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  G.C. Recce - Ramsgate - Dover
 

 

Ellington Park – Ramsgate

Ellington Park - 1890

Wailing and ghostly footsteps can be heard through the park on a clear night, tunnels under the house hold secrets long forgotten.

We had to take a look.

The mansion was built in the early 1600's and demolished in 1892 by Ramsgate Council. The foundations still exist and a couple of stones with dates still in place existed at the site until 2006, when sadly they were removed

According to Subterranae Brittanica a sewer pipe runs the length of the park to the harbor. It is possible to crawl along the length of the sewer pipe for a short distance towards Ellington Park and two small rooms can be reached on the south side of the tunnel, but beyond these it is too tight to progress further.

We have been unable to substantiate any claims to tunnels under the park and will update the site if any information comes to light.


A grisly story unfolds from the 1600's, details are contain in the report below by Christopher Huff who investigated the park in 1994 and is a regular contributor to the Ghost Connections forum. You can also find Chris at haunted airfields.com.

Our visit to the park was cut short due to the amount of “night life” situated around the park. This being dog walkers and teenagers in groups. Unfortunately the park is surrounded on all sides by houses and a busy road. An investigation at this site would not be plausible for several reasons. We took a stroll around the whole park, found the terrace of the mansion, took some photographs and moved onto our next destination.

Christopher Huff Investigates -

Ellington Park is the site of a former Manor House (long since gone) the grounds of which have been converted into a rather attractive rockery flowerbed upon the site of the house, a wide expanse of parkland and a modern Bowling Green.
The house was owned by one Adam Sprackling, who, in 1632 married Katherine Leukner. It was not a good match as Sprackling was a wastrel and a drunk, a gambler with a violent temper.


17th Century map of Ellington House


On December 11th, 1652, Adam Sprackling was at home in a drunken state. When his wife returned home that day he threatened to beat her, and she, frightened for her life hid in a cupboard until he left the room. Sprackling is said to have smashed the cupboard door with a pickaxe, but was interupted when a Mr. Lamming, a neighbour, visited.


At this Sprackling forgot his rage and accompanied Lamming to the kitchen and indulged in some more wine. Katherine used this opportunity to escape from the cupboard and went upstairs. Lamming was sent to fetch old Martin, who lived nearby, and the servant, Ewell, joined them in the kitchen in their drunken excess. The maid at this point took Sprackling’s daughter to a safe hiding place in the vast network of tunnels beneath the house. Legend has it that the daughter, becoming afraid of the screaming from the house above, ran towards the church but took a wrong turning, and become hopelessly lost in the cave network. Her body was never found, and local legend also has it that her ghost still haunts the tunnels beneath the park!


When Katherine came into the kitchen Sprackling began shouting once more, and picking up a knife he stabbed her in the face. She turned and ran, but just as she put her hand on the door latch to make her escape he struck with an axe and almost severed her hand off. Martin quickly got some cloth to bind up the bleeding hand, but Sprackling is said to have knocked him aside, and picking up a heavy meat cleaver he killed his wife.
While Ewell dashed off to get the Law, Sprackling attempted to put the blame onto old Martin claiming he had suffered a mental fit : Lamming at this point was too drunk to move. Sprackling killed six dogs and threw their carcasses over his wife’s body. He then smeared Martin with blood and attempted to make his escape via a trapdoor in the kitchen to the tunnels beneath the house. These tunnels had been excavated by Adam Sprackling’s men, they linked the house to the church, and were used for that Kentish past-time of smuggling.


However, Sprackling was pursued down the tunnels and into the caves beneath the park and eventually caught while hiding behind a stack of barrels in a small cave, trying to set off gunpowder! He was taken by boat to Sandwich for trial.


At the trial other people came forward to tell of the deeds he had committed. One witness told of an argument between Sprackling and John Simmons in a pub, which ended in Simmons being pinned to the wall by Sprackling’s rapier. Another witness had seen Sprackling beaten in a fist-fight with one Robert Lister, whereupon Sprackling went to a man called Corslet, and paid him to beat up Lister. Some of the Law Officers testified that they had been to investigate complaints against Sprackling, whereupon he had fired his pistols at them. Finally it emerged that in 1648, Adam Sprackling and Robert Langley had quarreled, and as Langley rode away, Sprackling had shot him in the back, thereby killing him.


