Reports of a Ghost at Chambercombe Manor – 1922


A ghost, of the smuggling days in Devon, has again made its appearance at a haunted manor house, writes an Ilfracombe correspondent of The South Wales Daily News.

‘Chambercombe Manor Farm lies in a valley only a few miles from Combe Martin, close to the little hamlet of Hele. It is here the ” ghost” has again been but it causes no alarm, guests at the farm, occupying a bedroom once used by Lady Jane Grey, was the one to see her (for it is a woman ghost), but the apparition did no harm, and caused no particular excitement. To tell the story of the ghost one has to go a long way back history. Hele —quite a holiday haunt now—was then the home of bold bad men whose least crime was smuggling. One night a ship was driven or lured ashore. The crew were drowned or murdered, and a beautiful Spanish woman of distinction on board was made a prisoner. She was taken by the smugglers through an underground passage which then connected Chambercombe Manor with Hele Beach to the house. There she was placed in a secret room and allowed starve to death. It was as recently 1865 that the tragedy was discovered according to rumour. Entry into the room was made during the progress of alterations to the house, and the skeleton of a woman was found lying on a bed, surrounded and partly covered by mildew and decayed tapestry hanging. This is the ghost “which is now reported to walk ” occasionally, but which harms no one. I’ve never seen the ghost,” I was told by the man who conducts visitors to the haunted room ; but who knows. There are a lot of things we couldn’t understand, and one of our guests says she saw her’ standing on the stairs a few nights ago ” The haunted room stands as it did when skeleton and furniture were removed in 1865. The roof of the Manor Farm forms the ceiling, a small hatchway in a wooden wall affords a view of the interior la the courtyard of the farm there are traces of the old subterranean passage. Some little distance has been cleared, and at the foot of the cliffs at Hele is a small cave, said to be the entry to this tunnel. It is impossible to force a way through.

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