the crown hotel at everleigh
On Saturday, 17th March 2012, Twilight Shadows Paranormal conducted a paranormal investigation at The Crown Hotel at Everleigh.
The Crown Hotel is a beautiful, old building which was formally the Dower House. It is thought that it was converted to a hotel around the date 1790. On 9th January 1792, the following was written in the Salisbury and Winchester Journal, "Last Tuesday se'nnight three men met at the Crown Inn, Everley, and for a trifling wager, ate 6o red herrings, with three half-gallon loaves, and drank six gallons of beer." It is thought that the beer would have been brewed on the premises.
William Cobbett, a rather outspoken and radical man for his time, stayed at the inn on 27th August 1826 and subsequently wrote "This inn is one of the nicest, and in summer one of the pleasantest in England: for I think that my experience in this way will justify me in speaking thus positively. The house is large, the stables good, the landlord a farmer also, and therefore no cribbing your horses in hay or straw, and yourself in eggs and cream. The garden which adjoins the south side of the house is large, of a good shape, consists of well disposed clumps of shrubs and flowers, and of short grass very neatly kept. In the lower part of the garden there are high trees, and amongst these, the tulip tree and the live oak. Beyond the garden is a large clump of lofty sycamores and in these a most populous rookery. This is real down-country. Here you have miles and miles square without a tree, hedge or bush. It is a country of greensward. It is the most famous place in all England for coursing."
The famous archaeologist, Sir Richard Colt Hoare also stayed at The Crown Hotel during the 1800’s and expressed his view by writing, "A good site on the verge of very fine down, and from its tranquillity and retirement, most admirably suited to the studies of an antiquary."
The Crown Hotel also had a rather interesting character who utilised the inn as a courthouse. The infamous Judge Jeffreys who was such a brutal judge, he became known as Hanging Judge Jeffreys during the Bloody Assizes which were a series of trials starting in Winchester on 25th August 1685. He sentenced 200 people to hanging and transported 800 people to the West Indies. His trials were held at several locations including The Crown Hotel. He showed no mercy for age, young or old.
Judge Jeffreys who attended numerous hangings, is thought to be haunting many west country locations, including his own home at Walton on Thames. It is said that his ghost visits the place of where a great house once stood in Lyme Regis, he haunts a house in Lydford, Devon and another house in Dorchester town centre. The sounds of his victims choking at the gallows are said to be heard on quiet nights in Bath Street and near to Gore Hedge in Frome.
Many of the Twilight Shadows Paranormal team have researched Judge Jeffreys and we were very excited to be given the chance to investigate The Crown Hotel which contains the very courtroom where he meted out his terrible punishments.
Modernisation of ‘The Crown Hotel’ has by no means destroyed its ‘Olde Worlde’ character and as the team entered the hotel, we could feel the history seeping out from its walls. We were very excited about investigating this lovely old building and we hoped that its ghosts would make contact with us.
We split into four groups.
My group started the investigation in the courtroom. Although it is now used as a dining room, if you sit facing the door it really does still feel like a small courtroom. I sat where I thought that Judge Jeffreys would sit during his trials. Dan said “So the accused would be dragged in here onto this spot, chucked down onto their knees and probably beg for their life.” Dan said “I can feel the pure terror of this room. Hanging Judge Jeffreys and his victims have left an imprint.” We were all talking about this and many of us could feel something which we could only describe as misery and impending death. (Later when reviewing the footage, a bright orb travelled past Dan as he was talking about the Judge.) We discussed what the people may be tried for. Dan said “Probably for minor things, such as stealing sheep for food, witchcraft and getting rid of people for political purposes.” The misery seemed to seep out of the walls and we sat quietly until eventually the atmosphere became flat. Suddenly Christina and her team joined us. They had started investigating the cellar. Christina said that she could not stay inside the cellar as it was too foreboding. Also something had tugged at her hair and then she felt something vibrate against her ear. She seemed really afraid and we decided that her team would merge with ours.
