Ghost sightings at properties around Swanbourne before the year 2000
Summary of the village ghost accounts told to Ken Reading and contained in a partly completed manuscript (dated 1997), intended to be part of Ken’s second book on Swanbourne. The latter was only part completed when he died in 1999.
There are several houses in Swanbourne that have been alleged to be haunted, but nothing that could be substantiated into a story.
The most notable ‘haunting’ of the Manor House traditionally involved a ‘Green Lady’ allegedly last seen by a Mrs Goddon about 1930, when she fled back to The Old Schoolhouse, where she had been visiting, in a state of extreme shock after seeing an apparition pass through the Church wall. The only recent claims were of a dark figure on the landing strangely corroborated by different elderly residents during the Old Peoples Home era. After the building became an infant annexe to Swanbourne House School, some staff who continued to work there reported hearing the voices and footsteps of past residents who had departed this life.
Other frequent phenomena are reported at Barrack Row, Smithfield End, where footsteps pass regularly through the dividing walls between the cottages. Successive tenants report a stange presence and sometimes noise of someone passing through the door and up the stairs. This ‘ghost’ is disliked by men but happily tolerated by women who seem to regard it as friendly. Tenants have admitted to each other of ordering the ‘presence’ to ‘Go next door’, which command is apparently obeyed.
At the Old School House, Mursley Road, footsteps across the floors of upstairs rooms seem the most frequent, with sightings of a young lady in white in the upstairs rooms, the tapping noises often associated with poltergeist activity, spontaneous opening of taps, reconnecting of electrical appliances, and mysterious opening of windows. Other tenants reported nothing out of the ordinary although someone wanting a property exchange declined the property due to ‘bad vibes’, and recent tenants (practising Christians) reported a feeling of evil that is ‘improving.’
Tugging at bedclothes has been reported from Dodley Hill Farm. This stops when ordered to ‘Go away’. Also reported, the sound of Irish folk music, an instance of a mystery explosion and a strange atmosphere, felt by the inhabitants of Garden Cottage, Nearton. A dark shadowy figure was seen in an upstairs room. A person visiting to mend a TV, claiming psychic powers, made the unsolicited remark that someone was ‘trying to communicate’. New tenants engaged in renovating this property surrendered the tenancy without moving in, despite the cost, reporting a ‘bad smell’ that is not detectable by others.
Recent reports of a strange smell of mothballs and that during the night, a hardheaded young man being frightened by a vision of two young ladies; this from a luxury home converted from an ancient barn at a point opposite to the ancient ‘Cruck’ dwelling, Brook Farmhouse, where some more usual phenomena such as the switching of lights and opening and closing of doors and on one occasion torch batteries being moved spontaneously and again footsteps upstairs in empty rooms.
A young couple who moved into Hensmans Farmhouse took the drastic precaution of nailing up the windows. That night they were terrified by the sound of crashing and moving furniture in the roof space attic, that continued for hours. Upon investigation the following morning the attic was found to contain nothing of consequence. Number 4, Nearton End, next to the Chapel and opposite Brook Farm, has also been reported to have had a visitation from a spectre. For a close group of four homes to have shared such happenings in modern times, with no tradition of such ‘haunting’, is curious.
Occupants of Glebe House on Mursley Road have reported a ‘presence’, also footsteps and a smell of cigar smoke and on one occasion a brief, indistinct sighting of an adult figure in a downstairs room. Home Farmhouse is reported to have a mystery presence in the upper attic area; also the vision of a side-saddle lady rider in the farmyard.
Number 13, Smithfield End, is reputed to have had a visitation in the form of a small child. Charlton Hill House has a panelled room. Building workers have complained of an uncomfortable atmosphere.
An Old Boy of Swanbourne House School told me recently how pupils of his time there were convinced of haunting by the spirit of one of the builders who fell from the scaffolding during its construction during the 19th Century.
See locations of ghost sightings plotted on a map:-Locations where ghosts have been sighted or sensed plotted on a map of Swanbourne – copy