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Cufflink

English Civil War Ghost Stories

51 posts in this topic

Well, I suggested it, so I might as well start the ball rolling. Our first English civil war ghost story is in my own area, and is the haunted pub, The Ring o' Bells.

The Ring o' Bells is said to be one of the oldest buildings in Middleton, Greater Manchester, and may be one of it's most haunted. The pub's foundations are thought to date all the way back to Saxon times, and legend has it that a Druidical temple stood at this spot in the Iron Age - perhaps a place of ancient sacrifice. In the Middle Ages it served as a refectory for monks brewing their potent ale, probably in the area where the pubs cellars are currently situated.

The Ghost

The pub is said to be haunted by an unhappy Cavalier, from the English Civil War, who has been nicknamed Edward. The ghost, dressed in his royalist finery, had been seen on a few occasions, within the pub and outside by various landlords and a local lady. As well as sightings, 'Edward' has manifested in other less visual ways, including footsteps sounding on the stairs, and other strange noises. He has also been known to lay a heavy hand on customers, much to their surprise when they turn to find nobody in the vicinity.

One of the more frightening incidents was recorded in the Oldham Evening Chronicle, August 18th 1972. The Landlord at that time, Mr George Barnett, was checking barrels in the cellar around midnight when a stone was thrown at his shoulder. He looked around but no-one was in the room. This wasn't the first time Mr Barnett had been shaken by a strange event within the pub. He had felt a strange presence, and had even seen a glass slide along the bar, but the stone throwing seemed a more aggressive action. He speculated that someone had perhaps upset the spirit.

The History

The traditional story about the Sad Cavalier suggests he was the son of the Lord (Stannycliffe) of Stannycliffe Hall in the 1600's. The Lord and his family were unwavering Royalists during the turbulent times of the Civil War. Unfortunately for them Middleton became more staunchly Parliamentarian (Roundhead), with the Old Boars Head becoming the Roundhead's headquarters in the area.

The story goes that a pocket of Royalist resistance - including the Lords son - survived in the area, and used the cellars of the Ring o' Bells as a clandestine meeting place. The cellars were linked to Middleton Parish Church by a secret tunnel, by which they could escape if their furtive council was compromised (this passage is said to have been verified by openings which were bricked up within the cellar).

One day somebody betrayed the son of Lord Stanycliffe to the Roundheads whilst he was still in the pub. He managed to flee to the cellars and down the dark tunnel, only to be cut to pieces by Roundheads who were waiting at the church by the passage exit. His body is supposed to have been buried under the flagstones of the cellar, where he is said to remain to this day. Some time in the past helmets and pikes have been discovered under the cellar floor, which date to the 1600's, but no human remains have been found.

The Focus

At one time the snug (a small room in many old British pubs), which is situated directly over the cellar, was said to have been the room in which the Cavaliers plotted against the might of Oliver Cromwell's Parliamentarian New Model Army.

This room has served as a focus for the haunting, and a seat within the snug was for a long time known as the Cavaliers seat, which was always said to be much colder than the rest of the room. Some enthusiasts, who were allowed to spend a night there, recorded colder readings in this area than in any part of the room.

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*gives Cuff ripple of applause*

Nice story oh wimpy-one!

Hammy x x x

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*gives Cuff ripple of applause*

Nice story oh wimpy-one!

Bless you, creamcake.

One tries. grin2.gif

Not that I'd investigate it personally. Fat scaredy chance. blink.gif

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Oh yes, a nice story. That's a fascinating part of British history and there do seem a lot of ghostly remnants from then. Nice pic too.

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Thanks, Agent. thumbsup.gif I thought it appropriate to start with two of the things often connected with British ghost stories. Cavaliers and pubs! tongue.gif

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Will there be more from this tumultuous period? Have you noticed, BTW, how poor many photos are in ghost books?

A:21

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Will there be more from this tumultuous period? Have you noticed, BTW, how poor many photos are in ghost books?

A:21

I hope to stick more stories on this thread (and others please do so, by all means), until it gets a bit long and unwieldy.

And yep, I'd noticed that with a lot of those books. The better the text, the more useless the pictures. I usually look for some online

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Cuffs ~ I've had a report from a couple who moved into an old Lodge. During their first week there, as they sat snuggled-up on the sofa, a Cavalier walked through the wall and strode right through the telly.......!!!!!!!!

