Nov. 2, 2021

Haunted History

Haunted History

‘There’s a figure against the moon, Nobody sees it but I and it makes my breast beat out of tune…’ Thomas Hardy

We are surrounded by Haunted History. Exploring the stories and history of our local area is important to preserve moments from the past. I have enjoyed covering some of the history and hauntings from my local area in several podcasts. 

Some of these episodes are below:

Looking back over the past year since I started Haunted History Chronicles it reminded me of what first peaked my interest in the paranormal for it is these experiences as a young teenager that really developed my interest in uncovering these haunting stories and where some of my adventures would start. In the very first introductory podcast when launching this podcast I mentioned the pub that I grew up in and some of the experiences that I had there. A picture of it is below.

My bedroom was the second at the top described in the episode. From that room I would often see apparitions of a lady at the foot, or side of my bed. My older sister would occupy the room next to mine on the right of the image. From her room she would be woken on many occasions hearing crying. The pub had many local ghost stories attached to it as did the local area surrounding it. The pub I spent a lot of my childhood in had once been owned by a family who ran the pub for many decades from the late 1880’s through to the post WWI years- for many of these ran by the woman of the household, Priscilla Briant, after the death of her husband. Some of her daughters became teachers- a connection I share. One of her sons, Hugh Briant, would be killed in battle in France on the 16th April 1917. His name is one of very few on the local war memorial.


I have mentioned I used to enjoy dowsing in my local area. One of my favourite places to do this was Avebury- home of the famous Avebury Stone Circles and a location I have also explored in recent podcasts. Situated in the heart of Avebury village is the Red Lion pub- a building that dates back to the 1600s. Like my own childhood home this too has haunting stories attached to it- stories of phantom coaches and the clattering of hooves across the courtyard a particular favourite. Local lore paints this coach as a harbinger of death and means that a close relative is about to die. Venture inside the pub and you are able to explore the story of Florrie whose ghost is believed to haunt the property. During the 17th century English Civil War, Florrie’s husband returned unexpectedly from battle and discovered his wife in the arms of a lover. Florrie would have her throat cut and her lover was shot. Florrie was dragged to the well (which is still on the site in one of the front rooms of the pub) and thrown in. Florrie’s spirit has often been seen in this area along with the figure of a bearded man.Spectral children have been seen in corners of a room and the figure of a woman writing at a table. 


One of the most chilling places I used to explore whilst living in this area was Combe Gibbet. The Gibbet itself was built in 1676 on top of a long barrow known as the Inkpen Longbarrow. Having been constructed solely for the purpose of gibbeting the bodies of George Broomham and Dorothy Newman it was placed in such a prominent position- one of the highest vantage points in South East England- their bodies would have been seen from great distances and acted as a deterrent to others from committing crimes. This double gibbet was a rare construction and one thankfully hardly used afterwards.

George and Dorothy had been caught murdering George’s wife Martha and son Robert by a local villager known as ‘Mad Thomas’ who promptly told authorities what he had witnessed. George and Dorothy reportedly had been hiding out in the spot of the gibbet, waiting for Martha and Robert to walk along the path. Once they came into view George and Dorothy sprang from their hiding place and proceeded to beat them to death with a pole before disposing of their bodies in a nearby pond. George and Dorothy were hung for their crime in Winchester in 1676 and their bodies brought back to Inkpen and laid out in a barn at the Crown and Garter Inn, where they were fitted in chains, according to the records from the Hungerford Virtual Museum. They were then displayed on the gibbet. Their unquiet spirits are still seen around the hilltop which has the most unsettling deathly- quiet atmosphere.



Another local favourite was Farleigh Hungerford Castle built in the 14th century, and once owned by KIng Richard III, Farleigh was occupied for 300 years by the Hungerford family.  The castle is home to many hidden treasures of the family’s past and deep within the crypt you can find some of the best examples in Britain of anthropomorphic lead coffins. Edward Hungerford was reportedly strangled in the castle by his wife Anges who then went on to have his body burnt in the kitchen’s furnace. Agnes was found guilty and hanged in London’s Tyburn. The ghost of Lady Agnes is still seen occasionally in the vicinity of the chapel around twilight. 


It is surprising what can lurk in the shadows of our local community and what stories, connections and experiences we can uncover. I share these youthful adventures as a means of showing this can become a lifelong love and hope that it inspires you to seek out what is unknown within the buildings and streets around you. Maybe like me, you have similar experiences and locations that set you on the same path. Wherever you are on your journey they are always something I enjoy reading and hearing about so don’t forget you can always send a message via the website or different social media platforms.