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The Monk of Greystones and The Lady of Rose Court

Pluckley Uncovered

Greystones

‘Greystones’ is a large house on Station Road, Pluckley, built in 1863. It is typical of the local style, a solid building with ‘Dering’ windows. Sir Edward Dering (1st Baronet (1598-1644)) is believed to have escaped from the Roundheads through a narrow, curved-topped window at Surrenden Dering manor - a popular myth that led to the addition of 'Dering windows' to most, if not all, of the houses owned by the Dering family during the romantic Victorian era.

It was originally called 'Rectory Cottage' (home of the curate for St Nicholas's Church), and was renamed ‘Greystones’ in 1924. As a document of 1572 states that Pluckley Rectory was 'in a low, unhealthy place, a great distance from the church’, it is likely that the rectory prior to this was nearer the area of the train station a further mile down the road.


Greystones
  Rose Court

‘Rose Court’ is a Grade 2 listed, early C19th, building nearby, shown on the 1871 OS map as ‘Rose Cottage’. Not much else is known about this residence, which also displays the ‘Dering’ windows so popular with the Victorians.


Rose Court
The Story

Greystones is said to be haunted by the shade of a reclusive cleric - the house’s former owner who is more often referred to as ‘The Monk’. Residents of Greystones as far back as 1954, and up to present day have denied encountering any paranormal activity there, however local legend suggests he is connected to the phantom lady supposedly haunting Rose Court.

Rose Court is supposed to be haunted by the female spirit of a former owner or resident.

They are most commonly reported to have lived in Tudor times, although whether there was a building on either site at that time or not is unknown. The female spirit has become known as the Tudor Lady.

It is variously reported that the Monk and the Tudor Lady were friends, lovers, or in a love triangle (depending on the ‘source’).

He is said to have died ‘of a broken heart’, and she by suicide, having drunk a fatal cocktail distilled from the juices of ivy and other poisonous berries. It is said that she died by a window, looking towards Greystones, although yet again no sources for this information are given, and the fact that neither house existed at the time serves only to spoil a good ghost story!

The Sightings


The ghost of the monk was last seen in 1971 by an unknown couple or in 1989 by an American journalist, also unidentified, who glimpsed the unmistakable brown-robed figure drifting behind the house.

The Tudor Lady is identified as a mistress of a member of the Dering family (or a member of the family in a different account) and can be heard calling for her two dogs. She is said to haunt both house and gardens between 1600 and 1700 hours, which is when she is supposed to have died. This is also the time that the dogs in the nearby hunting kennels were fed and when the kennels moved, the ghost and dogs weren't heard again! It should be noted that no kennels are marked on any map from 1871 onwards, although it cannot be ruled out, so this evidence is just a shaky as they rest.

Although we have been unable to find any reported instances of the Tudor Lady being seen, apparently locals report that her voice is often heard summoning her dogs as she walks between the two homes. No ‘locals’ are identified however, and local historian Jackie Grebby was unable to shed any further light on who they may be for us. Conveniently, it is said that she has not been heard for many years.


Exploring the Possibilties

There are absolutely no facts underpinning either of these two stories. In fact there doesn't even appear to be any witnesses.

The village was further south during Tudor times, when the events originating these stories are said to have happened, then it seems unlikely at best that there were dwellings on the sites of the current C19th buildings. It is therefore unlikely that the stories originated prior to the buildings.

It is also unlikely that the stories started during the Victorian era when such spiritualist topics were popular, as the buildings would both have been relatively new, with many locals able to remember their construction.

Conclusions

It would therefore be logical to propose that these stories came into being around the time that Desmond Carrington, who once lived in Pluckley, admitted to "concocting a whole string of them" for an article featured in the TV times written by journalist Bill Evans in the 1950's. Or perhaps when Pluckley's ghosts first appeared in print in 1955 when Frederick Sanders wrote "Pluckley Was My Playground", where the Gypsy woman and Highwayman were mentioned.

With such shaky, conflicting, or plain non-existent evidence, we are left with little choice but to conclude that these two ghosts are a product of the C20th rumour mill, made up to bolster the numbers of Pluckley's ghostly inhabitants.

Source
Greystones image - Patrick Noble Ghost Connections
Rose Court image - http://www.midnight-fire.net/shadows/pluckleytales.html
     
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