A few months later, as they were 'entertaining' friends, an old lady came barging trhrough the wall and sat donw in a chair. They all stared at her...........she stared back..........and then vanished.

blink.gif

Hammy x x x

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Blimey!

Lucky them...not! scared.gif

Full details, please, Hams, if you've got them.

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During their first week there, as they sat snuggled-up on the sofa, a Cavalier walked through the wall and strode right through the telly.......!!!!!!!!

Talk about a cavalier attitude! laugh.gif

I have a Civil War - pub story from Sussex. I'll add it shortly. grin2.gif

A:21

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Talk about a cavalier attitude! laugh.gif

laugh.giflaugh.giflaugh.gif

Have that man arrested! grin2.gif

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Marston Moor

One of the decisive battles of the English Civil Wars was Marston Moor, near York. On 2nd July 1644, the Parliamentarian forces, led by Oliver Cromwell, defeated the Royalist forces at Long Marston. Cromwell used the Old Hall at Long Marston village as his base for the battle and his ghost has reputedly been seen there on several occasions, pacing up and down, deep in thought before the conflict.

More interestingly, and perhaps, more credible, are tales of ghostly combatants seen in the area. One such example:

In 1932, two motorists, lost while searching for the Wetherby road, came across a group of bedraggled men trudging along in the ditch that ran alongside the road. The motorists slowed down to ask if they needed assistance. They noticed the men were dressed as cavaliers. The dishevelled cavaliers appeared not to notice the motorists or their car.

The cavaliers clambered out of the ditch, and wandered into the centre of the road. Suddenly, a bus appeared, coming from the opposite direction. The bus ran right over them without stopping.

The motorists leapt from their car, and began a frantic search of the road. They found nothing. Had they witnessed the ghosts of Royalists fleeing the battle of Marston Moor?

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Did someone shout "bump?"

No? Sorry, my mistake. rolleyes.gif

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Old Wardour Castle

Old Wardour Castle, Tisbury, Wiltshire, is now a ruin, standing in the grounds of a stately home. The ghost of 60-year-old Lady Blanche Arundell is said to still haunt the destroyed castle where she, and 25 servants, valiantly led a doomed Royalist resistance for nearly a month during the English Civil War.

The hexagonal shaped castle built in 1393, for John the Fifth Lord Lovel, was besieged for 25 days by Cromwell's Roundhead troops, under Sir Edward Hungerford, before the overwhelming force of 1000 soldiers became too much for the defenders. Lady Arundell was imprisoned for war crimes, and later executed.

Some months later, Henry Arundell led a Royalist counter-siege. Whether by design or misfortune, gunpowder mines laid in a drainage tunnel beneath the castle, caused a large part of the castle to collapse. The damage was deemed beyond repair, and the ruined castle would later become part of the landscaped grounds of the new house built at Wardour.

The castle's ghost is seen to walk the surrounding lawns shortly before dusk, making it's way toward the nearby lake. The ghost is assumed to be that of Lady Arundell, but could just as easily be one of her companions, who was with her during the seige.

The spooky ruin, and tales of it's ghost, still holds it's appeal today, attracting all sorts of ghosthunters.

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Ghost-hunters.............and would-be-Ghost-Hunters with farty dogs wink2.gif

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Ghost-hunters.............and would-be-Ghost-Hunters with farty dogs  wink2.gif

laugh.giflaugh.giflaugh.gif

Yup. Even the weird ones with farty dogs. grin2.gif

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After just a little research there appears to be tons of hauntings associated with the English Civil Wars. Not surprising with all the bloodshed, the murder of a king and a shockwave of division running through the national psyche. ohmy.gif

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Okay...last one, unless anyone else wants to post a few.

The following has to be the most incredible Civil War ghost story, and is for me one of the most impressive of any ghost stories in general. Normally, stories from the 17th century I read with a degree of caution, as it was a time of deep religious and supernatural beliefs, and even a time when people were still executed for witchcraft!

EDGEHILL:

On 23rd October, 1642, Royalists Troops under Prince Rupert of the Rhine (Charles I's nephew), and Parliamentarians, under Robert Devereux, third Earl of Essex, fought the first serious battle of the English Civil War at Edgehill, Warwickshire. After this undecisive clash, the bodies of some 2000 men lay on the unseasonably frozen slopes of Edgehill.

