There were two reasons which prompted us to investigate these specific churchyards. I had discussed one church/churchyard (Maddington – built1179) with my colleague Mark a few times. The other church/churchyard (Rollestone – built1291) was connected with our previous investigation at Rollestone Manor. The manor was once owned by Lady Jane Seymour's family. Although the house has been refurbished extensively over time, it is said that Lady Jane Seymour used to gaze out of the window of one of the rooms, looking towards the church. It is likely that both churches may have been built on top of previous places of worship but there is no architectural evidence to support this.
We headed towards Shrewton, met Mark and headed for Maddington church.
In 1841, the
It is thought that a young girl perished in this flood and has since haunted the area, appearing in a long white dress.
One local man was working in his barn watched by his daughter when he suddenly glanced up and saw, standing only a few feet away from him, the form of a young girl in a long white costume of some kind he did not recognise. His daughter also saw the same figure at the same time and without her father saying anything, asked who the girl was – whereupon the figure suddenly and completely disappeared.
A former vicar, Rev William Barnard, used to relate that he too had seen the phantom girl in white inside the church, on several occasions. Elsewhere in the village two ladies claim to have seen the same figure glide past the window of their cottage – on two occasions.
There is a story of the girl being a novice from a former seminary that used to exist here but several witnesses claim that the girl appears to be wet. The general consensus of opinion is that she was one of the victims of the disastrous flood, and the fact that the ghostly girl in white has usually been seen in the evening ties in with the idea that she is a victim of the flood.
Maddington Manor may have once been used for training novices destined for a nearby nunnery and it is by no means impossible that the girl may have come from there, where incidentally there is another ghost: that of a crusader who is said to have been seen on many occasions ‘passing through’ the building very early in the morning.
Underwood, P. (1989) Ghosts of Wiltshire. Bossiney Books.
Seeing as we were visiting the area near to the anniversary of the flood, we hoped that that spirit girl of Maddington would make contact with us. It was a bitterly cold, frosty night and as we walked through the churchyard at Maddington and the atmosphere felt electrically charged. Hoping this was a good sign we began ‘calling out’ to the spirit of the drowned girl and also to any other spirits that may wish to contact us.
This area was extremely eerie but all was quiet for a considerable time. After a while we heard a ‘dripping’ noise close to us and we wondered if this may be the energy of the drowned girl, as she usually appears wet. We could find no rational explanation for the dripping noise and the area was frozen with frost. The dripping noise eventually ceased.
I asked Melody to whistle and asked that any spirits may copy. We all thought we heard a small whistle but it was not loud enough to be a definitive reply.
We made our way to the church door which was behind some railings. I asked if ‘someone’ would shake the railings or knock at the door. I thought that I may have heard a slight knock on the door at some point but nobody else heard it. It was so faint that I am not sure. We eventually decided to leave this churchyard and make our way to the church by Rollestone Manor.
Upon entering this churchyard, the energy could not have been more different. The atmosphere felt completely flat.
We assembled by the church door at which I requested a spirit to bang on the inside. I tried knocking on the outside of the door but received no response whatsoever. Loretta was beside me by the door and at one point she turned around and jumped out of her skin! She thought that she saw a figure looming over us, nearer me. She described it as seeing Melody where she was standing and then as if Melody was also standing almost upon us, towering over us. But she could still see Melody in the background so didn’t think that it was her. Loretta was quite shaken for a time about this but does not understand what she saw.
We stayed a while after this, asking for some response but all was quiet and completely flat and as it was so cold, we decided to finish our investigation.
We would like to thank Mark for joining us on this frosty night and for the local history that he provided us with.
Written by: Maria Williams.