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Weird Warwickshire

You are in: Coventry and Warwickshire > Places > Weird Warwickshire > Ghostbusting at a haunted hotel

Ettington Park

Ettington Park? Spooky? We think so!

Ghostbusting at a haunted hotel

Martin Winch joined BBC Coventry & Warwickshire's Rev Mervyn Roberts and Paul Marriott for an evening of ghostbusting at the very haunted Ettington Park hotel. Did they spot any spooks?

It’s no surprise that there is such a place in South Warwickshire. With so many villages mentioned in the Domesday Book myths and legends are bound to exist with ghosts aplenty having been spotted at this mansion-turned-hotel, owned by the Shirley family, over the years.

Ettington Park is an imposing Victorian mansion, frightening enough to look at without venturing inside. Its scary neo-gothic architecture make it look like the architypal haunted house - so much so it featured in the classic 1963 shocker The Haunting.

Michael Kenny with the haunted book

Michael Kenny with the haunted book

But it's not just how it looks. There have been scores of reports over the years of mysterious sightings, sounds and experiences. Are there really ghosts at Ettington Park?

One Friday night we took our camera and other recording equipment with us as we explored every nook and cranny of the spooky building. Aided by Michael Kenny, a retired night manager who worked at the hotel for five years from 1997, we went into many of the rooms ……. all of which seemed to have a tale to tell.

playing card stuck to a wooden ceiling

Who stuck the playing card to the ceiling?

Going ghostbusting

There have been a number of ghosts and unexplained atmosphere’s experienced. Beginning as we did in the reception area, our guide explained how it was here that he had witnessed the phenomenon of a floating candle above the neo-Elizabethan oak mantelpiece. Kenny also continued with how he believed he had seen the ghost of Edward Shirley.

Once in the library we saw the book which had flown from the shelves one evening. Could it have been evidence of poltergeist activity?

Our guide recounted a couple of tales of oddities in the Great Drawing room. Listen to Kenny talk about the doors and curtains opening and shutting as well as the Edwardian lady found in the bay window.

Ettington Park exterior view

The stunning gothic towers of Ettington

So taken with this room were we that we spent much of the night there. Sadly, aside from the occasional snores of sleepy members in our ghostbusting team, nothing went bump in the night.

You can hear his ghostly tales by clicking the links below.

After nipping into the restaurant in the Oak Room where the ghost of Mary the servant girl is supposed to reside we went out to the church. It is here that the ghost of a monk has reportedly been spotted.

When we went back inside the main building we were joined by a couple of hotel guests who had changed their rooms the previous night because of noises that they had heard and a general feeling of unease. Previously oblivious to paranormal activity at Ettington, they joined us on the remainder of our ghost hunt which ended in the Long Gallery.

Ettington Park Chapel

Looking across to Ettington's chapel

It was here that the mansion felt the coldest and the closest to feeling a sense of being watched.

So are spectres real? Well our guide Michael Kenny has his own theories

He said: “If you take a CD what are you doing? Are you not replaying real events and emotions just as they actually happened at sometime in the past and were recorded on basic materials to be replayed time and time again at a future date?

“Is it not also possible that certain events, given the right conditions, can have human events impressed or recorded upon them? Then, at some later date, again given the right conditions or atmosphere, a person walks into that environment and becomes the medium by which the recorded events are replayed.

“The ghostly phenomenon known to us as haunting then occurs”.

Can you spot the spook?

Can you spot the spook?

What do you think?

Is Ettington Park haunted? Do ghosts exist? Have you ever experienced a haunting or do you know of a ghostly story? Or do you think it's all rubbish? Let us know on our messageboard below.

last updated: 18/04/2008 at 11:13
created: 30/06/2006

Have Your Say

Share your ghost theories and stories here.

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Beth Cullins
I am a Shirley family descendent and as fantasic as these stories are I do not believe the mansion to be haunted. Just over active imaginations and an old house. My family and think it is wonderfully beautiful and I would love to visit it some day.

