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Ghosts from Berkshire Places
Beginning with 'P'


Around the turn of the 20th century, a pair of mysterious yellow lights was often seen on the Padworth Road at certain times of night. They travelled quickly before disappearing amid an eerie silence. They are thought to be the echo of a long dead gig and pony.

Around the same time, Padworth House was haunted by the ghost of a man in armour, possibly a soldier wounded in a Civil War skirmish which occurred nearby. He would stand at the entrance to a particular bedroom, or the foot of the bed, staring at the occupant. Another story is told of how, about 1875, a portrait in the house, by Lely, of a ‘lady in yellow’ was being cleaned by a restorer when he complained bitterly that the lady’s ghost followed him down the corridors. He left forth with.

Two motorists, travelling home one night along the Bath Road, saw a woman dressed completely in cream at Lower Padworth, near Towney Bridge. She was walking along the side of the dual carriage-way with her head bowed. She wore a large hat, gloves and a dress with a fancy diamond shaped hem. Even her shoes were cream and the whole outfit appeared to date from  the 1930's. They were both extremely surprised and couldn't understand where the lady had come from. When they looked in their mirror, she had gone. They were both quite shaken by the experience.


Bere Court was the summer residence of the Abbots of Reading and the last abbot was arrested here immediately prior to his trial and execution. There are lots of stories told about the old house, particularly relating to the abbot’s secret subterranean rooms. The best bedroom was always said to be haunted by a ‘lady in blue’.


Searle's Farm is an ancient Tudor building marooned in the middle of the gravel pits in northern Burghfield. One particular room in the house is said to be where, having discovered she was pregnant, an unmarried serving girl committed suicide by throwing herself from the window during the 19th century. Even those who do not know the story will have a strange dream when staying in the room. The young girl appears, in a flowing white dress at the window, staring out over the surrounding countryside. The room is in darkness, but she is illuminated in a soft white light! Several visitors have born witness to this phenomenon; likewise to a similar light which is seen under the door to the same room when, within, there it is pitch black.

Pinkneys Green

There is a road to Cookham which goes through Pinkneys Green and across the Thicket towards Cookham Dean, the road branching off at what is known as Hangman’s Corner, once the site of a gibbet. One nine-year-old girl returned home to tell how the pony she had been riding had been ‘awful’ at the turning to Dean. She had no knowledge of the junction’s name, else she might have guessed the place’s reputation. All horses react this way when they pass Hangman’s Corner and wise riders make a detour which saves them much time in the end.


When Major & Mrs. Bradley first lived at Purley Hall, in 1961, the atmosphere was so oppressive that they arranged for a service of exorcism. This appears to have rid the building of a quarrelsome modern spirit, but left two more friendly characters. The Viceroy of India, Warren Hastings, had rented the building in the 18th century, while preparing his defence against alleged corruption charges. His acquittal seems to have led his spirit to favour Purley and he has been seen hurrying down the stairs, pulling on a pair of gauntlet gloves. There other ghost is of an old lady dressed in black panniered silk and a mob cap. One gentleman helping at a fete had occasion to enter the house and there saw the ghost of a highly-tanned lady who he took to be Mrs. Hastings. On returning to the same room, he found that the furnishings had completely changed! The traditional ‘grey lady’ (possibly a nun) who was said to exist in the early 20th century, but has since departed. It seems that so too has the sprit of the small child which was often heard crying in the bedroom above the dining room. In the 18th century, the house was owned by the Hawes family. The daughter of the house is supposed to have become pregnant by a philandering colonel and given birth to the child in this room, which soon died after being hidden in a cupboard.


    © Nash Ford Publishing 2001. All Rights Reserved.