Mysterious Weald

Mysterious Weald

Is there a supernatural mystery buried at Bayhall?

A 13th century manor house on Chalket Lane in Bayhall, near Pembury, was the home of the Culpeper family for generations, but it eventually fell into disrepair and was demolished in the 1960s. The final destruction of the ruins was carried out to discourage ghosthunters, who had been flocking to the site to look for a well-publicised spirit…

Mrs Ann West was the last person to live in the mansion, where she died in 1803. According to legend, the 34-year-old was terrified of being buried alive and the provisions she supposedly made to guard against this catastrophe vary, depending on which story you happen to hear. One tale claims that she insisted on being buried with a bell in her hand – on the evening of her burial, and for several nights afterwards, locals could hear a ghostly chime echoing through the still air…

Another version says Ann asked for no lid to be placed on her coffin and for a hole to be left in the framework of the vault, so she would have a means of escape. Yet another rumour suggests that she left her fortune to a servant, on the condition that he would place bread and water on her coffin every day for a year after her death, just in case…

Whatever the truth of her will, locals claimed to have spotted Ann’s ghostly form wandering along the road from Bayhall churchyard towards her former home. In the 1960s, a report about the haunting appeared in a national newspaper and the manor house’s ruins became an attraction for spookhunters, who were apparently not disappointed.

Investigators claimed to have heard groans and thuds; one thought he heard the sound of a heavy body being dragged along the ground. Exasperated, the owner knocked the structure down and Great Bayhall Farm now occupies the site. But is Anne truly resting in peace?