Kate M
When I was younger, my family visited the Ettington Park regularly, as my dad worked nearby and we often went up to join him for the weekend. We never really knew about the haunted status of the hotel, but when I was about 14 I waiting for the rest of my family in a corridor of the hotel, when I noticed that someone was looking through the reinforced glass of the firedoor. This was a large pane of glass, about half of the door in total, and could clearly see a woman looking through. I suddenly realised that she seemed to be wearing a bonnet, and appeared to be faded and transparent. I turned to look more clearly and she was gone. Around 2 years later I watched a program listing the hotel as Britain's most haunted!

phillip bulejko
i live in a haunted flat, i wish other people can expirence this type of thing but i am a lucky person to have witness it for my self, but were i live is not so much haunted like back then in 1986 there are some little nose's but it is nearly goneall the best in your job

Steve
I have had several unnerving experiences over the past two years at my place of work in Gulson Coventry, i have seen a male figure, heard foot steps, lights have been switched off and i have seen a fantastic light display in the building to name but a few ,writing this,it sounds absolutely cuckoo, but these things have happen. What i would like is any historical information regarding the area the building is situated on by the river Sherbourne.Has anyone else reported strange occurrences over the years in this vicinity? Has anyone been murdered or died here?Can anyone shed any light on this?

Matt
I read this page last week as my girlfriend was taking me there this weekend,...all the way up I was joking about us getting room 38,... and was mentioning some of the stories on here,... it's Nov 30th, and we drove up the lane in total darkness and fog whilst I made scary ghost noises to try and scare my girlfriend... I soon stopped thinking i was funny when we checked in to be told immediatley that we were in room 38....The room was really nice,..but we both felt a little spooked for the 1st hour or so,... and yes,.. we to noticed the flies.. and the bathroom was always freezing, although the room was really hot, even when leaving the bathroom door wide open...Nothing happened whilst we were there, but it wasn't the best night sleep we ever had,...

Gabe
well its funny that two people said something about room 38. At my last stay their, I was again in room 9 which I found out was right below room 38. That was the room that I heard that loud stomping around early in the morning and late at night the first time I was there. and I also found out that at that time the room was vacant. I would like to also add, I dont know if it has any meaning but when I got back home none of my pics on my digital camera came out. I sent the disk to a recovery place (quite expensive) but they only were able to recover half of them. The ones they couldnt recover were pics I took the last day there which had included a lot of late night shots walking around the entire hotel, Dont know if it means anything but Im sure those pics would have showed something. just a hunch.

kate and deon
Yes we stayed at the Ettington park hotel the night after halloween (strangely enough!!) We were first put into a wing of the hotel that had been newly renovated - I was a little disapointed as I wanted to stay in the old part of the hotel! I called up the reception and they had another room - Room 38! We were moved promptly and on entry we were quite pleased at the quaintness of the room - high ceilings, massive bathroom that happened to be freezing! My husband put the kettle on - I sat on the bed and then we both looked up at the ceiling! There we saw 2 discoloured damp patches and massive flys that had come in through the vent and were flying and then settling on these patches! We then saw dead flys on the floor and we decided that there was something not quite right with this room - it felt eary!! We then called and were moved back to the other room - thankfully! We then waited in the reception for our taxi to take us to a restaurant in Stratford, when a couple entered to reception with thier cases! She was a little distraught! My husband overherd him mention flys! I then asked him what room they had been in and he said nio 38!! He said there were atleast 30 flys in the room! This was about 30 minutes after we were in there! So the flys had multiplied in a very short space of time!! There was something not right with this room - either there was something dying upstairs - or it was an amityville horror sort of situation!! There was no way I was going to stay in that room all night!

Chuck Cobb
I stayed up all night and didn't see a thing. Ghosts, be gone!

Mary Kay Mahoney
Last year I just happened upon Ettington Park while visiting the Cotswolds. I took a few pictures of the exterior (out by the chapel). When I got home I uploaded my digital photos and in one of the photos that I'd taken looking upward towards the ceiling there is a definite white mist. Based on the strange photo I decided to learn more about Ettington Park. Imagine my surprise when I googled it and discovered it was the most haunted hotel in England. No kidding. I'd be happy to share the misty photo.

Steve Evans
I worked and lived at the hotel when it opened in 1986 for 4 years, one evening after all the guests had retired (about 2am) some work collegues and myself were having a drink in the library bar when all of a sudden we were startled by a book that appeared to fly off the shelf and land on the floor - when i checked the opened pages, the first words were "alas this place is cursed" - (this is true).I also had very uneasy feeling whenever down in the celler areas as if was not alone.another of my collegues (the night porter) saw the grey lady walking down the main stair case several times !It was a great place to work but very spooky at night when quiet!

