sculptor who competed in the 1908 Olympics winning a gold medal for shooting and a silver in 1912. He did live in Kent and as he died in 1920, it would certainly help date and add validity to the sighting.
The Black Horse – Items, usually clothing go missing, only to reappear later when they have been considered truly lost. Whether this is really the work of a ghost or poltergeist, the jury is still out. The building itself is old and was once reputed to be a moat surrounded farmhouse and home of the local bailiff.
The Dering Arms – The ‘Dering Arms’ was once an old hunting lodge is said to be haunted by an old lady in a bonnet. This apparition is said to be so clear that she is mistaken as a customer whilst sitting at a table.
Blacksmiths Arms – This pub which began life as a blacksmith is supposedly haunted by a cavalier in one of the upstairs rooms.
Miller – As with many ghost sightings this apparition is said to be a black silhouette. It haunts a ruined windmill near a house called ‘The Pinnocks’. The mill had been closed by its last miller Richard ‘Dicky’ Buss in the 1930’s and was then destroyed by fire in 1939 when it was struck by lightning during a storm. Stories of the haunting spread whilst the mill were in disuse and could possibly be related to a rumour that Dicky’s son used to set bird traps in there with long white sheets attached. It is said that the ghost appears before the arrival of a thunderstorm.
Schoolmaster – On ‘Dicky Buss’s Lane’ (named after the Miller) is said to appear the hanging body a schoolmaster that is suspected of having committed suicide after World War I. The hanging body of the schoolmaster from ‘Smarden’ was found by Richard Buss a few weeks after he went missing. As far as we are aware, no one has ever seen this ghost and the tree from which he hung is no longer present.
Colonel – Another suicide by hanging. This ghost was that of a Colonel who hung himself in ‘Park Wood’ and his apparition could be seen walking amongst the trees. Now, however, many of the trees have been cleared and the area is grazing land. Given that nobody has been able to identify this figure, it is hard to believe that somebody has been able to attach a specific military rank to the ghost, and in the past, an apparition has automatically been attached to the suicide story. This is not that unusual as until recently a lot of superstition was attached to suicide with a long precedent through the Middle Ages.
Clay Pit – An accident occurred at the old ‘Brick Works’ and clay pit that supposedly created another of Pluckley’s ghosts. A man was killed when either a wall of clay collapsed onto him or he fell into a clay pit, depending on which version of the story you are listening to. You are supposed to be able to hear his screams to this day, although no record of such an accident has ever been found.
Monk – A house called ‘Greystones’ is said to have had a monk haunt its grounds. The house was built around 1863 and was called ‘Rectory Cottage’ (home of the curate for St Nicholas’s Church). Residents of ‘Greystones’ (renamed in 1924) as far back as 1954 to present day have denied encountering any paranormal activity there. Local legend suggests he is connected to the phantom lady supposedly haunting ‘Rose Court’, though how they are connected is unsure.
Tudor Lady – ‘Rose Court’ is another haunted Pluckley house which dates back over two hundred and fifty years. This ghost is again the result of another suicide, this time committed by eating poisonous berries. The lady, possibly a mistress of a member of the Dering family can be heard calling for her two dogs. She is said to haunt both house and gardens between 1600 and 1700 hours, which is when she is supposed to have died. This is also the time that the dogs in the nearby hunting kennels were fed and when the kennels moved, the ghost and dogs weren’t heard again.
Devils Bush – Which bush this tale refers to is unclear and where the story originates is also a mystery, but if you dance around the bush three times the Devil is said to appear. This is quite a common folklore motif but with the absence of location, there is no way of tracing the legend.