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Scadubry Manor

Scadbury Manor -Chislehurst, Kent

The manor of Scadbury was once the influential heart of Chislehurst. A moated house existed here from the Middle Ages and this was substantially rebuilt in the Tudor period. A mansion was built on the island and a gatehouse and walled garden all in brick with cobbled courtyards. The most famous residents were the Walsingham's originating from Norfolk. Sir Edmund was responsible for prisoners at the Tower Of London including Sir Thomas Moore, Thomas Cromwell and Anne Boleyn. Thomas Walsingham IV was knighted here by Elizabeth I and was a patron of the poet Christopher Marlow who was arrested here for blasphemy.(1)

Walsingham's tomb in Chislehurst church was opened in the search for manuscripts alleged to corroborate the view that Marlow was Shakespeare. Only sand was found in the tomb and the vault underneath was found to be empty. The mystery goes on.(2)

 

 

The buildings on the moat were pulled down during the ownership of Thomas Townshend (1710-1780) and the family took up residence in Frognal which is now Queen Mary's Hospital. A Victorian house was later built in the grounds but this burned down in the 1970's. A nearby Tudor building was dismantled and rebuilt on the island in 1936. The present substantial features of chimney, pillars and stair case were built at this time on the site of the original building inside the re-build. This in turn was taken down in 1987 and is now at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum in Sussex.(1)

Information above taken from -
(1) Scadbury Manor by S.M. Archer for Orpington and District Archaeological Society 1985.
(2) Lookout Jan 2006 St. Nicholas Church Chislehurst 2006.

There are no publicly available accounts of paranormal activity at Scadbury although an account from the owners of the farm and stables bordering the site was of interest. Obtained from the witness this detailed how one night prior to horses being stabled at the farm the sound of horses was heard and the sound of their hooves clattering on a cobbled surface was heard.

It can be stated that the old driveway approach through the gatehouse and up to the drawbridge of the manor house was, and remains cobbled in intricate designs. These have only been unearthed recently and their excavation continues.

The public park and manor site are owned by Bromley Council . The park being open to the public but access to the site of the manor is strictly controlled by Orpington and District Archaeological Society . Ghost Connections are grateful for the support both of the above in facilitating our investigation.

 

         

 

Thomas Walsingham's Tomb at St. Nicholas Church, Chislehurst.

 

Remains of Scarbury

The Investigation

Apparatus

Video camera-
Sony DCR HC-24E with night vision and Sony HVL-IRM IR light
Sony DCR-HC30E with night vision and Sony HVL- IRM IR light
Sony DCR-HC19 with night vision and Sony HVL- IRM IR light
Samsung VP-D351 with night vision and Sony HVL-IRM IR light

Digital Camera-
Fuji Fine Pix S5000
Fuji Fine Pix S5500
Fuji Fine Pix S5500
Nikon Coolpix 3100

Voice recorder -
Olympus VN-2100PC
Olympus DM20

Thermometer-
Calibrated thermometer with probe

Environment meter

Team:

Kim
Paddy
Ian
Dave

Guests:

Cilla
Alan


Method:

Using visual and scientific methods combined with spiritual information investigate the background to alleged paranormal phenomena at this venue.

 

Investigation:

A plan of the site is included in Appendix A.

The early plan was to conduct an investigation on the island site of the house initially followed by a position on the drive way between the raised garden areas and then further depending upon results. For the previous few hours it had rained and the undergrowth and grass was particularly damp and water would be present in the trees surrounding the island.

As the team approach the island a red/brown furred animal is sighted running from them and over a mound next to the moat. It appears larger than a fox and is noted. It appeared well covered and in good health.

During the initial 'walkabout' Dave notices a distinct smell as he enters the hall from the south door. He likens this smell to that of something being heated. It is not a fire or burning smell and neither is it the smell of cooking. It is momentary and once mentioned is no longer present.

Whilst there are few trees worthy of note on the island, only the north side of the site is free of woodland which is present surrounding the site. It was noted that light pollution from the north and north east enabled us to see sufficiently in the dark to be able to read and write. A small number of yellow street lights could be seen to the north east. The moon was visible through light cloud cover and also illuminated the site. The frequent passing of passenger airliners and light commuter jets for the first period of the investigation causing noise and lights at low level was noted. Being within a wooded area noise sources would be difficult to identify with any clarity but Ghost Connections have sufficient knowledge of natural sounds that most of these would be taken into account.

The team first located within the area of the Tudor Hall which was believed to have been preceded by the mediaeval manor house. This area was chosen because of its age, ease of access and centrality. The site is constantly under excavation and also is overgrown by an amount of vegetation making access to some areas dangerous particularly in the dark. From this vantage point we could all be present and could observe the whole of the island site. A limited amount of movement around the island could facilitate further investigation if required.

