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
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…