Tuesday, 10 August 2010

August Hauntings

Essex, Northumberland and Bedfordshire are the location for our August ghosts.

Let's start, not with an Essex girl, but with the sounds of crying and wailing in despair reported on both the 11th and 22 August at Beeleigh Abbey, Near Maldon. Sir John Gates was held at the Abbey to await his execution which took place at Tower Hill on 22nd June 1553.

Beeleigh Abbey was built in 1180 for the White Canons. Henry VIII granted the Abbey to Sir John in 1540. Sir John was a supporter of Lady Jane Grey who became the nine-day queen. When Queen Mary [Bloody Mary] came to the throne supporters of Lady Jane were not deal with kindly. Sir John was beheaded; it took three strokes of the axe to do the deed.

The biography of Sir John Gates may be seen at:

On 15th August at Rock in Northumberland a grey lady may be seen walking from South Charlton to Rock on the anniversary of the death of her husband. Now she really takes her life in her hands as she has to cross today's A1. She is thought to have been a former occupant of Rock Hall. I have been unable to find more detail about this haunting. Rock Hall, an 18th century house, is now a school at Rennington, near Alnwick.

A phantom woman, dressed in black, believed to be the nun, Berta Rosata, is seen at Chicksands Priory in Bedfordshire on the 17th before she disappears through a wall.

Chicksands Priory is mentioned in the Doomsday Book in 1086. The Gilbertine Order took up residence in 1147. The Priory became a refuge for Thomas a Becket from the wrath of Henry II. Berta Rosata was the nun, pregnant by one of her superiors, who was bricked up alive in one of the walls; the last brick was not put into place before she had been forced to watch her lover being beheaded.

Chicksands was to play an important part in WWII when it received signals later decoded at Bletchley Park where the codes for the German enigma machines were decoded. Officers and civilians at RAF Chicksands reported seeing more than one phantom nun. After the war Chicksands became an American airbase; now it is a secret intelligence base for the British Military.

The history of Chicksands may be found at

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