Faversham's Most Haunted

Faversham’s most haunted: 4 spooky locations to visit

With Halloween just around the corner, we bring you the definitive guide to Faversham’s most haunted places. Are you brave enough to explore some of them?

Want to hear about ghostly goings on and local hauntings? Here are some of the scariest places in Faversham, Kent, this Halloween…

You’ve probably heard of Pluckley, the Kentish village said to be Britain’s most haunted place.

But think there aren’t some spine-tingling spooks in our very own historic market town of Faversham? Think again. As we come up to Halloween, let’s take a look at some of the town’s most haunted places and their ghostly occupants…

Follow Diana’s Walk in Bysing Wood

If you go into the woods today… you might see a headless ghost. 

For generations, locals have told stories about Diana, a ghost who wanders through Bysing Wood (the wood on the outskirts of Faversham) with her head tucked under one arm.

Legend has it that Diana was the daughter of the family who owned Syndale Manor (now known as the Judd’s Folly Hotel). And her fiance was the son of the vicar of Davington Church.

Every evening after evensong the couple walked from Davington, through Bysing Wood, back to Diana’s home in Syndale.

But one night tragedy struck when they were attacked – and Diana was decapitated.

Although her fiance escaped with minor injuries, shortly that time he was found hanged, close to the place where Diana had met her own grisly end.

Apparently Diana has haunted the woods ever since, and wanders the same route she took all those years ago carrying her head under her arm. That’s why locally we know that route as ‘Diana’s Walk’.

Go Dutch at the Shipwright’s Arms

Fancy popping to a local pub for a Halloween pint – and getting a bit of ghoul-spotting thrown in for free?

As you’d expect from an inn that was built over 300 years ago, the remote and atmospheric Shipwright’s Arms has a few tales to tell.

The pub sits on the Saxon Shore Way at Hollowshore, at the junction of Oare and Faversham creeks, and you can well imagine the days of pirates and smugglers navigating their way past the mud flats at night.

But it’s one sailor in particular – the captain of a Dutch boat in the 19th century – that makes this place a particular haunting hotspot.

Apparently one cold winter’s night his boat ran into trouble on the Swale. And the captain managed to climb to shore across the mudflats, somehow managing to reach the door of the inn. But the landlord had already taken last orders and was worried about letting pirates or smugglers in.

When he did open up the next morning, he found the captain slumped dead in the doorway, having frozen to death overnight.

Fast forward two centuries and customers and staff sometimes talk about the temperature dropping suddenly, as well as strong smells of tobacco and rum.

Some people say they’ve seen a “thick set bearded sailor” with red eyes, dressed in a thick coat and peaked hat – at times even blocking the door. There are also reports of loud knocking on the door in the night, too. Pub goers who’ve had one too many, or a genuinely ghoulish encounter? You decide. 

Take ghost calls at the Fleur de Lis 

Based in the heart of Faversham, the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre has a lot going on: it holds the tourist information centre, a museum/gallery space and the Faversham Society, too.

Parts of the Fleur de Lis are housed in a 15th century former public house, and as you’d expect there’s more than a bit to delight ghost-hunters.

“The White Lady” is its long-term resident who’s keen to make her presence felt with spectral sightings – and apparently staff sometimes see her standing at the top of the building’s stairs. 

There’s a chance that if she can’t be seen, she wants to be heard. One of the exhibits at the Fleur de Lis is an old-fashioned Strowger telephone exchange, and there are reports that this has rung – even when it’s not connected to any working lines. Perhaps she’ll leave a message and we can get back to her?


Brew up spooks at Shepherd Neame


Britain’s oldest brewer, the historic Shepherd Neame, is said to be another local haunting hotspot. The company was founded in 1698 and has been brewing on the same site for over 300 years. 

There are tales of a ghostly cat making its way through reception, and an old malt kiln with its own ghostly group of monks who gather to haunt there. It’s rumoured that some staff are too spooked to enter certain rooms or parts of the brewery site.

Given this, it was no surprise that when psychic Derek Acorah came to Faversham to investigate spooky goings on for his TV series “Ghost Towns”, he headed to Britain’s oldest brewer on his visit.

A good way to soak up the atmosphere at Shepherd Neame is with a brewery tour. Although they’re currently suspended due to the pandemic, we hope they’ll be able to resume soon – and until then perhaps you can try one of its Halloween-themed brews, the aptly-named Spooks Ale? 

Find out more

These and many more haunting hotspots are covered in Griselda Cann Musset’s excellent book “Ghost Stories from Faversham”. 

You can also watch the Faversham episode of Derek Acorah’s “Ghost Towns” on YouTube, here

Or, join Liz Jeffery as she takes a spooky walk around Faversham with Medium Tracy May and Radio Faversham‘s Mike Adam’s

Part One

Part Two

Do you have any spine-tingling stories to share from Faversham? Do get in touch and we can add them to our list of the town’s most haunted…

The Great Storm In Faversham

The Great Storm of 1987: memories of the night

How did the Great Storm of 1987 affect Faversham? Local resident Liz Jeffery, a teenager at the time, remembers that wild, windy weekend…

Emmetts Garden, owned by the National Trust, lost 95% of its woodland to gale-force winds. Credit: NATIONAL TRUST

The Great Storm on 15 October 1987 was the worst storm to hit the South East of England for 300 years. 

In just a few hours, hurricane-force winds as strong as 120mph took down an estimated 15 million trees – many that had been standing for centuries. 