MJ
Having just come back from the ettington park from our honeymoon.We reviewed our photos we found a face of a little girl looking out of our window knowing that know one was in our room.(well spooky) also we have a great photo of what looks like a dog in the grounds take at midnight.(misty shape)have photos to prove it.

Russ Johnson
I spent a couple of days here with my family in summer 2003. Being an American I am pretty skeptical about the paranormal. Still, while we were swimming in the huge indoor pool I saw a definite but dim gray human figure at the (plexiglass?) separating the hotel from the pool area. The people in the hotel visible further away were normal appearing. Later that evening on our way to Stratford for dinner I looked to locate our third floor window. I'm pretty sure I saw a head and shoulders silhouette at the window of our room. The floor in the room was quite creaky - when we were walking on it. I didn't sleep well, but it was quite hot in England that summer.... I understand a couple of young boys drowned apparently at the same time in the small stream on the grounds a few hundered years ago. The ancient chapel was rather creepy. Still, the grounds in out of the way corners of the property were creepier yet.

Lee Sands
I stayed in room 38 easter weekend 08,I did not sleep all night. The room went from hot to cold with the drop of a hat. The lights kept going on and off outside my room, when know one was there. The sound system in the bathroom had a mind of its own. I had to pull the wires out off the tv to stop it. I saw something strange in the wardrobe mirror. A reflection of some sort which was not from the room. A sort of object went passed light but dark.But the worst thing was some strange sense that all was not well. I cant explain it, just i felt so ill at ease, I felt like I was having a panic attack. and there was a crow outside my window the latter part of the night just to cap things off............ I was really spooked, my girlfriend thinks I am making the whole thing up. I am not. It was weird uncomfortable weird, and what ever was their was not happy you could feel it........

zara griffin
I was at the edge of the river Avon, in a field at Stoneleigh Abbey- enjoying the view when I became aware of a lady watching me from the otherside of the river. I got the feeling she wasn`t pleased with me being there as she had quite a cross expession on her face. I noticed she was dressed in a tweed outfit (similar to those worn by people hunting) I felt un-easy as I wasn`t sure if I was on private land and that this lady may well be the land owner. I decided as she was still watching me to cross over the bridge just ten feet away and appologise to her - to my great suprise as I got to the end of the bridge and looked left to where the lady had been stood moments before there was nobody there. I was absolutely terrified and I ran away as fast as I could. I have no idea who the lady was but she certainly gave the me the impression I wasn`t meant to be where I was! does anyone know who the lady may have been or if there have been any other sightings of ghosts at Stoneleigh Abbey.

paul
I woke up one night in a hotel room. There was a presence at the end of my bed. It was angry. I couldnt see anybody there. I decided it was my imagination and went back to sleep. In the morning my wife said "I woke up in the middle of the night and i was so scared. I thought someone was in the room"

Mike Peach
I used to work at the Hotel, One day myself and the other chefs went into the cellar to help a waiter to bring a fridge up the stairs, whilst leaving the cellar we heard footsteps as if someone was walking on a cobbled floor all the floors were carpetted

gabe falsetta
I would also like to add one other occurance. while standing outside smoking I looked at my room and there was what I thought a housekeeper who appeared in my room and was I have to say violently closing the drapes. I couldnt understand why she was there again when our room had already been turned down. upon going back into the hallway outside our room the same person walked right passed without acknowledging my presence. she just walked back into my room ( i didnt even notice her using a key) and just as fast exited. moments later another housekeeper came out of another room with her cart and all and said good evening. I only mention all this because the first girl i seen didnt have a cart nor anything in her hands unlike the other " housekeeper" Its almost as if she was angry that I re opened the drapes(which I did after my bed was layed out) and that she had to do something about it. I really felt it was the same entity that I felt when approaching that store room above my room. In closing I can only say that I already booked a stay for next year. I am going back I have to find out ( experience) more. I will keep you posted

gabe falsetta
I just came back from ettington ( oct 28 to nov 1, 2007) and I would like to share some experiences. My room was room 9 in the main house. first there was a constant walking ? or stomping above my room late at night and early mornings. all there was above me was a storeroom. also while standing outside my room on the spiral staircase above my room ( the store room) the shades were moving rapidly up and down by only a 1/4 inch, this went on for almost 10 min. The most interesting thing was when I went to explore the storeroom I quietly walked up the staircase and noticed the door was slightly opened, when my habd just barley touched the handle something or someone pushed it violently shut with such force I have to admit I ran out of there quickly only to return moments later with my wife only to find the room empty. Hauntings? I truly believe they were.