Next we decided to go down to the cellar. We entered via the tunnel. We talked about how terrible the conditions would have been down here. The prisoners awaiting trial would have really suffered. It was dark, dank, cold and small. A couple of us could feel the presence of an elderly man in there. He was just sitting on the floor and I’m not sure he registered our presence. I ‘called out’ and Debbie said that she heard something in the tunnel. Debbie ‘called out.’ Christina heard footsteps. Debbie said that she suddenly felt very hot. We chatted about Judge Jeffreys for a while. We had been told that he lived at The Crown for a short time. Other than that, he visited the hotel once a week. The atmosphere seemed to go flat in the cellar so we decided to move on to another part of the building.
As we were standing on the landing, Christina shuddered and said “It would be very easy to fall over this railing and down the stairs.” Dawn then told us that the Lady of the Manor (the manor house was nearby) had fallen over this banister and broken her neck. It was felt by many people that she had been pushed. We had been told that footsteps have been heard on this landing and people have felt breaths upon their faces. We didn’t experience either of this ghostly phenomenon.
A married man and a married woman were having an affair with each other and they had met up in Room 1 to be together. This went on for many years and it is thought that their presence has been felt within this room long after their physical deaths. We ‘called out’ in this room for a considerable time but nothing of a paranormal nature was experienced. Dan and Tracy had booked this room for the night. It felt quite comfortable and not scary at all.
The attic contained two rooms and we assembled inside the second room, leaving the door open so that we could see and hear anything that may happen within the first room. I started to ‘call out.’ Christina and Dan were taking photographs and suddenly Tracy said that she saw a figure standing near to her. She knew that it was not a team member. As the next camera flash lit the room, Tracy said “It’s gone now.”
I ‘called out’ again but got no response. There have been reports of a face being seen from the attic window when it is known that there is nobody up there. We wondered who this was. I asked any spirits that may linger in this room to do something for us. Debbie asked for ‘them’ to do something significant to us or even one of our other groups in the building. Something that would make them contact us by radio to tell us. (This did not happen).
Christina said that she had suddenly got a pain in her head. Debbie called upon the Lady of the Manor and asked her to show herself to us, or to move something like the bedcovers or the curtains. Christina said that the pain in her head was worse when she looked in a particular direction. I ‘called out’ again, asking for any spirit activity. The atmosphere in the attic felt flat so we decided to move back to Judge Jeffreys courtroom.
I ‘called out’ to the spirits of Hanging Judge Jeffreys and any of his victims who may want to make contact with us. Christina said that she felt very depressed in this room. Debbie had a feeling of dread and she said that she had goose-bumps. We all felt a presence. Richard said “The atmosphere has changed. Something’s coming.” I ‘called out’ again. The presence that we felt was one of authority and we could tell that it was not a prisoner. Christina said that she had felt that she was picking up on the fear of a prisoner but that was now fading.
Most of us were assembled around a table and we felt the table move. Matt called to us on the radio and he asked if we had called his group. We had not called anyone and the radio was in my coat pocket, on the other side of the room with nobody near to it.
The table started to move again and there was a small tap in the centre. I asked if the tapping could be louder.
Jacky, Dave, Loretta, Matt and Sharon joined us. Matt told us that something had been thrown at them previously in this room. We assembled around the table again and it started to shake. Melody told us that when she had been in this room earlier with Louisa, the table had been really shaking. It shuddered a little as she told us this.
We talked about Alice Lisle who Judge Jeffreys sentenced after she agreed to shelter John Hickes (who was a well-known nonconformist minister) and Richard Nelthorpe who was a supporter of the Duke of Monmouth. The two men spent the night at Moyles Court and were arrested the following morning. Alice Lisle initially denied the presence of Hickes and Nelthorpe but she was subsequently charged with harbouring traitors. Judge Jeffreys tried Alice at the opening of the Bloody Assizes in Winchester. The jury found her guilty and she was sentenced to be burned. However, James II changed the sentence from burning to beheading due to her social status. Alice Lisle was publicly executed in the Winchester market-place on 2nd September 1685.