The reconstructed fireplace shown would serve as a point to place a trigger object for the duration of our stay on the island. This was chosen as it was likely to have been the focus of social life during the inhabited period of the manor and as it was one of few totally flat surfaces available. It was also sheltered from the natural elements of wind, rain, and natural and artificial light. This would be filmed throughout. Electro Magnetic Field read O at the point of setting up this experiment and remained so throughout.

Motion sensors were set up in two locations: The doorway to the south near to the modern staircase and also half way up the staircase itself.

The temperature was noted at 10.1 deg. C and there was a very light breeze. This was not enough to cause tree movement but sufficient to aid the dripping of water from them which would continue for most of the night and would be taken into account. The environment meter registered 15.3deg. C so was not used further.

A noise of movement was heard by Dave from the south and is shortly repeated.

Ian has sense of movement from behind the fireplace outside the bounds of the main building.

The team would site themselves at various points around the hall area. On two occasions a horse was heard to whinny from the area of the stable yard just off site.

Paddy heard sounds behind him (north of the hall).

Kim has a feeling of dancing and believes this may be from previous events within this area.

It is commented upon that although there is next to no breeze there seems to be an inordinate amount of rainwater falling from the trees 20 feet away across the moat. This is almost sufficient to be thought of as rain falling however there is none.

A human like whistle was heard.

A buzzing / hissing noise was heard from the area of the current access across the moat.


Paddy noted a sense of deception although why and what it related to did not become clear.

Paddy noted a 'wild brooding energy' from the area of the current access across the moat.

Natural fox 'screams' were followed by the sound of a Moorhen being disturbed somewhere on the east side of the moat.

Paddy senses an energy behind him still.

Further sounds of movement from the south side are heard.

Whilst not conversing about what they were sensing all the team would, within a 5 minute period focus their attention to the area of the Tudor gateway across the moat with sightings of dark figures moving about in the area.

Several light flashes are reported in the above area also.

Temperature in the fireplace is measured at 10.4deg.

The temperature at this point would also be sensed to have dropped although when measured was 10.3deg.

Dave sees a grey hound dog similar to a deer or wolf hound which continues to walk along the east side of the hall for some time. It is seen to glance at the team from time to time. He will be present for about 15 minutes.

Ian notes feeling cold by the fireplace.

Kim feels that someone is walking among the team and senses a grey dog.

Native American Indian noises were heard.

Cilla noted shadows and flashing lights from the corner of her eye at this time.

At the conclusion of this part of the investigation it was 10.4 deg C. and was noted to have risen quite quickly and then remained stable. The team were present here for 1 hour and 10mins.

After a break and discussion the team continue their investigation in the area of the Tudor gateway sitting between the bunker and the brick wall of the raised garden.

Cilla and Alan meanwhile would sit just outside the gateway and observe the team and the area.

The team conduct a séance in this area.

A couple of noises of movement are heard from undergrowth near the team and the gateway.

Further noises of water dripping amongst trees near the WW II bunker opposite the walled garden are heard. In between these the distinct sound of foot falls are heard in this area.

Alan would obtain an image of children running around the area of the walled garden.

Ian saw shadows at the far end of the driveway. He also saw a large dog sniffing along the wall – described as a large dog of wolfhound type.

Ian has a feeling of not being alone and being watched from the gateway entrance.

The team consider a break is in order before re-attempting the same method.

Upon recommencing the investigation the team are aware again of the large number of insects about in this area. Some of these are mosquito's and do distract from the purpose at hand due to biting the team!

Following a further break the team locate to a point between the end of the straight section of drive and the gatehouse.

A further séance experiment takes place here.

During this time various sounds that appear out of place are noted including those described as stones being thrown against trees from the west of the team in the woods.

Ian and Alan both comment on a voice saying 'Come on' from the area of the woods on the far south east side of the island. This is also heard by Cilla.

Alan later recounts how he heard a few bars of 1920's/30's gramophone music being played.

         
         
Great Hall Fireplace
         
Trigger Object in Fireplace
         
 
         
         
   

 

 

 

 
Results
    As explained earlier the previous rainfall would render investigation into noise phenomena difficult. This would also mean that any video and photographic anomalies would need careful scrutiny to support any claims that what was seen was not due to natural causes. Similarly sound recordings would need to be scrutinised in the same fashion.

As suspected an amount of natural phenomena was encountered including moisture droplets reflecting light on photographs and a number of insects particularly appearing on the video footage. An example of a still of the latter is shown below. A clip of this footage will appear on the site in due course to illustrate the appearance of insects under night vision conditions which may, without careful consideration, be construed as light anomalies.

   

 

 

 

Still from video footage showing illuminated insect.
 
Still from video footage with insect ringed.
 
       
Aside from the above the following results of this investigation were noted-

Other sources are more eligible to deal with cryptozoology sightings and we cannot be certain of what we saw. This creature may well have been a large fox but it was in remarkably good condition. We will not claim a crypto sighting in this instance but it is noted here for completeness.

