Arreton Manor House, Isle of Wight

Arreton Manor

Description: The manor combines Jacobean architecture with Tudor designs and features. A manor has stood on the site for more than 1,000 years.

Era: The existing building dates back to the early 17th century, but the East Wing was built in the 14th century and there has been a manor here since at least AD 872.

History:
– Once owned by Edward the Confessor, Arreton Manor is noted in the Domesday Book and is specifically mentioned in the will of King Alfred the Great in 885. The Manor was farmed by abbots of Quarr Abbey and for over 400 years was in their possession

– There is a Saxon Burial ground on nearby Arreton Down and it’s speculated that the first house on the site of the manor was a Roman villa

– In the reign of Henry VIII the manor came into the hands of the Crown following the dissolution of the monasteries and was leased to the Leigh family for 70 years

– A particularly grisly incident took place around this time. In 1560, John Leigh, who was only 13 at the time, smothered his father, Barnaby, with a pillow. John’s young sister, Annabelle, witnessed the crime, so he dragged her upstairs and threw her from an upstairs window to her death

– Charles 1st gave the manor to trustees for the payment of his debts to the City of London and it was sold to two London Merchants. Charles visited the manor on several occasions and stayed there before being imprisoned in nearby Carisbrook Castle

– Both Queen Victoria and Queen Mary often visited the manor

– More recently Arreton Manor has been open to the public and held a museum of toys and domestic bygones
Ghost ratings:
Arreton Manor seems to be a densely haunted site, with many restless spirits, including:

– The ghost of fair-haired Annabelle, seen in many areas throughout the house and gardens, often crying “mamma mamma” and wearing a blue dress and white slippers

– A mysterious lady in a purple dress, seen by the owners and many visitors

– Many sightings of a silvery-grey figure by visitors. At the same time an overpowering sweet smell is often detected

– A woman in a red tight-waisted, puff-sleeved dress has been spotted. The ghostly figure is said to have long curly black hair and is also accompanied by a sweet floral smell but her face is never seen

– Monks have been seen walking through walls in the Dining Room, as well as nodding in silent prayer in the 12th-century part of the house

– The ghostly monks have also been seen in the gardens, but only from the waist up. Research into the lie of the land shows the original Abbey was set lower than the current grounds, which may explain this; they are walking on the original floor level!

– The manor owner sees the phantom of a man in the rear gardens at least once a week

– A dark haired woman in a white shift is often seen gliding across the Four Poster Room and disappearing through the window
Spooky experiences:
– Chanting is heard throughout the building and grounds

– Several visitors have refused to enter the building, because they felt a dark, foreboding presence on approach

– The rustling of skirts is heard

– The sounds of hounds running echo through the Dining Room, as do the sounds of heavy keys being dropped

– A strong, sweet smell of pipe tobacco is often noticed in the rear gardens

– Children crying is heard in the hall, while footsteps echo from the empty room above

– The front door is inexplicably bolted from the inside when the house is empty and knocking is frequently heard although no one is there

– People have reported being pushed by unseen hands in the cellar

– In the Solar Room, thought to be where little Annabelle was murdered, cupboard doors open by themselves and towels that have fallen out are arranged on the floor in neat piles by unseen forces

– Ghostly footsteps are frequently heard in this room

– In the Culpepper Suite a TV mysteriously comes on of its own accord

http://www.arretonmanor.co.uk/

First Broadcast: 31st May 2005

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