boris , duisburg, germany
i saw the "haunting of hillhouse", and i hope the effect of the clouds, running at midnight over the tops of the house have the same effekt like in the movie.also i hope the windows have "eyes".good luck from germany

Elizabeth Jones
I have visited many haunted (Places) and there no doubt something else out there, but what. I am a working medium and have experience many Ghost and Spirits are thye one and the same I wonder. There is no doubt you get the answer to one question and there are several others,I have been to Ettington Hall and the library holds the key I would love to spend a night in there ( with others of course) and the Chapel is another area

Jean King
In the 1970s discos were held at Ettington Park. I saw a beautiful dark-haired woman running along the corridor on the first floor (around 4.00am) She had long brown hair, and a terrible pleading look in her brown eyes. Her face was beautifully made up and she had some kind of coronet on her head but her clothes were plain grey-brown.

Beth
I would like to see a ghost but never actually be the victim of one or another. I also find History and Ghosts quite interesting so that's why im reading this.

philip cahill
me personally i would love to go to a place thats haunted but never the less ettington park could be haunted its possible

Belle
I stayed in one of the suites at Ettington I was woken in the early hours by a strong smell of what I can only descibe as urine as if a child had wet the bed, I turned on the bed side light as the smell was getting stronger I woke my husband who couldnt smell anything, when he tried to use the remote to turn off the tv it wouldnt work although it had been fine earlier in the evening and was ok the next day. I lay in bed in the darkened room and felt no fear just a sense of fun as if children were playing. On checking out the next day we enquired about the room and were told it was once a childs nursery.

stanley smith
I'm currently a guest at Ettington Park. I am occupying a room in the front on the second floor. This morning I went downstairs to complain to the manager that last night the people in the room above me had made so much noise they had wakened me at 1:30. There were heavy foot steps above me and doors opening and closing. He stared at me for a moment and then said, "Sir, there is no room above yours. Only the attic". I later found out that 200 years before a woman had been hanged in the attic - almost directly above my room. It also seems that these noises are not infrequent.

Rachael
I think that the evidence you've collected is quite good, but you'd need to collect more and make it more convincing for me! Sorry, but that's how i feel. thanks

Ellie
I know somebody who used to work at the hotel! They've always told me that strange and spooky things used to happen there, esspecially at night!! I belive that it is haunted, as there is no other explination?!?!

James (again)
I used to work at the old Saxon Mill pub when it was part of the Harvester chain. I remember one hot summer night, I was working on the grill in the front of house, the side door open to let some air through. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a white figure pass the small window, thinking someone had come up the outside stairs, I waited for them to come through the door. No-one came through. I poked my head out throught the window to see who it was, but saw no-one there! About ten - fifteen minutes later I saw another figure moving towards the door again... I poked my head out again and saw nothing again!! I told my fellows, who said that it was most likely to be Monty the pub's ghost... He used to frequently knock things over, slam doors and such. He was quite entertaining really!

James
I have a couple of stories / fables. There used to be an old delapidated house positioned just past the canal bridge on Coventry Road as you head in to Warwick, this was rumoured to be a haunted house that was built in view of Hangmans Rock (now in the middle of the Woodlose estate). This house at one time had also been residence to Alistair Crowley (infamous occultist and star of Ozzy Osbourne's Mr Crowley and The Eagles Hotel California front cover...) My second spooky bit, when I was a kid living along Montague Road I used to spend time wandering around the countrside. One time some friends and I walked up into some woods opposite the old Saxon Mill pub to try and find Gaveston's cross. Being a bright summers day I thought nothing of the potential fear factor. We hadn't got further than a few feet into the wood when day turned into the pitch black of night, with a cold clammy feeling to boot. Needless to say we didn't hang around long and burst back into bright sunshine feeling rather relieved and more than a bit shakey...

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