In 1998, the Guinness Book of Records officially recognised Pluckley in Kent as the "most haunted village in England". Locals say the village and surrounding area has between 12 and 16 ghosts, the Guinness World Records, puts the number at 12.
Besides its ghosts, the area is also known for its idyllic and unspoilt countryside, made famous by the television series The Darling Buds of May which was filmed here in the early 1990s. The landscape remains a patchwork of fields, with sprawling woodland and orchards.
Despite it's seemingly normal appearance, and the fact that it's residents continue to live life as normal, it is far from average. Its paranormal portfolio includes a screaming man who may have worked at the village brickworks and fallen to his death.There are no reports of a visible ghost at the brickworks, just the sound of terrified screaming echoing through the buildings.
At St Nicholas church the ghost of 'Red Lady Derring' has been seen wandering the churchyard, and the chapel where she was laid to rest. It is said that the Red Lady's illegitimate baby died at birth leaving its grieving mother to die shortly afterwards from a broken heart, Her apparition is most often seen in the chapel, this area is the focus for a large amount of paranormal activity including unexplained knocks, bangs and a dancing light in the widow. The churchyard is also home to a ghostly white lady, and a phantom white dog.
The white lady's ghost is also thought to be a member of the Derrin family her spirit has also been seen at the Dering library in Surrenden Dering. The local legend is that the woman's beauty was famed throughout the neighborhood, and when she died, at a tragically young age; her husband was grief-stricken. He could not bear the thought of the effect that the ravages of the grave would have upon her looks, so he had her body wrapped in a priceless flowing gown.
She was placed in an airtight lead coffin with a single red rose laid upon her breast. Sealed inside a further series of airtight lead coffins, she was finally encased in a casket of solid oak and buried in a deep vault in the Dering Chapel. On misty autumn mornings her spirit manifests in the churchyard, as beautiful in death as she was in life. Clutched before her she holds a single red rose.
The white lady was seen whilst Surrenden Dering was the US Embassy between the two world wars. A Mr. Walter Winans supposedly held a lonesome vigil one Christmas Eve in the library with his hunting rifle. When the White Lady appeared before him, he reputedly shot her. The shot passed through the apparition. She vanished through a paneled wall which might have led to a tunnel which was supposed to link the house with the Church.
The ghost of a teacher has allegedly been seen swinging from the branches of a tree in a remote part of the village. The teacher hanged himself, and was found in the by a group of his students on their way to school in the 1920s, the reason for his suicide was unknown.
The Black Horse Inn is reported to be haunted by a girl who appears in the fireplace, an unseen hand that lifts cutlery from the dresser and a cold spot in the kitchen. The ghostly prankster delights in hiding the personal possessions of staff and customers alike, it has locked the landlady out of her pub on more than one occasion. Landlords have complained of glasses on the shelf above the bar moving and dogs barking at something only they can see. The pub also featured on TV's Most Haunted program, they held a seance in the attic.
Laura Gambling took over the pub in November 1997 and on her first Sunday was enjoying a cup of tea just prior to opening for the busy Sunday lunchtime session. She noticed a glass on the shelf above the bar move just a little. As she watched it she was astonished when it began to slide along the length of the shelf, stopping only when it reached the edge.
At the Crossroads Bridge the ghost of an old woman has been seen, during her life she used to sit on the bridge, smoking her pipe, drinking gin and selling the watercress she had gathered from the stream. The old woman, is supposed to have burnt to death when, saturated in gin, she accidentally set herself alight.
Pluckley 's most intriguing ghost story concerns Robert du Bois, a murderous highwayman who frequented the area, surprising his victims by using an old hollow oak tree at the crossroads, fittingly called Fright Corner. When his victims passed by he would emerge from the tree and rob them of there possessions, Du Bois however, made the mistake of using his trick once too often.
It had become common knowledge in the district that the oak could yield a nasty surprise for the unwary, so one traveler took no chances and ran his sword through the tree when he reached it; Du Bois was killed in his hiding place. The old oak tree is long gone, but it is said du Bois still haunts the crossroads.
On station road in Pluckley is a property called Greystones, a monk is said to haunt the buildings grounds. The monk is said to have lived in Tudor times, and is reputed to have fallen in love with the daughter of a neighboring property. The affair was discovered by the girl's father and he forbade his daughter to see her lover again. The lady so distressed at not being able to be with her lover drank a poisonous cocktail and died.
The monk sank into a state of melancholy and bitterness, his only solace was to walk the green fields and leafy lanes where they had enjoyed so many romantic interludes together. As the years passed, he sank deeper into depression, pining for his dead lover, and finally died of a broken heart. His ghost, however, continues to wander the neighborhood, and was last seen in 1989 by an American journalist who glimpsed the unmistakable brown-robed figure drifting behind the house.
In the Blacksmith's Forge Tea Room two ghosts have made their presence known. The building's origins go back to the 14th century, when it housed a blacksmith's forge. It then became an alehouse, today it is now a tea room run by Gloria Atkins, who shares her home with at least two ghosts. One is a cavalier whose apparition has been seen by several members of the family striding in and out of the upstairs rooms. The second ghost is that of a Tudor maid, who stands by /the fireplace slowly turning the spit.
Gloria has experienced plenty of paranormal activity, such as a line of hanging mugs suddenly clinking together as though someone had just walked by and run a finger along them. On a cold November afternoon in 1997, as she was working in the kitchen, she heard the front door open and close. This was followed by the sound of a chair being moved away from a table. Picking up her notepad, she went to take the customer's order only to find that the tea room was empty. She could see that a chair had been moved back from the table, but there was nobody in the building.
Maltman's Hill is haunted by a phantom horse drawn coach. This carrige has been seen at various places in and around the village. One October a lady was lady driving home from babysitting her granddaughter, just after midnight. At Pinnocks Crossroads she could see a coach being pulled by horses with light coming from its windows she waited for the carrige to pass then continued her journey amased at hwatt she had witnessed.
Elvey Farm has long been known as the only haunted hotel in the area, there have been numerous ghost sightings at the farmstead over the years. The oldest part of the farm was built in 1406, and there is also a collection of stables and outbuildings dating from the 16th to 18th centuries.
The most prominent spirit at the Farm is that of Edward Brett he was the farmer here at the turn of the last century. As the story goes, in 1900 he gave his wife 15 shillings, and a penny to each of his children, he then whispered to his wife were "I will do it". He then walked calmly into the old dairy and committed suicide by shooting himself. Edward Brett reportedly still haunts the premises, owners of the farm and guests of the Hotel have seen his ghost on numerous occasions. Staff and visitors have often reported hearing the words "I will do it" whispered into their ear.
Other ghosts at Elvey Farm include that of a man in military uniform who stands on the stairs that lead up to the attic bedrooms above the 16th-century barn that now houses a cozy bar. If you want to experience Pluckley yourself you can book accommodation at Elvey Farm by clicking on the Haunting Breaks link below.