It’s widely known that the village of Pluckley in Kent is Britain’s most haunted village, it’s perhaps not as well known that Faversham is reported to be Britain’s most haunted town. So, with Halloween fast approaching we thought we would share some of Faversham’s most famous ethereal residents.
The Dutch Sailor
It’s only fitting that our first tale takes place along our beloved Saxon Shore Way at the Ship Wrights Inn. This remote pub is well over three hundred years old and the setting lends itself to tales of pirates and smugglers. Patrons and staff have widely reported a noticeable drop in temperature, and strong smell of tobacco and rum, and occasionally they have also seen a “thick set bearded sailor” wearing a thick coat, a peaked hat and red eyes. Sometimes he will block the door, there have also been reports of loud knocking on the door in the early hours.
The story goes that in the 19th century a Dutch captain boat ran into difficulty along the Swale on a cold winters night. The captain managed to clamber up along the mud flats and make it to land and to the door of the Inn. Sadly, last orders had been called and the Landlord would not open the door for fear of pirates or smugglers. The next morning the Landlord opened up to find the captain dead on the doorstep, having died from exposure.
There’s not many a child that has grown up in Faversham that has not heard the legend of Diana, a headless woman who wanders through Bysingwood. Legend has it that Diana was the daughter of the land owner of Syndale Manor (now known as Judd’s Folly). She was engaged to the son of the vicar at Davington Church.
After evensong, each evening the couple would walk from Davington, through Bysingwood to Diana’s home at Syndale. One night the couple were attacked, whilst Diana was decapitated, her lover was only slightly injured. Shortly afterwards he was found hanged, close to the place where she was attacked.
Now Diana’s restless soul is believed to wander the route the lovers took that fateful night, head tucked under her arm. This route is now locally known as Diana’s Walk.
If you are visiting Faversham, the chances are that you will pop into the tourist information centre which is in the Fleur des Lis Heritage Centre. Now housing the Faversham Society and local museum, this former pub is home to at least one very long-term resident who would love to chat.
Known simply as “The White Lady” she is frequently seen by staff at the top of the stairs. There are also reports of the telephone exchange, exhibited in the museum ringing, despite not being connected to any lines, this lady clearly would like to make contact.
Britain’s Oldest Brewery Shepherd Neame has been brewing on the same site in Faversham for at least 300 years. Many of its office buildings in Court Street are of a similar age and given that this road would have been a thoroughfare to Faversham Abbey, it is likely that buildings may have stood here for many hundreds of years. Certainly, during my time working at the brewery, there were all kinds of stories circulating of ghostly going ons, with some people refusing to enter certain rooms or areas on the site…
Find Out More
These stories are only a few of the many ghostly accounts in Faversham, with its rich history and many tragedies it’s bound to attract ghostly stories. Talk to Faversham’s residents and it won’t be long before a tale or two of some visitation or legend is told. If you would like to find out more I would recommend you find a copy of Griselda Cann’s “Ghost Stories From Faversham”
In 2005 Derek Acorah visited Faversham with his television “Ghost Town” which covers some of the stories mentioned here.
Maybe you have a ghostly tale you would like to share this Halloween? We would love to hear your stories.