As we were talking about Alice Lisle, the table started shaking and knocking. Dan said that he was experiencing a sensation like electricity. He told us “It’s like 100 volts going through me!” There was a knock on the table and then it moved. Daniel said that Alice Lisle’s ghost is seen in many places. As he said this, we all heard knocking within the room. Most of us became aware of a cold breeze which seemed to be blowing around us. There was more knocking and the table moved slightly. The breeze was noticed by everyone and it seemed to blowing around our legs.
There was a feeling of impatience within the room. There were three raps on the table. I asked for another rap but there was silence. I thought that the spirit was feeling irritated with us. The breeze became stronger and Dan said that he could feel the electricity again.
Matt joined the table and told us that while he was sitting away from the rest of us, he had been listening to whispering in his ear. As usual when whispering is heard, it could not be deciphered. While standing at the table with us, Matt could feel the electricity that Dan was experiencing. The women standing around the table could not feel it.
I started to smell a woody fragrance. Louisa said that she had smelt coal earlier. There was no coal in the room but plenty of wood. But the woody smell was as if someone had just tried to light a fire.
All was quiet for a little while and then Dan exclaimed, “He’s back! I can feel him on my arms and my back!” Louisa said that she felt as if she was wearing a wig which made us laugh. She said “It’s not funny. My head is really itching!” We wondered if Judge Jeffreys wig had made him itch. Matt said, “Someone is talking again, into my left ear.” The atmosphere had an ‘annoyed’ feeling. The breeze was really building up.
Dan asked us, “Are you not getting this electricity?” Tracy said “I’ve got pins and needles.” Although the breeze continued, the room was warm. I ‘called out’ again. I felt as if something was underneath the table. It was quite unpleasant. Suddenly, we heard a whistle. We had all been talking quietly amongst ourselves but the whistle got our attention. The table started to move. We discussed how life was during the time of Judge Jeffreys existence and information that we had discovered about his private life during our research. We all heard a big knock. Dan and Matt were still tingling with the feeling of electricity. Dan said that he felt that one significant male presence was gaining strength. I saw a dark figure behind Matt. Melody started to feel nauseous. Dan said “We’re winding him up now, I can feel his annoyance.” The two boys were really starting to be affected by this spirit but apart from Melody feeling a little sick, the girls were not adversely affected. Dan said, “I can feel him standing right behind me.” We tried to call to the Lady of the Manor. I instantly felt a presence standing close behind me. Dan said, “He’s a tall man.”
FUNCTION ROOM/CELLAR BAR
The team started to chat about the little girl who is said to haunt this area of the building. They had previously set up some toys as trigger objects. (At the end of our investigation, the trigger objects had not moved). Jacky ‘called out.’ She said that she could see someone, not a little girl but an older child. Matt agreed and he said that he had seen a shadow move in the room earlier when he had been in the other room.
Dave said that he could hear footsteps and a sound like a ball when it bounces on the floor. Matt was wandering around the area and as he turned a corner, he said that he saw a figure of a man, a shadow figure. Matt said that it was ‘Dave-sized.’
Jacky ‘called out’ again, asking the spirits to move the trigger objects. She then called to all the ghosts/spirits who were associated with the hotel and the surrounding area. Matt said “My hair is standing on end.” Although Matt was filming, he saw a light anomaly with his eyes, not on camera. Although he tried, he could not work out what had caused it. Loretta said that she could hear whispering which sounded like a child. Loretta felt like the child was hiding.
Jacky ‘called out.’ She said “So Hanging Judge Jeffreys, this was your courtroom, huh?” She told the others, “I don’t think he’s seen in here but it is thought that he does frequent this room.” They all thought that the room was cold apart from Dave who felt really hot.
Matt talked about how traumatic it would have been for prisoners having been dragged into this room and made to face Judge Jeffreys. He pictured Judge Jeffreys sitting in a big chair with a table in front of him. Jacky said that it “seemed very twisted to have prisoners waiting in the cellar to be called to Judge Jeffreys courtroom, while at the same time the building was a coaching house and people were eating, drinking and sleeping.” They sat quietly collecting their thoughts when suddenly they heard something being thrown across the room. It really made them jump. It sounded like it had been thrown from the far wall with some force. Matt went to look for it and discovered a small piece of glazed pottery. It was dirty as if it had come from outside.
