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St.Marys, Eastwell, Kent

21st February 2015
 



St. Mary's Church at Eastwell has the classic 'Haunted Ruin' appearance of Gothic legend.

Steeped in history the church dates from the 14th Century and now only consists of the western walls and tower, along with the old south porch and fragments of the east and south walls.

In 1555 the burial register records the burial of Richard Plantagenet, reputed to be the surviving son of Richard III who escaped the carnage of Bosworth Field to live his life as a recluse on the Eastwell Estate.

The same century saw the opening of a vault under the south chancel that would lead to the internment of members of the Finch family. Members of the Royal Courts their splendid memorial is now removed from its plinth to the Victoria and Albert Museum along with the later 'White Lady' memorial of Emily Georgiana Countess of Winchilsea who passed in her life of tragedy as a Kleptomaniac ending early.

The church was not, as popularly recorded, destroyed by a bomb in the war, but undoubtedly weakened by the army tank maneuvers in the park combined with water soaked up by the churches chalk structure since the 40 acre lake was built next to it in the 1840's, it crumbled in 1951 with what is described as a terrible roar by a witness who saw the collapse.

 

 

  The Investigation
 
There are many reported instances of paranormal events in the area of the church and surrounding lanes including ghostly carriages seen, monks seen and strange noises. Many of these are published and verified accounts.

Ghost Connections previous visits were of interest and prompted a return visit especially in the light of a corroborated witness account sent to us since we began our studies here:

Approx time: 10.30 to 11.30pm

It was in October 2010 on a Friday I believe.

We had parked in the little car park opposite the church. The car was facing towards the church and we were sat in the car with the lights on as it was dark and we so we could see what was around us. As we were mid conversation we heard what sounded like someone running past the front of the car from the right to the left on the road. We both heard it and was looking to see if perhaps someone had run past us but there was no one there. It was so clear, and we even tested it ourselves to see if was the sound of footsteps that we heard, and the sound was pretty much exactly the same. Except the footsteps we heard we slightly heavier. 

A little while later we were outside the car talking and I decided to walk a little way down the road in the direction of the bridge over the lake when I heard what sounded like a car or a horse and cart coming fast towards me. I jumped out of the road thinking that a car was coming towards me but there was nothing there. It sounded like it was coming down the road in our direction. I turned to my friend who had heard the exact same thing like it came straight past him. We got back in the car and left pretty quickly as we were spooked out.

Yet another report of the ghostly carriage?

Apparatus:
Camcorders:
Sony DCR HC-62 with night vision and Sony HVL-IRM IR light
Sony DCR-DVD110E with night vision and Sony HVL- IRM IR light and additional emitters.

Digital Cameras:
Canon EOS550D SLR
Canon EOS1000D SLR
Fuji Fine Pix F47fd
Fuji Fine Pix S5500
Fuji Fine Pix S1600
Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-38

Voice recorder:
HNSAT DVR958
Olympus DM-7
Olympus LS-11
Olympus VN-2100PC
Olympus VN-6500PC voice recorder

Other:
Maplin 610LC Laser Temperature Recorder
Metex Laser Area Size Recorder
Trifield Natural Electro Magnetic Meter
Tripods, Torches, Video tapes (MiniDV),

Team:

Kim
Ian
Graham
Dave

Method:

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


Investigation:

This location tends to be frequented by other people for its beauty, its appearance and its remoteness. Sometimes it is difficult to contend with other visitors to achieve the best results and often it causes delays in starting or interruptions while we wait for other to clear the area.

The weather was cloudy and overcast initially but clearing as the investigation progressed. It was however bitterly cold which would limit our time at Eastwell on this occasion.

After filming the introduction a photographer and model arrived to take some photographs. Once departed we carried on with our investigation standing in the area of the old nave of the church and responding to whatever occurred.

Unusually, on this occasion, we noted how quiet the wildfowl on the lake were during our investigation with scarcely a noise from them.

Results

The investigation started slowly and very little occurred.

Gradually there was an increase in noises around us in the open ground and towards the trees that would once have surrounded the church. Some of these sounded as though they were footfalls on twigs and branches beneath the trees.

Various light anomalies were seen with the naked eye by Kim, Graham and Ian. Particularly these were noticed near the east end of the church ruins and also on the south side near the boundary wall. These all appeared like tiny pin pricks of light.

Further noises were heard from the mortuary chapel (previously the south porch). These sounded like objects being dropped onto the stone floor.

A distinct noise heard was the sound of the striking of one piece of wood against another. The team suggested this to have come from the north east corner of the churchyard where they knew there to be a 'kissing gate', a type of free swinging gate within a frame, on the boundary of the churchyard and neighbouring field to facilitate walkers progressing along the public footpath that crossed the site and field.

The team also found themselves listening to repeated faint noises some of which seemed to respond the requests in that they quickly followed the request. They sounded as though they came from the area of the west wall. It was known that previous investigations have shown this to be caused by rainwater falling from a channel high on the tower onto gravel below.

With very little else occurring, and the adverse temperature for open air investigations, the investigation was concluded shortly after these noises

Conclusions

The multitude of noises heard around the team were loud enough to have been caused by something human or large animal however nothing was seen either naturally or by torchlight when the area was explored.

The noises from the chapel are a little more difficult. The chapel is the converted south porch and has two single light windows which have no glass. There is one entrance which is gates with an iron gate. Small creatures or birds could get in but nothing else. There are no loose objects to move about within the chapel. The source was not identified for these noises. There was no debris on the floor and no signs of any masonry to have fallen from the roof within.

The wooden sound of the gate closing was distinct, the whole team agreed on the type of sound and the likely cause. When investigated, however, it was found that the gate itself is not made of wood. It is made of a light weight metal as was the frame and when allowed to close it made an altogether more metallic sound. Had we heard a sound linked to the past? Was there indeed a wooden gate at this point in the past to allow access directly from the churchyard to and from the manor on top of the hill? We may never know.

The lights seen were unexplained. There is a property immediately to the east of the church grounds and an arrival a number of lights were on both inside the property and outside. It is possible that when moving ones head around in the darkness that the fleeting glance of one of these lights through the trees could produce an illusion of light source closer and give the appearance of it to be moving. The difficulty with this as a theory is that any amount of reconstruction of events can prove negligible in identifying it due to the difficulties with trying too reproduce the same position of light, tree branches and the witnesses elevation, position and viewpoint exactly a second time. The ones seen towards the south side are a little more difficult to negate. There are no lights in this area that could have been glanced through undergrowth and mistaken for being closer. The lake is beyond the churchyard in this direction and it is possible that a light source unseen by the viewer within the church area was reflected on the surface of the water and seen at a given angle by the viewer and perceived to be closer and in a different location. Again this is almost impossible to replicate and the cause of this anomaly was not identified.

The noises from the west end, and initially perceived to have been water from the tower falling on the gravel as noted on previous investigations, were investigated by exiting the church itself and standing under the tower outside the west wall of the south aisle. Water was observed to be dripping at a reasonably constant rate as witnessed before. The sound however was different, much quieter than what had been heard and also much more frequent and at regular intervals. The team concluded that it was not the same sound and indeed would not have been heard from their initial location. This is only our belief and not necessarily fact but given our knowledge of the location we feel we are in a position to apply our knowledge and state that we actually heard something else. This does not assist with identifying the sound and it remains unexplained.

The footage captures these moments and the teams reactions. No other events were captured.

 




Given the temperature and the initial pause in the investigation, very little was achieved and we will revisit again with the intentions of staying longer. This site remains and interesting enigma given the number of times we have been and the amount of unexplained occurrences we have noted during our investigations.


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
   
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