A selection of legends from Kent.
Reculver is a fashionable summer resort located in the north of Kent. Two of its main attractions are the remains of a Roman fort as well as a famous ruined medieval church. There have been many odd experiences around the church remains, including the sounds of crying children. After the sounds were reported, the skeletons of babies were found under the foundations of the Roman fort at a dig in 1966. It is considered they may have been used as sacrifices for the church around 200AD.
While numerous castles claim to be haunted, Dover castle is quite unique in the number of reports from its visitors that back up this claim. A whole horde of ghosts are said to haunt the tunnels and rooms at the castle, and visitors come from far and wide in the hope of catching one of them on film. Around the west stairwell of the castle a woman has regularly been seen wearing a long red dress and drifting through the halls accompanied by the clear sound of sobbing. The lower half of a man has also been spotted around the King's bedroom, as well as crossing the doorway. Though this figure has been seen on frequent occasions, it is not known who he could be and why only his lower half is seen.
Perhaps most famous is the headless drummer. This drummer is thought to be a fifteen-year-old named Sean who was ambushed whilst carrying a great amount of money, where his head taken off by a sword in the attack. Medium Derek Acorah from the television program Most Haunted supposedly got in contact with Sean and helped him find peace. The drumming has not been heard at all since then.
The Biddenden Maids, named due to the fact they were from the village of Biddenden near Staplehurst, are one of the most well-known cases of conjoined twins in the Middle Ages. Born in 1100 to a prosperous family, they gained a reputation for their philanthropy. Today, every year Biddenden is home to the traditional custom of the Biddenden Maids' Charity held on Easter Monday. Tea, cheese and bread are given out to local widows, along with famous Biddenden cakes – many of which have been said to bear a strange effigy of the twins as an image of two figures joined at the hips and shoulders.
The Black Dog of Leeds Castle
A phantom dog has repeatedly been spotted at LeedsCastle. This black dog was first seen after the execution of King Henry VI's aunt, who was accused of treason, heresy and witchcraft. The Black Dog was given a description before WWI as 'a curly-haired retriever' who would appear and disappear within moments. One member of the family who owned the castle at the time of these sightings claimed the dog had saved her life, by rousing her curiosity and causing her to go away from an area of the room which collapsed moments after she moved. Perhaps this is why the Black Dog is known as an portent of death and disaster.
The Ship in the Sky
A strange event was recorded in Clorea, Ireland in the year 1211 AD. Gervase of Tilbury noted that during the Sunday Mass, a strange anchor unexpectedly dropped from the sky, hooking itself to the door of the church. A man swam down the anchor to free it, and then swam back up. Whilst this event took place in Ireland, the story has also been told of many other locations including Gravesend in Kent – all in the same year.
Bayham Old Abbey
Bayham abbey was created in 1207, as a union of two monastic sites at Otham and Brockley. Since it lay on the border of Kent and Sussex, it had a gate in each county. However, it suffered after Henry VIII's Dissolution of the Monasteries and was sold by Elizabeth I after her ascension to the throne. Today Bayham abbey is owned by English Heritage, though it is still haunted by a group of white monks. They chant and ring the bells from time to time, and many people have smelled the aroma of incense around the area.
Not only is this cathedral haunted by ghosts, but it has been home to many important events of history. It is famously known as the site where Thomas Becket was killed by knights sent by Henry II in 1170. It is still possible to see the very spot of his murder. This event has made the premises well known, as well as the main ghost who haunts the location. You would think that this ghost was that of Becket, but it is actually a different unrested soul that can be encountered at this cathedral. The ghost of another Archbishop, Simon Sudbury, is said to rove the Cathedral. He too was murdered in 1381, and his body and head were buried separately though his ghost has both a head and body. The head of the Peasants’ revolt, Wat Tyler, took Sudbury’s life in 1381. On the cathedral premises, there is a tower that was named after the slain Archbishop. His ghost appears to witnesses pale with a gray, long-flowing beard.
One of the most well-known ghosts of the cathedral is Nell Cook, who was once a servant there. She poisoned her employer upon discovery that he was having an affair, which killed both the man and his lover. This act led to Nell being buried alive under the passage known as the Dark Entry. It is now thought that Nell's ghost haunts that passageway, and she is often spotted after darkness on Friday evenings. Those who are unlucky enough to spot the ghost are said to perish not long after.
There is also another ghost that is known to haunt the premises of the cathedral. The ghost of a monk has been spotted in the area and has been reported to wander about the cloisters of the cathedral. When witnesses catch sight of his face, it is typically one expressing thoughtfulness.
The ghost of Lady Blanche de Warenne has been seen walking the castle battlements.
A dripping wet ghost haunts the castle. It is said that the man was a Revenue Officer murdered by smugglers.
Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015