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24 September 2014

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Weird Warwickshire

You are in: Coventry and Warwickshire > Places > Weird Warwickshire > Spooky tales to chill your spine

Spooky Coombe Abbey

A spooky figure haunts Coombe Abbey

Spooky tales to chill your spine

Warwickshire is believed to be one of the most haunted areas on the planet and we could scare you all night but instead, we thought we'd chill you with just three stories. How generous of us!

Since Coventry and Warwickshire are home to some of the most historic buildings in the country it makes perfect sense for us to lay claim to being one of the most haunted areas in the country.

From the frightening friar that roams Coombe Abbey to the phantom lorry of Ryton, there's enough nocturnal spiritual activity to make your hair stand on end permanently. And, of course, our area is home one of Britain's most haunted buildings - Warwick Castle.

Have a read and then send us your favourite spooky local tales by emailing us

The Frightening Friar

The friars of Coombe Abbey - now a spectacular hotel and country park - are the stuff of legend and there can't be many children who have walked through the grounds without having their spines chilled by tales of mysterious monks.

One of the most famous tales from the 12th century abbey is of Abbott Geoffrey, a monk who was brutally murdered at Coombe early in 1345. The murderer was never caught and it proved to be the downfall of the monestery.

Visitors to the abbey have reported seeing a cowled figure floating around the grounds and his restless spirit is also believed to be responsible for items being flung about in the kitchens.

Poor Abbot Geoffrey is not alone in the spectral realm at Coombe. One of the saddest tales is of a young gypsy girl who's footsteps can be heard pattering across the cobbles near the stables.

Spooky Coombe Abbey

Is this a haunted tower at Coombe Abbey?

It's believed she is Matilda, who fell pregnant to the master of the house and was then spurned. The baby was still-born and in revenge, the girl put a curse on the first born of the family owning the house, which said they would die before middle age.

Strangely, the Craven family, who owned Coombe for 300 years until 1922, had no luck with their children and many died relatively young.

Other legends surrounding the building include a horseman, said to ride near to the lodge house, and a mysterious woman in Victorian costume riding a bike on the road outside the abbey.

The spookiest of them all?

In a place like South Warwickshire, with many villages mentioned in the Domesday Book, myths and legends are bound to still exist.

But even with spectres like the lady in white at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the old lady that haunts Ragley Spring in Alcester, there is one place guaranteed to ensure there's not a dry seat in the house.

Ettington Park, the imposing Victorian mansion in Alderminster, is frightening enough to look at without venturing inside. Its beautiful neo-gothic architecture makes it look like the archetypal haunted house - so much so it was used for exterior shots in the classic 1963 shocker The Haunting.

Ettington Park

Spooky goings-on at Ettington Park

The park may now be a magnificent four-star hotel but its spirits ignore the guests and appear at will, terrifying visitors and staff alike for many years.

Among the tales reported by white-faced guests are of a phantom lady in white who roams the corridors at night.

Lady Emma, as she has been dubbed, has been seen by many swishing along the cloistered terrace before melting into a solid wall.

Visitors have also reported feeling fabric stroked across their faces while in bed and cold spots at various points around the building.

Now you see it, now you don't

One of the newer tales of haunting comes from the A45 near Ryton at an accident blackspot.

One story goes back to a dark, winter night in the early eighties when a man was battling his way through the fog on his way home.

Phantom lorry in the fog

Ghostly shenanigans with an HGV?

His car headlights could barely penetrate the fog but suddenly ahead he saw the gleam of headlights heading straight for him. As the lights grew closer he saw it was a lorry careering out of control and heading straight for him.

As the lorry roared closer the driver was forced to swerve his car off the road. As he crashed into the embankment he turned - and realised the truck had vanished.

Several other motorists have reported seeing a lorry swerving through the fog on the wrong side of the road but no-one has ever seen the face of the driver and every time it has disappeared into thin air.

last updated: 18/04/2008 at 11:21
created: 24/05/2006

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