Telephone lines went down; water, electricity and gas supplies were cut off; miles of rail and road networks were blocked. The hurricane also had a more tragic consequence, claiming the lives of 18 people in England (several of those in Kent).

Despite it all, the storm also showed a community spirit in Faversham that’s still around, 33 years later. Here are my teenage memories of that fateful night…

No warning of what was to come

Thursday 15th October 1987 had been a typical autumn day. It had been raining for days, and that evening felt dull and dank.

Still, to the teenage me, Faversham Carnival was due to take place that weekend – and so the rain didn’t matter. Walking home from school, the sight of the Forrest Fair setting up on Faversham Rec was enough to lift spirits even more.

That evening was just like any other. I’d have probably called my friends, making plans to meet over the weekend. I’d have probably watched TV, including that now infamous weather report by Michael Fish in which he said: “Earlier on today, apparently, a woman rang the BBC and said she heard there was a hurricane on the way. Well, if you’re watching, don’t worry, there isn’t!”.

And then I’d have gone to bed as normal. Amazingly, given what went on to happen outside, my family and I slept pretty well that night.

That evening was just like any other. I’d have probably called my friends, making plans to meet over the weekend. I’d have probably watched TV, including that now infamous weather report by Michael Fish

And then I’d have gone to bed as normal. Amazingly, given what went on to happen outside, my family and I slept pretty well that night.

Credit: Liz Jeffery – Memories Of Faversham

Early morning

At 5.30am my dad’s alarm clock went off as usual for work. But he only had to look out of the window to see something wasn’t right, and that it would be far too windy to cycle his normal route from Bramley Avenue to his job at BOC Transhield in Oare. 

As he made his way by foot through our estate, he met the milkman on his rounds – and they chatted about how they must be mad working on such a morning. 

Dad says that as he walked along the A2, it felt like trees were falling down all around him. He remembers watching a huge tree fall through the back of a house, its root ball almost as big as the property itself.

Turning the corner down into The Mall, he had roof tiles speeding past his head. Not surprisingly, at this point he decided to turn back for home!

Credit: Liz Jeffery – Memories Of Faversham

Waking up to scenes of devastation

When I woke up, along with the rest of my family, we tried to take stock of what had happened overnight.

Alongside feeling pretty excited about being off school that day, I noticed that our house was one of the lucky ones: the storm had taken off a few roof tiles but had otherwise untouched it.

But out in the garden, the fence was down – as were everyone else’s fences in our road. In fact, standing in the garden we had a clear view to the A2 in one direction, and the railway line in the other.

I also noticed the large leylandii hedge that had stood behind our house. The wind had lifted each individual tree up by its roots and hurled them at least 10m away.

Amazingly, our neighbour’s avary with its precious bird collection had made it through the night – something that our cat must have been disappointed about as it had spent the night on top of it.

Credit: Flickriver.com/ealonian56

Cleaning up Faversham

Venturing out of our street to explore the town in the days afterwards, I noticed the devastation everywhere and it seemed like nowhere was left untouched. It was obvious that the town would face a huge clean up operation in the days and weeks to come.

Walls and fencing were down. Some roofs had no tiles left, and chimneys had collapsed. Windows were broken and so many cars damaged.

The fair they’d been setting up in the Rec for that weekend had ended up in the tennis court area – caravans and all. It was a miracle no one was killed during what must have been a terrifying night.

It was a miracle no one was killed during what must have been a terrifying night.

Credit: Flickriver.com/Ealonian56

Trees, trees everywhere

And of course, there were trees lying everywhere – trees blown down or uprooted everywhere from the small residential streets to the Rec. The most important collection of trees locally – the National Fruit Collection at Brogdale – didn’t escape the devastation, either.

Some fruit trees were blown over, and others ripped from the ground. Although the team at Brogdale were able to pull many back into an upright position, the only way to save some precious varieties was by propagation (growing new plants from a branch or seed). Local records show that it was thanks to specialist expertise that these varieties survived – and Brogdale is still one of the largest fruit collections in the world. 

Faversham community spirit

At home, we had no electricity for several days, and the phone lines were down for a week. Even my school was closed for a few weeks as the gym roof had blown off!

The devastation in the town had caused so much suffering, and it must have been hard for so many local residents – as elsewhere around the south of England and north of France.

Yet as a child with no responsibility, I have to admit I felt such freedom. We had huge fun running through each others’ back gardens, almost like we had a big private park to play in all day. It was a sad day when the adults started putting the fences back up and our playground had gone.

And there was real community spirit, too. We all had a reason to talk to strangers, everyone had a story to tell and everyone in the town offered a helping hand.  

And there was real community spirit, too. We all had a reason to talk to strangers, everyone had a story to tell and everyone in the town offered a helping hand.  

Friends helped other friends fix their cars, board up their windows and clear fallen trees from roads and driveways. The sound of chainsaws echoed around the streets all day, every day.

One neighbour had a gas cooker so cooked for everyone. We had a gas fire in our home so other neighbours without heating would come and warm up.

As we slowly rebuilt our surroundings, that sense of community carried on. And one act of community spirit bears fruit to this day. The trees lining Upper St Ann’s Road didn’t survive the storm, so one local resident replanted them.

Decades later, I can go and collect conkers from these horse chestnut trees with my own children thanks to that act of kindness. It’s the little thoughtful touches like this that makes Faversham such a special community to be part of – even in the toughest times.