Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Most Haunted English Manor House: Woodchester

In a secluded wooded area of Cotswold Valley in Gloucester, England near Stroud sits a very large 19th century mansion that remains half built to this day. This structure was never completed because it is said something so terrifying scared the builders that they suddenly set down their tools in 1868 and left. 

These tools can still be seen were they were discarded. Today, Woodchester Mansion is reputed to be one of England’s most haunted. Some of the ghosts reportedly seen in this mansion are Americans.

In 1844 William Leigh had two architects, Pugin and Bucknail, design a fashionable grand Victorian Gothic mansion for him. By 1868 the work was progressing nicely, the mansion’s Clock Tower and its roof were completed. But in this same year the tradesmen who had been working on the structure inexplicably laid down their tools and left never to return. 

Rumors at the time stated these workers had seen and heard unearthly things that had frightened them away. It is known that several mysterious deaths occurred at the time and a murder had occurred on the property in the past.

After this no one seemed inclined to finish the work and Leigh it is said ran out of money. He died and the land and mansion was left to members of his family. At the time his descendants sold the mansion in 1938 the structure was still just half completed. It appears the next generation didn’t want anything to do with the property.

Woodchester was not the first house to be built on this land, a Georgian country house, named Spring Park sat on the same site originally. The valley was also used thousands of years before this by the Roman occupation. Several witnesses have seen the ghosts of Roman soldiers roaming the property. 

Long before Woodchester was built it is said that Sir Rupert de Lansigny killed his cousin to gain control of the Spring Park estate. To this day a phantom horseman is seen in the area. It is stated that this is the ghost of Lansigny who is condemned to wander the grounds.

Another spirit that is seen is that of a monk who it is said to have committed suicide in the Middle Ages. His coffin is seen floating atop a nearby lake on the estate. 

One of the most disturbing spirits that is reported is seen in the mansion’s cellar. Some who have encountered this spirit say they feel it is evil in nature. This entity is described as a dwarf who wears dirty torn clothes. 

Other spirits seen inside include a young girl who is seen running up and down the grand staircase and two men who are dressed in black and wear top hats. One of these spirits is said to indicate that he knows he is being observed. He makes eye contact. * Check out my post about intelligent ghosts.

When Leigh’s family sold Woodchester it was slated to become a mental institution but the Second World War changed these plans. 

During this time the mansion became a base for American and Canadian troops. They used a nearby lake to train. It was during one of these trainings that a pontoon bridge collapsed and several vehicles fell into the water. Tragically several soldiers drowned. Their bodies were then removed and placed in the mansion. Many people feel several of these soldiers haunt Woodchester today. **

* Poltergeist activity is also reported at Woodchester. Loud bangs are heard in the mansion and stones are thrown from unoccupied rooms.

** During one recent investigation of the mansion several good EVP’s were recorded and one investigator spotted what appeared to be an apparition of a WWll airman.


Unknown said...

wow fantastic tales, more please for Halloween.

Virginia Lamkin said...

Glad you liked this story--I find it very compelling.