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24 September 2014

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Our haunted county: Chavenage

A ghostly coach and horses visits Chavenage

This Elizabethan manor house near Tetbury has parts dating from the 14th century, but its most dramatic haunting dates from the English Civil War.

See Also

A Gloucestershire ghosthunter: 'Why I believe in ghosts'

BBC News: Ghosts 'all the the mind'

Tell us your ghost story


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Chavenage's owner Nathaniel Stephens, a relative of Oliver Cromwell, became Parliament's member for Gloucestershire.

Although he was one of the less radical members of the Roundhead faction, he was leaned on by Cromwell during a visit to Chavenage to vote for the support, arrest and trial of Charles I, and persuaded to state in Parliament that the best cure for a sick plant might be "by cutting off its head".

Nathaniel's daughter was horrified at what her father had consented to and predicted a curse on the family.

Sure enough, he was struck down by a fatal illness. At the moment he died a spectral black coach and horses driven by a headless coachman drew up at the entrance, the coach door opened and the ghost of Nathaniel, dressed in his shroud, left the house, climbed aboard and was driven away.

It is said that every owner who has since died at Chavenage has departed in the same dramatically spooky fashion.

Engraving of Chavenage
Chavenage is stepped in history and has a spoky Civil War tale

The room where Cromwell slept has witnessed several ghostly happenings - one visitor was so terrified she packed her bags and fled, walking the seven miles to Kemble Station in the middle of the night, though she refused to say exactly wehat she had seen.

The room was exorcised at the instigation of the present owner's grandmother but some visitors still notice an ice-cold chill and get goosebumps there.

Other weird occurrences at Chavenage include a 'grey lady' seen by the lady-in-waiting of Queen Victoria's grand-daughter Princess Marie-Louise, a heavy wooden bed that is mysteriously lifted off its legs, and a ghostly monk seen in the chapel.

And when the galleried main hall was used as a living room, the family dogs frequently became restless, looked up and watched something unseen cross the room.

Visitor information: Chavenage is open to the public May to September, Thursdays and Sundays, bank holiday Mondays and Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, 2pm-5pm.
01666 502329.

If YOU have had a close encounter with a Gloucestershire apparition, we want to hear about it! Just click on the link below to tell us your spinetingling tale.

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