Jacky ‘called out’ and as she did so, Matt saw a strange light. A loud tap was also heard. Jacky kept talking and another three taps were rapped out onto the table, appearing to respond to Jacky’s questions. Jacky said that she had pins and needles and she could feel electricity going through her. (Dan and Matt both experienced this sensation later on in the investigation inside the courtroom). There was another large rap on the table, and another. Jacky asked if the spirit could make two further taps. Two taps were heard. Jacky wondered if the spirit was male or female. All was quiet for a short while and then they heard a big thud over in the corner. A breeze started (this was also experienced later in this room by everyone).
Matt said to Jacky, You are probably sitting where Judge Jeffreys sat. Jacky quickly moved away and said, “How did he sleep at night? He must have had some conscience.” She said, “Can you imagine as the people he convicted were being hung outside, he was just having his lunch or driving off in a fancy coach.” They sat in silence for a while and the room was quiet.
Jacky said that she didn’t like the alcoves in this room. She felt worried that ‘something’ was standing inside an alcove. Loretta agreed with her. Jacky said, “Oh no, it looks like a face is materialising in that alcove, I’m sure it’s going to come striding out in a minute.” The team decided to move up into the attic.
Dave said, “As I came into this room, I heard a thump. The team were drawn to the window and talked about the ghostly woman who had been seen up there. They noticed that there was a massive handprint on the window. Dave put his hand onto it and the print was far bigger than Dave’s hand. There was also a print of a face on the window which was quite creepy.
They heard movement within the room and Jacky almost jumped out of her skin. As she was recovering from her shock, they all heard the sound of an exhaled breath. Dave and Matt said, “Did you hear that?” Jacky said, “I was hoping that it was one of you. Dave said that he had been looking at Matt from an angle and said that his face looked as if another face had been superimposed upon it. Dave then saw a shadowy figure move in the corner. They sat for a while and all was quiet so they came downstairs to join everyone back in the Courtroom.
Eventually, the atmosphere dipped and everything became quiet so we decided to finish our investigation. I would like to thank Cyril and Dawn for allowing us to investigate this lovely building and a big thank you also, to team member Melody for organising this investigation.
Written by: Maria Williams
Dan and I had booked a room overnight at the hotel. When everyone else from the team had left, we went upstairs to bed. Earlier in the evening I had felt happy in this room, even when we held a vigil in there with the team. But when everyone had left, the room felt very strange, like there was someone else in there with us.
I felt very odd. I did not want to have a bath or get changed for bed as I just felt that we were being watched. It would have been like bathing in public, so I quickly threw on my pyjamas and jumped under the covers. We left the light on which is something we never do as Daniel cannot sleep with a light on. But on this occasion, he felt that he did not want to be in that room with just us, in the darkness.
Daniel did fall asleep fairly quickly but I did not. I continued to feel as if I was being watched and as I lay there I noticed the light which was on a dimmer switch, just kept getter brighter then dimming again on its own without anyone touching it. I did sleep a little although I kept on waking up all night long.
At about 06.00 in the morning I was still watching the light and it grew dimmer and dimmer until it went out completely. I thought that maybe the bulb had blown so I got out of bed to check, only to find that the dimmer switch had been turned right down. Daniel was asleep and I had not touched it all night. I then got up as I could not stay in bed any longer as I still felt we were being watched and the room just felt eerie.
I woke Daniel and told him how I had felt all night and what had happened with the lights. Daniel said that I was acting out of character and although he had felt he could not sleep there in the dark he had not picked up on anything else, other than me acting strangely. We then checked out early and headed home.
Later that day, we were looking through the photos that we had taken during the evening and we noticed that on many of them, there are a lot of orbs. I know we can never be sure if they are dust etc. but there is about three or four photos where the orbs look different. They appear deeper and more pronounced. There are also two shots of the court room door taken seconds apart. One is a clear shot the other has a black shadow with a big orb in the middle on it.
Written by Tracy Hughes.