Chavenage House Ghost Hunt Events Report 10.03.12
Some of the original buildings of some sort had been erected at Chavenage in the late fourteenth century. Parts of the present-day house are thought to date from around this period. At this period the fine medieval Cotswold barn (which now houses a modem squash court) was built on the adjoining farm.
After the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII, the manor and estate were granted to Thomas Seymour, who shortly after Henry VIII’s death married his widow Katherine Parr and was subsequently created Lord Seymour of Sudeley by Edward VI. During 1549, Thomas was executed and his lands attained for his role in an attempted plot against the Crown. The property, then reverted to the Crown, was granted anew in 1553 to Sir Walter Denys of Dyrham and in 1564 Sir Walter’s son, Richard sold the estate to Edward Stephens of Eastington.
Chavenage passed through the Stephen’s family for some years to come. Nathaniel Stephens was a Knight of the Shire in Parliament and according to the Parliamentary History of The County of Gloucester, the fatal illness which attacked him ‘a few months after his acquiescence in the King’s death’ gave rise to the legend of Chavenage. The story of the Stephens’ family ghost is well known and has been told many times, and was in 1845 the subject of a poem by the Rev. R. W. Huntley of Boxwell entitled Chavenage. Nathaniel Stephens, M.P., P.C., was Lord of the Manor during the Civil War (1641-45).
After the cessation of hostilities whilst Charles I was imprisoned, it became apparent to Cromwell that the King would have to be executed in order to stop any form of Royalist uprisings. To this end he sent Ireton to Chavenage, to try to persuade Colonel Stephens to add his support to the regicide. It is said that they sat up all night and eventually Ireton obtained from Stephens his very reluctant acquiescence.
Shortly after his daughter Abigail returned from having passed the New Year elsewhere, she, in a fit of horror and anger, laid a curse on her father for bringing the name Stephens into such disrepute. The story goes that the Colonel was soon taken terminally ill and never rose from his bed again. When the Lord of the Manor died and all were assembled for his funeral, a hearse drew up at the door of the manor house driven by a headless man, and the Colonel was seen to rise from his coffin and enter the hearse after a profound reverence to the headless personage, who as he drove away assumed the shape of the martyr King, Charles I – this being regarded as retribution for the Colonel’s disloyalty to the King. Thereafter until the line became extinct, whenever the head of the family died, the same ghost of the King appeared to carry him off.
The Reverend Williams was predeceased by both his wife and daughter it was left to him to settle the estates on his death in 1874. Reverend Williams bequeathed the Lowsley property to his grandson George Williams Lowsley-Hoole (the present owner of Chavenage’s great grandfather). The family properties consisted predominantly of the Aston Manor Estate and the Lowesmore Estate towards Minchinhampton and Rodborough with the main residence being Mugmore House.
In 1891 he came down from Yorkshire with his father, Colonel W. W. Hoole, to view his inheritance. Neither of them were attracted by Mugmore House and whilst they were guests of Sir George Holford at Westonbirt, Sir George informed them that Chavenage Estate was for sale. Sir George’s father, R. S. Holford had been mortgagee of the lands since the last of the Stephens had left Chavenage in the middle of the nineteenth century, the estate having been in their ownership for 350 years and nine generations. The Holfords had overseen the lease of the property to the Chaplin family (1868-1890). The Lowsley-Williams have been at Chavenage ever since.
When Spooks came across Chavenage House, the history and events that had happened there captured our interest no end. We contacted Caroline Lowsley-Williams and requested the opportunity to carry out one of ourGhost Hunt Events there. Thankfully we were given permission and soon arranged the night. On arrival we were taken on a tour of the property and were amazed at the original artefacts and family heirlooms still in possession of the family. We set up our equipment and were very excited at what the night could bring. The guests were separated into two groups and went about exploring the family home. We had all our equipment and CCTV cameras setup and there were EVP recorders with each group in hope of capturing the voices of past residents. It was quite an eerie feeling to be investigating the family chapel which had been built right next to the home. We carried out various experiments throughout the night including EVP sessions calling out to any spirits present, we setup trigger objects in camera view, we even carried out glass divination and a ouija board session. We also attempted with those individuals brave enough to leave them in a room on their own with a K2 meter, EVP recorder and camcorder to call out to spirit and see if they can get any interaction, but all seemed quiet throughout the night.
Later in the night there were a couple of what we would call personal experiences. In one room which we call the sitting room the temperature was extremely cold compared to the rest of the property. Each member of the group was also stating that they had an uneasy and even anxious feeling whilst sitting in there. Another experience was stated by one member of the group whilst we were in the billiard room and he clearly stated being pushed past, he felt someone knock into his arm as they seemed to barge past him. At the end of the night when packing up the equipment, we were a little disappointed as we hadn’t appeared to have received any interaction from the spirit world. But saying that we were also very happy to have experienced the investigating of a lovely family home and piece of history.
Over the next few days we sat down to the daunting task of analysing the numerous hours of footage and recordings of our nights events. For what we claimed as being a “quiet night” we were a little shocked to say the least at our discoveries. What we found was an EVP un-knowingly captured by one of our brave guests whilst sitting in the Cromwell Bedroom alone. The scary male voice is heard to be saying “You shouldn’t be in here”. And the other EVP was captured at the end of the night when the whole group attempted one last calling out session in the main hall area. The voice this time was that of a very quiet female and she said to us “Please leave us alone”. On hearing this I had a real feeling of guilt of spending the night trying to make contact and I do hope they realise that we mean no harm or disrespect. The last piece of evidence we have from Chavenage House is a picture it was captured whilst spanning the Cromwell Room with a Full Spectrum Camcorder and it appears to be a figure in the bedroom window. The picture has been described in a couple of different ways, some people see what they think is a lady with her hair in a bun yet others see what they think is a hooded man. We leave everyone to make their own decisions on this.
Chavenage House is definitely a lovely home and the owners are very pleasant and welcoming people. It does go to show that real Ghost Hunting can sometimes feel like a night of nothing. You can definitely come away feeling as though nothing is there and spirits aren’t real. But it is purely that you won’t experience everything with your own eyes and ears. There will definitely be times when nothing will be captured, they don’t work to our schedules and demands. But as we experienced with Chavenage House, they are definitely around us.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]Google+