9 of the most haunted locations in Hampshire

The Rufus Stone (c) Alwyn Ladell, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The Rufus Stone (c) Alwyn Ladell, Flickr (CC BY 2.0) - Credit: Archant

In our county’s abbeys, pubs, castles and countryside there are ghosts aplenty and paranormal activity that’ll send a shiver down your spine. Here are 9 spooky spots in Hampshire where you’ll find a connection to the supernatural

1) Netley Abbey

Upon the Dissolution of the Monasteries the monks of this 13th century place of worship were unceremoniously forced from their home. In life those who lived there left peacefully but in death it is thought at least one returned to haunt the abbey for the rest of time.

This particular monk is known as ‘Blind Pete’ and to this day he continues his duty of protecting the abbey’s treasure.

His apparition is sometimes accompanied by chanting and the sound of bells, creating an unsettling atmosphere that inspired the likes of John Constable and Jane Austen.


2) The Eclipse Inn, Winchester

On 2nd September 1685 the windows and timber frontage of this historic pub - first built in 1540 - witnessed the beheading of Dame Alice Lisle on the orders of Judge Jeffreys under his ‘Bloody Assizes’, a series of trials to end the Monmouth Rebellion.

The Dame spent her final night in the pub and today it is believed that her lingering spirit still visits The Eclipse from time to time.

To really embrace the pub’s paranormal reputation, you can hire the Lady Lisle Room for private dining.

Ditchling Dawn

3) Manor Farm Country Park, near Botley

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Ghost hunters frequently flock to this paranormally-active nature reserve that has been mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and also has evidence of Roman occupation.

Whether it’s in the 15th century farmhouse, the wartime cottage or in the 13th century St Bartholomew’s Church, a meeting with a monk travelling from the aforementioned Netley Abbey to Beaulieu or a ghoulish pupil may well be on the cards.

Staff may warn you not to wind up the teacher that allegedly occupies the schoolroom as previous paranormal investigators have found that the spirit will be more than happy to slam doors in your presence just to assert their authority.

West Pier Phantom

4) Danebury Iron Age Hill Fort

Thousands of years before Manor Farm was being recorded in the Domesday Book, this fortification near Nether Wallop was the site of many fearsome battles that would have resulted in the untimely deaths of many brave warriors.

While you’re up on the hill admiring the views of surrounding countryside and walking among the prehistoric burial mounds you may well feel an unease as you tread ground that’s seen so much bloodshed.

Despite all we know about the fort, it still hides many secrets, some of which may well lie beyond our mortal existence.


More spooky places and stories:

Clayton Tunnel


5) Beaulieu Abbey

Similarly to Netley Abbey, the majority of paranormal activity at this location comes from the displacement of monks during the Dissolution of the Monasteries. During the day the cloister is described as an “oasis of calm” yet at night an eerie feel descends and you are reminded of the treatment received by those living here.

Sightings of ghostly monks along with Gregorian chanting date back to the 16th century, a blue lady has been caught on camera in nearby Palace House and a boot - buried to ward off evil spirits - was also discovered under the house’s floorboards. Hopefully its discovery does not let anything malevolent back in.

Paranormal investigators visit as frequently as ghosts with Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle holding a seance here and the team from ‘Most Haunted’ filming a live Halloween episode at the site in 2003.


6) Hurst Castle

Head to this artillery fort on Hurst Spit and as you look over to the Isle of Wight - perhaps wondering whether you could swim over to the island - there may well be a paranormal presence standing right next to you.

First built during the reign of Henry VIII, the castle has been through many modernisations as a coastal defensive position until its decommissioning in 1956.

One of the ghosts frequently seen here is believed to be a former caretaker who, appropriately, likes to keep an eye on those exploring the castle. The caretaker would likely be very worried to know that the structure he’s charged with maintaining is under constant threat of coastal erosion despite modern efforts to stabilise its foundations.

binsted church

7) The Crown Inn, Bishops Waltham

The job of a housekeeper at this pub is a rather unenviable one if you don’t have a stomach for the supernatural. Staff here have reported seeing children’s hand prints appear on glass from nowhere while some have even been pushed by laughing spectres.

The ghosts responsible for such occurrences may be a lady dressed in pink or a stable boy who died after being kicked by a horse.

When you come in for a drink there’s a very good chance you’ll be sat in a spot that was once also occupied by Admiral Villeneuve, a commander of the French fleet who has held here following the Battle of Trafalgar.

cowdray ruins

8) New Forest

The dark and mysterious depths of the New Forest are the perfect setting for a ghost story or two. We’ll start at Burley and the story of a witch in the 1950s by the name of Sybil Leek who walked around the village with a jackdaw on her shoulder. Her unsettling presence meant she was forced to move to America but a shop named after her still sells items related to witchcraft.

The Rufus Stone - placed between Brook and Minstead - marks the spot where William the Conqueror’s successor was killed by an arrow that allegedly bounced off a nearby tree. Rumours of foul play continue to this day and if you see a red-haired spectre stalking the area, that’ll likely be the deceased king.

Finally we have the tale of the Bisterne Dragon. In the 1400s Sir Maurice de Berkeley managed to slay the beast and its corpse became the hill of Boltons Bench. After the battle de Berkeley’s spirit was spent and he laid down to die alongside his hounds on the hill, the same location where you can see their ghosts today.

The Mermaid Inn

9) Tudor House Museum, Southampton

When dogs refuse to go in certain parts of a property you can be very confident that something’s not quite right. Such is the case with this 15th century building on Bugle Street.

Our four-legged friends may be disturbed by the spectral figure sitting in a chair or the dark form of a spirit many think is Anne Boleyn.

Of course it’s not just discerning dogs that are unsettled by the property as paranormal investigators have heard footsteps, loud bangs from no obvious source and felt breathing in their ears - that would be enough to send us running.


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