Ghosts from Berkshire Places
Beginning with 'L'
Lambourn Place no longer stands, but
the grounds were once haunted by the last of an ancient family who lived
there named Hippisley. Henry Hippisley died in the late 19th century,
having spent an infamous life oppressing the locals and defrauding
charities. Some thought he had even killed one of his servants. Perhaps
his spirit was repentant. It certainly had trouble finding peace.
One morning in late July 1914, an
old farmer in Letcombe reported to his family that he had not seen ‘the
old man’ that morning. In surprise, they asked him what old man. So he
explained. Each morning for nearly a week, as he had crossed the Letcombe
Brook in the misty down to bring in the cows, he had met an old man who
seemed to be wearing shining armour. Each morning, they saluted each other
and went their separate ways. Then one morning, no man appeared, but as
the farmer crossed the brook, he heard the thundering of many horses. To
his surprise, the shallow waters of the stream churned up and stones were
splashed as a huge invisible army crossed over. His children investigated
the story and were told by the previous tenant that the same incident
occurred immediately prior to the Boer War. The legend of the old man’s
ghost had been well-known for he had also been seen before the Crimean
War. Sadly no-one seems to have looked out for him in 1939.
The ‘combe’ of the River Lyd,
that runs along the road between Letcombe Regis and Bassett, is haunted by
a disappointed lover who drowned herself in the bubbling brook.
The present farmer of Feens Farm
claim the ghostly ‘Dog of Feens’ is black, but the foresters on Ashley
Hill claim it is white and traditionally it is known as the ‘White Dog
of Feens’. It appears between the woods by Chalkpit Farm and the
entrance to the Feens Farm, on the Bath Road, and seems to have been a
Roman hunting dog with ears and tail cut short. It howls to warn people of
the approach of the ghost of Dorcas Noble.
A guards officer, George Holford,
had a startling vision while walking to Lockinge House where he was to
dine with his uncle, Sir Robert Lloyd-Lindsay, came to the junction of the
Oxford-Newbury road and Wantage-Wallingford road. On the crossing, he saw
two men engaged in a fierce struggle, one stretched out on the ground and
the other leaning over him in the act of stabbing. Captain Holford dashed
forward and found himself entirely alone.
The village once had a most
troublesome ghost which took eleven priests to lay it, eventually ordering
it into the old monks’ fishpond, a stake marking the spot where it was
pegged down. Some think this was the same spirit seen at the manor house.
Read the full story.
A ghostly coach and four are heard
galloping along by the old manor house. It foretold great misfortune and
up to all the beginning of the 20th century travellers whistled or sang to
drown out the sound of the coach when passing the manor.
A rather unusual ghost visited a 15th century house in the village, one night in 1981. An oval frame manifested itself in mid-air in the owner’s bedroom in which could clearly be seen the head and shoulders of an elderly Victorian lady. She wore “a very dark grey dress, with many pin-tucks leading from the neckline, which had a small stand-up collar with white frilling inside it…She had very straight dark hair, parted in the middle and scraped back, small alert grey eyes and a tight-pursed mouth. Her complexion was completely pale, with no colour in the cheeks”. The lady looked straight at the witness and seemed quite aware of her, but the latter felt no fear. Upon glancing away, the apparition vanished.
A thatched house in the village,
situated opposite the farm buildings between the church and the main road
and now turned into three cottages, was once occupied, about the beginning
of the 19th century by a Mrs. Wernham, a sister of the first Squire
Hayward of the Manor. Around 1810-15, mysterious rappings were heard
frequently which gave rise to the idea that it was haunted. A religious
service was held to exorcise the supposed ghostly visitor. Afterwards a
niece who lived with the old lady confessed that she had made the noise
with her elbow whilst sitting on the settle in the chimney corner.
village is haunted by the ghost of the ungodly Sir Harry Marten, known
best for his shaky signature on the death warrant of King Charles I. He
was a terrible chap, always drinking, gambling and fornicating. Despite
this he was MP for Berkshire. He is said to have spent £1,000 a year. He
still pays periodic visits to the manor.
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