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This blog has been quite a long time coming. I started this series in 2022 and although I have been back to Avebury several times (because it is one of my favourite Wiltshire destinations) I haven’t had the chance to go into the Avebury Manor or wander St James Churchyard in search of the photos I needed. And you will notice, I have only just posted it now, despite visitin in March! Anyhoo, a day off had presented itself (a rare but unexpected bonus of freelance life) so I thought it the perfect time to go and get the final snaps I needed.

Given this is the fourth in the series I thought there’s probably only a couple of spooky places left in Avebury with associated ghost stories needing a few photos. How wrong was I! There were a fair few. And so, whilst I thought this might be a fairly short blog to finish off the series, it’s actually going to be quite long. Let’s get to it!

Avebury Manor

A classic Grade I listed English manor, this Tudor house was built on the site of a 12th-century Benedictine priory. It’s old! Only small parts of its Tudor heritage remain. Over time, successive families have enlarged the house. It has hosted royalty and was the last home of the former Governor of Jamaica. But unusually for such a grand building, in the 19th century, it was home to several generations of hard-working tenant farmers.

Eventually, between the two world wars, Alexander Keiller purchased the home. He was a millionaire marmalade magnate and amateur archaeologist. Of course, Avebury Manor would have been the perfect place for someone with a love of digging up old things, given you can look out of the window and spot the sarsen stones. Sold on by Alexander in 1955 to various owners, it ended up in the hands of the National Trust in 1991 and is now a visitor attraction. Least it normally is! As I said earlier, I have been trying to get to the manor for ages and I finally get the chance, check the website to make sure it is open, drive up to Avebury and IT’S CLOSED!

There’s was a lot of rain in Wiltshire last winter and there has also been a lot of flooding. Unfortunately, Avebury Manor flooded a couple of weeks before I visited and is now closed for the foreseeable future. It’s a shame for me but more than that, I hope the building hasn’t been too badly damaged. It’s very precious.

As luck would have it, the gardens were still open, so I still had the opportunity to go and take some snaps. There was a bitter wind blowing but it didn’t rain (a massive result) and I managed to have a lovely walk around. I didn’t catch any of the resident ghosts on film unfortunately but then, I wasn’t expecting to!

There is a ghostly monk who can be seen in the garden, various areas of the house and in the churchyard. It was once a small French priory with only a few monks raising sheep, the last of which was expelled in 1379 when England was at war with France. But it seems the ghostly monk is still lurking around from those times so many moons ago. He was seen as early as 1537 in the dining room by a then maid of the house.

Fast forward a few centuries and there is a story of an au pair who worked at the house sometime in the 20th century and when in the library she came across a monk sitting there. She asked him if he was staying for lunch. I’m not sure quite what happened next, but the family were said to be very shocked by the interaction as they too were in the library and saw no one there. Needless to say, no monk was staying or even visiting the house!

This same au pair also saw a man in the garden. It’s thought to be a cavalier with a wide-brimmed hat that has also been seen inside the house. The rumour is, this is Sir John Stawell who purchased the manor in 1640.  Sir John was a staunch Royalist and that was to be his undoing as he ended up being captured at the siege of Exeter and refused to bow down to the Parliamentarians. After much too-ing and fro-ing he was imprisoned in the Tower of London where he remained for eleven years. He was eventually released after the Restoration, but he was a broken man. The manor was handed back to him and he returned to his beloved home. But, after only two years he died of a broken heart, so it was said.

The Cavalier’s Room and the fireplace

However, he has not left the manor. He is seen in the Cavalier Bedroom (now known as the Withdrawing Room) from where he gazes out of the window. He is a sad and melancholy man and when spotted, standing quite still by the fireplace, some people have reported he looks to be crying.

Before Sir John appears a smell of roses wafts through the air and rose petals have even been found on the floor of that room. Herbert Rendle, an employee of the Ministry of Works, would ensure the windows were locked at night but he would come back in the morning and find them open with rose petals on the floor, even though roses were not even in season. Strange noises have been heard coming from this room too.