At the end of the trial, the Jury took only a short time to find Adam Sprackling guilty of murder, and the judge sentenced him to death.


Refusing to see a priest before his execution, Sprackling is said to have and, put on his long flowing cloak and went to the scaffold. After the hanging, his body was put in a coffin and rowed back to Thanet. His body was carried the final distance to St. Lawrence Church for burial on a sea-weed wagon, which was the only transport available at Cliffsend.

The foundations of Ellington House


Ellington Park was bought by Ramsgate Council in 1892 and the house demolished. The foundations however still exist, and there are also a couple of stones with dates still in place (the stones saying 1647 and 1649, with a cross-key symbol).


Aerial view of the park


The tunnels apparently still exist, linking the house with Ellington stables, the church and many other places, including Pegwell Bay! The tunnels are said to adjoin the famous St. Lawrence caves, which also surface somewhere in the grounds of Ellington park, although their exact location is unknown.


Until recently there were two stones visible in the remaining foundations, with a year and cross-keys symbol. It is a sad reflection on modern society that these have been stolen.


A local story alleges that the apparition of Katherine Sprackling may be seen on the site of the house (the rockery) running from her husband.


My experiences at Ellington Park
I first learned about Ellington Park in Ramsgate in 1994, from someone called Steve (Pseudonym) who told an interesting tale about getting drunk one night with a friend John (Pseudonym) whilst lounging on the old Victorian bandstand. This rather dilapidated structure, once a fine piece of Victorian Park architecture, has been daubed with various symbols of the pseudo-occult and general illiterate graffiti scrawls.


The bandstand is an area where a second apparition is said to walk, for there is a local story about a woman who journeyed across the park only to be run down by a horse and cart at the entrance. She is usually described as hooded in dark coloured clothing, and seen walking on the path that passes the bandstand towards the Park entrance.

Ellington Park Bandstand 1901


It was after a number of pints in a local Ramsgate Pub that Steve and John purchased a number of cans of beer and made their way into Ellington Park to continue in their drinking session while sitting on the old bandstand.The Victorian Bandstand in its heyday
At what he assessed to be 12.30 am, and with his friend dozing fitfully beside him, Steve attested to me that he watched a female figure walk towards him along the path to the bandstand. She was a solid figure in a cloak and hood. Thinking it a bit odd he continued to watch as she walked past the bandstand. As she drew level with him she stopped in her journey, turned her face to him briefly, which he told me (now sweating as he remembered the encounter) was a skeletal. He said:
“She seemed to smile malevolently at me.”


Steve was very unclear in his mind exactly what the woman had done then, he was in some state as he remembered. She may have disappeared or turned away and continued along the path he didn’t remember. What he did remember was waking his friend and beating a very hasty retreat out of the park.


Steve is known to like a drink, and at the mention of the copious amount of alcohol, the author became suspicious and sceptical about the story. Thinking primarily a drunken induced hallucination in pseudo dream state, my suspicions were allayed as I watched Steve’s physical reaction as he remembered the encounter. In the act of retelling, Steve became highly agitated and began to sweat profusely when he mentioned the woman he had seen.


At first he was unwilling to go back to the park, but a conversation on the nature of the paranormal comforted him and he agreed to show me the exact locations that evening.


The first Vigil
This Vigil took place for a short time on Sat 15th January 1994 between 21.45 and 23.45, after which time Steve refused point blank to stay in the park any longer. Respecting his wishes we left at that point in time. The researchers on this occasion were myself, Steve and my good friend Paula Barwood – who like me had an interest in the paranormal.


This vigil served more as a reconnaissance than an investigation proper, although the two hours spent there rewarded us with certain hints that this was an interesting place to investigate on a future occasion. The Park, for instance was noted to have warm and cold spots, very localised areas which were remarked upon by all present at various times and discovered independantly of each other and the experiences recounted after the vigil had ended.


