The Ghosts of Pluckley

by
Bruna Zanelli

 

England is arguably the most haunted land in the world and in the south-eastern corner, is Kent.

Deep in the heart of this lush green countryside rests Pluckley, a small village of 1000 residents, close to the market towns of Maidstone and Ashford, and on the Kentish North Downs. Ancient Pluckley is also claiment to the title ‘The most haunted village in England’.

At the last count it boasted at least 16 recorded ghosts.

These include a schoolmaster, wearing a ‘frock coat and dark striped trousers, who hanged himself two hundred years ago in Dicky Buss Lane, a highwayman who was skewered by a defensive sword at Frith (pronouced ‘Fright’) Corner, and an old gypsy watercress seller who burned to death when she fell asleep, dropping her pipe onto her straw bedding. The old gypsy is said to return regularly to Pinnock Stream. Of course, we must not forget the claim that a Fife and Drum band regularly marches through one village house, while in the 700 year old Black Horse Inn furniture has been said to rearrange itself.

These sightings makes Pluckley fair game for Halloween revellers who, each October 31, arrive in fancy dress by the busload, hoping to see a small dog scampering through the churchyard on its ghostly wanderings, or the Red Lady of St. Nicholas churchyard, or indeed the White Lady of Surrenden Manor. Some visitors have been brave enough to venture into Dering Wood at dead of night, searching for the unexplained ‘screamings’ which force the hairs on the backs of necks to stand upright.

But once Halloween is past, one of the most popular sightings remain the Coach and Horses racing through the village, last seen in the mid 1990s. Several people, residents and tourists, have reported this phenomenon, as well as seeing the spectre of the Monk at Greystones, gliding down the lane.

Ghosts certainly seem aplenty in this pretty drowsy Kent village where one local hotel has been investigated by the Centre for Psychic Research but the owners continue to refuse to be interviewed. Should you decide to visit the village, it would be advisable to remember that many of the sites mentioned are private residences and the owners may not welcome more ghost hunters knocking at their doors. These days, the villagers tend to play down the ghost stories and few, if any admit, to having witnessed any ‘strange sightings’. Despite this there remains heavy duty interest thoughout the year.

Aside from its ghostly fame, Pluckley is also famous as the village used for filming ‘The Darling Buds of May’, the 1990s tv series which first gave Catherine Zeta Jones her step on the ladder to success and Michael Douglas.

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