The smell of a heated source by Dave during the 'walkabout' is of interest. The team were not sufficiently near the kitchen area to be able to suggest this was the source. A natural likeness for the smell could not be identified in order to isolate a possible source yet only one person smelt it. Without a source it is not possible to explain this further unfortunately.


The sounds of dripping water have been mentioned and other than these the sounds of foot falls as distinct sounds and the appearance of no persons is of interest. We cannot account for these.

Sounds of movement are also difficult to identify although those heard near the team whilst by the Tudor Gateway were found to be made by a frog in the undergrowth. Those heard further away may well have been due to larger creatures within the woods and the screams of foxes and sounds of disturbed waterfowl would indicate the presence of foxes during the investigation. This does not however explain sounds of movement within clear line of sight of the team whilst on the island.

Whilst we cannot say with certainty that there were no other persons around, the outside of the site being public access, we can rule out other persons being on the island or the area we were investigating. Sounds such as human whistles are possibly due to others but unlikely. Sounds of Native American Indian noises are certainly harder to explain. Its is an outside possibility that another person was making these noises but we consider it unlikely. Would this be a memory of a previous event when the hall was re-erected?

Would the same memory be responsible for the thoughts of dancing in the hall area or was this pure suggestibility? On its own we may believe the latter but instances of psychic projection of historical events (also known as Stone Tape Theory) are previously documented so was this a replay of time?

The trigger object was found not to have moved.

Of interest are two different team members commentary on the dog on the island. Independently they described the same thing. It is also the same type, size and colour described by Ian later. Whilst this could be explained by auto suggestion it is still worthy of note. Was there a dog of this description keeping an eye on us that night?

The buzzing and hissing type noise could not be located and cannot be explained. Electrical sources can be ruled out as there is no power to the island.

The light flashes commented on were possibly due to our camera flashes although when commented on further photographs were taken from the same positions and the flashes were not evident. No torches were being used during the times of these sightings and again no other persons could have gained access to this area. They remain unexplained although the absence of a light source being identified makes explanation difficult. Similarly the sightings of figures or shadows in the same areas may, or may not be coincidental. This phenomena may be a trick of the light or a case of the mind seeing something which is not there. It is however unlikely that at a similar time all persons would report the sightings.

Alan's image of children playing on the tennis court was a singular sighting and not reported until after conclusion of the investigation. This may again be imaginative mind influenced phenomena although the previous usage of this area as a tennis court cannot rule out the possibility this was actually seen. It is of interest because it is not a repetition of circumstances reported by other team members so may have been an actual sighting of paranormal nature or another instance of the Stone Tape Theory. A further investigation may yield more information.


The sounds at the last vigil are of interest. No other persons were with us and this source for stones being thrown at trees can be discounted. None were seen with the naked eye or on video. The sound is our description of what we liken the sound to be. It was unlike anything else heard during the night. This does not preclude the fact that stones were in fact thrown by some source. There were small stones, flints and brick around where excavation is being done nearby but if any were thrown we cannot offer any explanation for them. Again further investigation may yield some more detail and possible causes.

Sounds of shouts of 'Come on' cannot be identified although, again, persons nearby cannot be ruled out but is unlikely at this time of night.

Sounds of 1920's/30's gramophone music cannot be explained. This is unlikely due to the hour of the night and very few houses nearby. Again, Stone Tape Theory is a possible explanation from when the hall was being used on the site. The possible source cannot be identified.

Temperature increases as noted were of interest but are not considered substantial enough to be commented on in regard to any possible paranormal source.

During our stay a certain amount of other information was forthcoming to the team of a clairvoyant nature. As Ghost Connections conducts scientifically based investigations we do not publish such observations, however, this information is held on a separate database and may prove interesting when compared to other peoples experiences. Should you wish to discuss this information please email us

Camcorder footage, still photographs and voice recorders were later examined and nothing of note was found.

   
   
   
           
Driveway unearthed in recent excavations
Conclusions
A very interesting night which produced many questions for the team. Whilst some of what was noted can be readily explained, some other events cannot. This has given us food for thought. Is Scadbury haunted by the previous residents or were our imaginations fired by the venue and its history? It is difficult to tell from what we have found on our first visit.
Thanks
Ghost Connections would like to thank Cilla and Alan for their interest and hospitality to enable our investigation to take place, Michael and Janet for their historical knowledge and time given during our daylight visit, Orpington and District Archaeological Society, and Bromley Council for allowing us exclusive access to conduct our investigation.

 

 

 

 

 

Points referred to in main text are:

Original site of hall – B on above plan
Tudor Gateway – shown between F and J
Driveway running along N side of wall between F and J
Gatehouse – J
Walled Garden / Tennis Court - G

 

Appendix A

 
Plan reproduced by kind permission of Orpington and District Archaeological Society
 
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25th May 2007

2004/2007 Ghost Connections UK