Preston Manor, Brighton, is considered to be the most haunted house in Brighton, with tales of it's ghostly sightings and supernatural experiences dating back for over 500 years. Preston Manor also featured in the Living TV series Most Haunted.
It was originally built in 1600, rebuilt in 1738 and substantially added to and altered. The Manor was bought by the Stanford family in 1794 and for 138 years was their family home. The last member of the family to live at Preston Manor was Ellen Thomas-Stanford who, following the death of her mother in 1903. Ellen had the Manor altered and re-furnished in keeping with the conventions of upper Edwardian taste.
In the late nineteenth century the family living in the Manor were disturbed by paranormal activity including a disembodied hand floating by the four-poster bed, petrifying noises and appearances of a White Lady. The family hired a medium to conduct a series of seances. A transcript of one seance is in existence amongst private documents held by Brighton & Hove Museums.
The seance was held on 11 November 1896, the medium revealed to the family that she had made contact with the White Lady, she was a nun called Sister Agnes who had been wrongly excommunicated from the Church and buried in unconsecrated ground outside the house.
A year later when drains at the house were being inspected, the skeleton of a woman was discovered, the bones were certified as being about 400 years old. These bones were believed to be that of Sister Agnes, they were re-buried discreetly by a local gravedigger. The Lady in White is reported to have made further appearances, but not within living memory.
After Preston Manor became a public museum in the 1930's the strange happenings continued in the building and grounds. A Grey Lady appeared to firewatchers during the Second World War and in the 1950's the caretaker's children frequently saw the ghost of a nun. A ghost has been seen trying out a child's toy tractor during the 1960s.
Some modern day staff and visitors to Preston Manor have reported feeling a variety of unusual sensations including inexplicable scents and sounds. Doors have been known to inexplicably lock, from the inside and furniture move position overnight. Sighting's of non-existent visitors, lights turning off for no reason, and a ghostly hand has been seen holding onto a doorknob.
The basement/scullery has a reputation for making people have the sensation of being watched. Staff have heard the servants' bells ringing even though they have been disconnected for years. Visitors attending the ghost tours have reported the sensation of being pushed from behind whilst in the basement.
Preston Manor was featured in the Living TV series Most Haunted, broadcast 1 August 2006. The Most Haunted team reported that their vigil was one of the most active they have encountered.
If you wish to visit Preston Manor, it regularly holds ghost tours/hunts at the property throughout the year.