A month after the battle, a group of local shepherds saw what they at first assumed was another battle at the same spot. Cavalry thundered back and forth, gunsmoke rolled across the hill and the air was thick with the sound of neighing horses, the steady beating of drums, and the screams of the wounded and dying. When the whole scene suddenly vanished, they took fright, and ran to the nearest town to tell the authorities.

On Christmas Eve, the phantom battle was re-enacted again, and was so convincing that a London printer, Thomas Jackson, interviewed several witnesses, and published an account of the phenomena in pamphlet form, on January 4th, 1643. This was drawn to the attention of the King, who was so intrigued, that despite his hard-pressed military position, appointed half a dozen army officers to investigate on his behalf. They were led by Colonel Sir Lewis Kirk, former governor of the garrison at Oxford, and a young cavalry officer named Dudley, who had actually fought at the battle.

On their return, the officers brought detailed confirmation of the news. Not only had they interviewed the shepherds and recorded their accounts, but on two occasions, had seen the battle themselves, recognising not only a number of men who had died on the field, but also Prince Rupert, who was very much still alive. Whether or not anyone took any notice of it at the time, this last fact carried with it the intriguing suggestion that the phenomena was a sort of action replay, rather than a haunting by unhappy spirits.

Although Sir Lewis and his collegues were justifiably startled, they drew no conclusions, merely reporting the facts of what they had seen. There was no obvious reason for them to lie. They didn't know if the evidence would please the king or upset him.

As it was, the King took it as a good omen. And we know what eventually happened to him.

So, were all the witnesses lying? Were they all somehow deluded? Or did something, resembling in detail the battle, replay itself on several occasions over that short space of time?

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Great story again Cuffy!

There's a few re-enactments that are supposed to happen around here. One was witnessed by two police officers.......

Hammy x x x

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The English Civil Wars left Sussex relatively untouched compared with, say, Northamptonshire or Worcester. Here are a couple of ghostly remnants of those days.

1) Arundel.

Fresh from mangling Farnham Castle and skirmishing with his old friend and rival Sir Ralph Hopton (Royalist), Sir William Waller (Cromwellian) turned his attention to Arundel.

'William the Conqueror' as he became known, laid siege in late 1643 and the constant bombardmnet eventually left the castle in a ruinous state. It was eventually surrendered after the occupants had spent christmas starving inside. Occasionally it is said the castle walls reverberate to the sound of cannon fire.

A very lengthy restoration program has returned Arundel Castle to an impressive state. There are several ghosts haunting the site.

Edited by Agent_21

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2) Sidlesham

William Waller's Parliamentarian army subsequently moved on to Chichester. Again in 1643, a party of Royalists led by Sir Robert Earnley, found themsleves flushed out of Chichester and fleeing for their lives. The best hope was the coast and a passage to France. This they hoped to find by negotiating the marshy land south of Chichester to the neares quay.

They were in fact intercepted and a clash with the Rounheads ensued. Seeing the game was up, Sir Robert hid in the Swallow Inn (Now the Crab and Lobster) at Sidlesham. Unfortunately for him this was where the Roundheads came to celebrate their success and he was put to death there and then.

Earnley's ghost has haunted the inn's attic and the quayside, but most notable was what a lady patron once saw: a man in Cavalier costume, lying on the floor attempting to staunch a bleeding wound.

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Seeing the game was up, Sir Robert hid in the Swallow Inn (Now the Crab and Lobster) at Sidlesham. Unfortunately for him this was where the Roundheads came to celebrate their success and he was put to death there and then.

I must research my family tree. That kind of bad luck makes me suspect he's an ancestor of mine. tongue.gif

Great posts, Agent. grin2.gif That's what I was hoping for. As if this country wasn't haunted enough, without the civil wars coming along and adding to it.

And what an incredible (or frightening) sight that must have been, to see that spectral cavalier lying wounded. blink.gif

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A very lengthy restoration program has returned Arundel Castle to an impressive state. There are several ghosts haunting the site.

I've never heard of Arundel before...( yeah I know darned ignorant Scot lol. ) Sounds like a great place to visit, any idea who the ghosts supposedly are?

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Thistle, how about a civil war story from north of the border?

I've noticed that the pleasingly grisly stories are becoming your speciality, so it should be worth waiting for. tongue.gif

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Thistle, how about a civil war story from north of the border?

Not sure if the civil war reached here or not Cuffy, think we only fought with you guys laugh.giflaugh.gif will check it out though there's bound to be some good old grisly Scot's versus the English tales lol

thumbsup.gif

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