Sir John was said to have loved his garden and so perhaps this is why he is sometimes spotted walking around the different parts. Maybe that also explains the smell or roses and petals?

There is a story of a ‘grey lady’ which taps male visitors on the shoulder in the garden. I won’t go into more detail about this one because, having spoken to one of the guides today, I can confirm this story was completely fabricated for a ‘Halloween Walk’ one year and it seems to have now found its way into folklore gold!

The gateway to Trusloe Manor

We heard about Herbert Rendle further up. He had another strange experience just outside the manor. One night he was heading home and walked up to the field path which goes towards Trusloe Manor. At an iron gateway a lady in white lace appeared. She had a white hood, much like a nun and Herbert said she was very pretty. But, she took hold of Herbert’s shoulders and turned him around before pushing him away from the gate. In 1971 a Mrs Charlotte Matthews of Avebury tells of a similar tale and the same happened to another visitor in 1976.

I did find note of a spectral coach and horses said to have been heard arriving at the manor and is said to be the same one that calls at The Red Lion pub, which you can read about here.

The last mention of ghostliness is that of a crying cat. When the house was being repaired, a mummified cat was found bricked up in the wall. From the medieval period onwards dead cats were interred in all sorts of buildings to help ward off witches and evil spirits.

St James’ Church

Keep your eyes open in the churchyard and within the building and you may see the ghostly monk standing and watching.

If you read the last blog in this series, (it’s here if you want to see it) you may recall I mentioned Sonia Smith. She has written a couple of excellent books on Wiltshire ghosts. There are a couple of ghost stories related to Avebury village. I recommend you read them in full. Find Sonia’s books here.

The first story relates to a local woman who had lived in the village all her life. She recalls an event where she saw a young boy, dressed in Victorian clothing, in the church graveyard, playing and climbing on the tombs. Her young toddler son saw the boy too. He was so real, at first the lady thought he was part of some sort of play or event within the village. The lady wanted to go and see what he was doing when he suddenly disappeared before her very eyes. She ran to look and there was no where he could have gone to. He simply vanished. She said she tends to keep the event to herself, but she did check- nothing was happening in village that day. Apparently, she was a very practical lady, quite typical of many country folk, and before that day she was dismissive of the idea of ghosts and the like! I’m not sure she was quite so steadfast in her denials after that day.

Another mysterious, ghostly figure of a female has been seen in the graveyard too.

The Lodge B and B

It is said there are several phantoms in this vegetarian bed and breakfast, which sits within the stone circle with views opposite of the stone circles. It was built in the 1700s and has always been a family home. During World War Two it was used as a gun post and spent some time as a recording studio. Since 2003 it has been welcoming guests.

Reports of a Georgian gentleman ghost, young lady and children ghosts exist although details are sketchy. Objects move in the house, especially in the kitchen; you can sometimes catch a whiff of bacon (not great for a vegetarian establishment!) and you may experience sudden temperature drops. On top of that, you may hear a discombobulated French voice and possibly witness even ectoplasm.

One visitor to the lodge, Ginger from North Carolina, reported towels and cabinets moving and messing around with the lights. As they went to leave a cabinet door flew open in front of them.

Cottages built with sarsens

There are lots of lovely, and very old, cottages in the village. Many of them were built before the standing stones of Avebury were seen as precious and so many sarsens were removed; some used as building materials.

If these stones have magical powers and special energies, as many people claim, is it no wonder those houses are reported to experience poltergeist activities.  Which cottages it may be and what actually happened is unknown. There are no more details to be found.


That rounds up the ghost stories from within the buildings of Avebury. In fact, this rounds up the series of Walking the Paths of our Ancestors. I have really enjoyed exploring Avebury and bringing all of the many, many stories together. Hopefully you have too. In truth, there is no other place like it!

Stay spooky everyone!


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