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Ghosts from Berkshire Places
Beginning with 'H'

Hampstead Norris

The ghost of ‘Old Tanner’ strolls around the church in his knee-breeches.

Another supposed ghost in the churchyard once frightened many of the locals by raising up its head to a gigantic height and uttering unearthly noises. Someone braver than the rest called its bluff and found it to be nothing worse than a large white turkey-cock!


Despite being converted to a bedroom, the old dining-room of an old Georgian House in this roadside village was given to appearances of a large dinner party in full swing. The diners, in Edwardian dress, actually noticed one witness and looked at her in horror before disappearing.


Within the Iron Age earthworks known as Grimsbury Castle or Devil’s Bury, is a folly called Grimbury Tower, an octagonal brick structure with battlements and a pyramidal roof. One of the upper rooms is said to be haunted and has an ‘ineradicable bloodstain’ on the wall.

Hoe Benham

The lane outside a certain cottage in this hamlet was haunted by a strange apparition seen by a number of locals in the early 20th century. The owners of the cottage claimed it was a large white pig with a big snout. Others, something like a sheep, 2½ft tall and 5ft long with glowing eyes. Some people reported it to be black, at first appearing like a dog and then a donkey. It disappeared before observers’ eyes. Farm labourers saw white shapes bobbing about over the heads of the horses which pulled their cart at the same spot. The cottage owners later felt an overwhelming evil presence in the lane and heard an unearthly scream. Whatever the spirit was, the locals believed it to be connected with an 18th century farmer, named King, who owned land bordering the lane and had committed suicide nearby. His farm stood midway between the Halfway Inn, on A4, and Hoe Benham.


A lady who worked in a modern office here was once confronted by a spectral legal gentleman, dressed in a black jacket. He appeared in the middle of the day for no apparent reason, but inspired the witness to press on with and win a legal case she was involved in.

Lynden Manor had a bedroom door that would always open at night no matter how firmly closed in the day-time. A ghostly figure was once seen standing in the same doorway.


The riverside is said to be haunted by the spirit of a lady in white.


Ladye Place in Hurley, once part of the old priory, has long been said to be haunted by a mysterious grey lady. She is supposed to be Queen Edith, wife of King Edward the Confessor and sister of King Harold II. According to a document from the reign of Richard II, she was buried at Hurley priory, part of which lies below Ladye Place. Colonel Rivers-Moore excavated the priory between 1924 & 1944 in order to find her tomb. He did not succeed. However, as the excavations increased, so did the hauntings of Ladye Place - by Black Monks. At least three were seen in the cellars by numerous people, another walked around the old cloisters with folded arms. They were supposed by the locals to be guarding their hidden treasure; but when the excavators finally ceased, so did the hauntings.

The Old Bell Inn is said to be the oldest pub in the country. It was the monastic guest-house and was certainly standing in 1135. Ghostly chanting is sometimes heard coming from a supposed tunnel behind the fireplace which links to the priory.


The ‘Castle’ Restaurant, opposite the Church, has been a public house of many names over the years: the ‘Castle,’ the ‘Bunch of Grapes’ and the ‘Church House’. The latter reveals its original purpose for selling ecclesiastical ale; and the building is still owned by the Church. The so-called ‘coffin room’ was probably used as some kind of local mortuary and may be the cause of the mysterious sounds which are heard in the building from time to time. A young woman is said to have died there, but it may also be the ghost of a young boy who killed himself.

Molly Tape was a local who entered into a passionate love affair with a farmer named Dick Darval. Eventually, Dick rejected the poor girl and, in despair, she hanged herself in the lane between Hurst and the hamlet of Hinton. An old song about Dick indicates that Molly may have unsuccessfully tried her hand at witchcraft in order to win him back. Her scantily clad spirit still haunts the lane.


    © Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.