At the close of this visit Paula and myself agreed that this was a good location for a second visit of longer duration and plans for this were made. Steve, because of his general nervousness would not be invited to the second vigil.


The Second Vigil
The second visit to the park was made on a very sunny and warm 21st of august evening in 1995. On this occasion there were again three researchers, Myself, Paula Barwood and my good friend and long term Paranormal Investigating colleague Chester Bradshaw.


We set off to Ramsgate armed with note books, watches and torches, these were the days before high tech was affordable to the masses, or at least affordable to us. We arrived about 7:30 in the evening and strolled about for a while to get the feel and see what was happening. There were a surprising number of people about, but then the evening was warm and fine.


The initial feelings were that on the main path through the park and the grass to the trees were as though a number of spirit children playing. These left eddies of energy as they passed, very happy feelings - almost mischievous but playful. This continued for a while whenever we encountered one of their energies it was a whirling sensation of happiness - everyone on the visit felt these.


We loosely stationed ourselves at a point where we could see the bandstand and flower beds / sports courts and made ourselves comfortable. At 9:15 the mood started to change, the children had gone - in an instant - just like turning out a light. The park felt brooding.


At 21:30 a shiver went down the spine of one of my friends, remember it was a warm night and the feeling of not being wanted became much stronger.


At 21:45 we changed position and walked up to the flower beds (site of the manor house?) and it started to feel as though something was going to happen, there was an electricity in the air. Most of the people had gone from the park by now and one of my colleagues was saying things like
“ come on I don't like this, lets go and get a pint ".


At 22:00 It felt as though we were being watched, from one of the trees on the other side of the path. I went to investigate and the "feeling" retreated. This happened two more times.


At 22 :45 I had just walked from the vigil location to investigate a strange noise (twigs breaking but somehow distant and fuzzy sounding – an odd sound that I couldn’t account for) and a strange shadow. When suddenly my companions started waving frantically and beconning for me to return to them.


Upon my return, they told me that as soon as I had gone to investigate the above anomaly, a form had appeared on the path walking towards the bandstand from the far opening. This figure they both, independantly, described as being grey and misty, slight in build and an estimated 5"5 in height. This figure I was informed, had at first approached me and then simply vanished only to re-appear further down the path closer to the bandstand. They then watched as it disappeared for good.


By now the light was gone. The park was feeling oppressive, the light was going and the first drunk of the evening had made his appearance rolling drunkenly down the path asking for a light for his cigarette. It was clearly time to go.


Ellington Park has also been investigated by Marianne Taylor (of the former Paranormal Research SE group ) who wrote to me stating :
“I have also carried out a small vigil there and it is well worth a look. It is, however, not for the anyone who has had no paranormal experience before as it can get quite intense in the park and some of the spirits present aren't very friendly”

Epilogue
On Sunday, 29 January 2006, the BBC news website carried the story that Ellington Park had been sealed off overnight while forensic teams searched the area of a sexual assault, and that Kent Police were appealing to anyone who was in the Ellington Park area in the early hours of Sunday.
As can be seen, investigating at this location carries certain risks


Roman Road

This location has given us a great opportunity to investigate, therefore no information will be posted until after our investigation.

Otty Bottom Track

We did access the track and drive along it's route, however we did not make a stop at this location a and will return in a few months.

Oxney Update

During our visit to the Dover area we made a stop at Oxney Bottom. It has been recorded on our website that we do not have any future plans at this time to investigate at this location due to several contributing factors. However, having driven past the woods several times in the evening we thought we would make a brief stop to update the site of any alterations to the area.

Since our last visit in October a large set of forbidding gates have been erected at the bottom of the drive to Oxney Court. They certainly give the message from the occupiers of “ Stay Out”, we would also assume that cameras have been installed along the drive way.

We would no recommend that anyone breach this security as this show of ownership does state anyone accessing the drive is trespassing.

  Conclusions
 

Another interesting night out with numerous possibilities for the coming months.

We would like to thank Chris for allowing us to use his investigation report at Ellington Park.

   

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