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The Priests House - West Hoathly, Sussex

13th March 2010

 

West Hoathly is a rural village perched 500 feet above sea level on the borders of the Ashdown Forest in Sussex. Its main street contains many age old buildings of stone, brick and wattle and daub construction.

The Priest House is of timber and wattle and daub construction with unusual stone flagged roof. It is believed to date from 1414 when Lewes Priory, who owned the manor, wished to exercise more control over the estate here. From 1524 the leasehold was in the hands of John Browne and his descendants and with the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII the rents for the cottage went to Thomas Cromwell and then Anne Of Cleves. John's son Thomas bought the freehold in 1560.

It went through two periods of neglect after this and by 1900 was effectively a ruin. Purchased in 1905 by John Godwin King it was restored and opened to the public in 1908 as a museum with residence at one end for a custodian.

It was presented to the Sussex Archaeological Society in 1935 and contains locally and nationally important exhibits specific to the house itself and the local area.

It is currently in the care of Antony Smith who kindly allowed us to conduct an investigation in this prestigious old building.

Background

No information was available in regard to alleged paranormal events and it appeared that nothing untoward had occurred during Antony Smith's tenure as custodian over 22 years.

It has been investigated by other researchers over the last few years although the described events in those reports are regarded as events as experienced by researchers and not by reliable third party witnesses so were not relied upon for the basis of our investigation.

We would approach this venue as a 'blank canvas' utilising our time wisely and covering as much area as possible.

 

  The Investigation
  Apparatus:

Video camera-
Sony DCR HC-62 with night vision and Sony HVL-IRM IR light
Sony DCR-HC19 with night vision and Sony HVL- IRM IR light
Sony DCR/DVD-110E with night vision and Sony HVL-IRM IR light

Digital Camera-
Fuji Fine Pix S5000
Fuji Fine Pix S5500
Canon EOS 1000D
Panasonic Lumix DMC FZ-38

Voice recorder -
Olympus VN-2100PC
Olympus DM20
HNSAT DVR958


Other-
Video tapes (mini DV)

Team:

Kim
Ian
Paddy
Dave
Method:

Using visual and scientific methods combined with spiritual theory investigate the background to any occurring possible paranormal phenomena at this venue.

We decided to investigate each of the available four rooms in turn unless any other events overtook the plan.

Investigation:

Session 1 Kitchen area

The team commenced their investigation in the first room that you enter after the small hallway.
They sat separately within this area and took time to get accustomed to the noises of the building after dark. The session was recorded on audio and video.

Session 2 Lounge area

The team again sat separately within the lounge covering all doorways in view. Paddy and Ian sat nearer to each other than to Kim and Dave who were furthest apart. The session was recorded on audio and video.

Session 3 Divided Bedroom / Display area.

The team again sat separately within this bedroom although with an adjacent divided display area to cover Dave sat just within the display area. The session was recorded on audio and video.

Session 4 Bedroom area.

Having conducted the previous session in the adjacent bedroom area and able to hear all sounds within the whole of the first floor combined with the limited room available convinced the team that if anything occurred in the seperate room then it could be investigated from where we were next door. Therefore the session took the same format as the previous one.

Results
Session 1

It was noted that the only sound heard of any nature during this session was the motion of the pendulum on the clock mounted on the kitchen wall.

Ian's camcorder seemed to turn itself off without explanation. Upon turning it off and on again it resumed recording.

Both Ian and Paddy thought that the end of the pew by the fireplace on which Dave was sat looked as though there was a person stood there.

Ian saw a light source in the stairway lit through the lounge.

Nothing else of note took place.

Session 2

Again there was a loud clock within this room and the one upstairs could also be heard from this location. There was no other noise that could be put down to the building.

Part way through the session an odd noise was heard by the team somewhere between Ian and Paddy. There was nothing else in this area capable of making such a noise and both Ian and Paddy deny it was either of them. Dave described it as a sound of movement as though a creaking of a chair or similar on the wooden floor. There was some debate as to what it actually sounded like. Repetition was requested but none was forthcoming.

No further noises or events were noted.

Session 3.

With Dave sat just into the doorway of the display area a creaking sound was heard by him near to the window area of this part of the divided room. No one else in the main part of the bedroom heard this. After a short period of time the same noise occurred again.

Nothing else occurred in this location.

Session 4.

With the decision taken to go back to the same positions as in session 3 the team settled in for what would be the last session.

Nothing of note occurred during this session.

Conclusions
Session 1

Ian's camcorder has previously encountered this problem. It is intermittent and has no known cause. The camcorder will stop recording as though the tape has ended or the button has been pressed to stop recording but it was not been touched. There is no indication that anything paranormal has occurred but as it does not happen frequently or continually it is also difficult to tie down a rational cause.

Both Ian and Paddy describe an event where the end of the pew by the fireplace appeared to have a person standing next to it. The physical appearance of the end of the pew may appear in low light conditions to resemble the human form. There is no evidence to suggest that any other person was with the team or anything paranormal was sighted.

The light source seen by Ian was believed to be a passing glance at the illuminated staircase and in a momentary instance it was believed to be a unique event.


Session 2

The noise heard between Ian and Paddy could not be identified. Nothing was seen in the area and no cause is known. It was heard by Dave who was a few metres away and was picked up on Ian's camcorder footage. We still cannot identify it from the footage and it did not recur so we have no explanation as to what caused it.

Session 3

The noise heard by Dave was not, unfortunately, caught on any footage due to all recording devices being placed in the other part of the room. Due to all other members of the team being in the other part too there is no corroboration available. Dave searched the area and could not find a likely cause although the noise did not repeat itself during his investigation of the area. It was found, however, that a floorboard near the area would, if trod on, make the same noise. The noise would repeat itself later. On both occasions there can be said to have been no persons or any other visible means by which the floorboard in that area would become depressed enough to make the noise heard.

Session 4

Nothing reported.

In conclusion we encountered some unexplained phenomena in a generally quiet night. The Priest House was a comfortable place to have spent the night but with a couple of unexplained occurrences.

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 further of note was found. Some of the audible noises were found to be recorded and as such we can be certain that they were not imagined by the team.

Thanks
Ghost Connections extend their thanks to Antony Smith and the Sussex Archaeological Society for allowing access to this wonderful building.
   
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