The original?Gloucestershire Asylum at Wotton had been extended a number of times and the subscribers with whom the institution had been shared had left for their own property at Barnwood House which opened in 1858. However the space provided still remained insufficient to meet the requirements of the County and City authorities and plans for a second county asylum were commenced. The Barnwood Mill Estate was purchased in 1878 and included a corn mill on the River Twyver. To the north stood the Barnwood House Asylum owned by the subscribers, to the west the Court Farm estate and Coney Hill Road, and bounded to the east by Upton Lane.
Plans were submitted for the design of the asylum via a competition and the architects of John Giles and Gough were selected. Giles and Gough were already established institutional architects having produced works for the Poor Law Unions, Metropolitan Asylums Board (as Giles and Biven) and as designers of County Asylum had already produced an experimental Corridor-Pavilion layout for the East Kent Asylum at Chartham.
The design for the Second Gloucestershire County Asylum was to be considered even more revolutionary, being the first to adopt an echelon layout, itself derived from the pavilion plan. The male and female three storey ward blocks were to be arranged to either side of a central service and administrative area in pavilions linked to the main single storey corridor network by short spur corridors. Each block of the three blocks leading away from the centre was set back from the first, and otherwise fully detached from each other and set in their own airing courts. to the rear a further linear corridor crossed between male and female sides via the service area onto which two further ward blocks were sited. Each of the blocks was to be designated for a specific management class of inmate including, sick and infirm, acute and recent, working chronic and epileptics.
The central service area comprised the administrative block to the south, providing a visual division between the wards. Behind this stood the recreation hall, kitchens and scullery, central stores, power house and gasworks with gas holder. To the west stood the workshops, whilst to the east was to be located the laundry and sewing room. Each had was located conveniently for those accommodated in the epileptic and working chronic blocks to find useful occupation.
Each block was constructed with red bricks, with the uppermost level decorated with blue brick diapering giving a Tudor appearance. The diapering extended to the clock tower and water tower, the latter also featuring lancet windows. Roofing on the original blocks was predominantly slate. Above the main entrance porch the legend ?Anno domini 1883 ?, ?Bear ye one another?s burdens? was embossed onto a stone tablet and provided a prominent feature of the administrative block.
The building of the asylum was to be constructed in phases, the first commencing in 1881and remained incomplete at the time of opening in 1883, with building work completed in 1885. The county decided to only initiate construction of a small proportion of the scheme which included the administrative and service areas with the two southernmost flanking wards and one next to the workshops being built. The anticipation was that the remaining outer sections would follow as need and finances permitted and the land remained set aside for many years. Elsewhere on the site development was limited to the modification of the farm and the construction of pairs at lodges at the gates onto Coney Hill Road and Upton Lane.
The planned echelon complex was never implemented at Coney Hill, but similar complexes were designed and built by other architects at Menston, for the West Riding of Yorkshire?s third asylum, the County of Glamorganshire?s second asylum at Parc Gwyllt and the male annexe at Coxlodge, Newcastle upon Tyne. Subsequent echelon layouts evolved following George Hine?s plan for Claybury Asylum for the London County Council where blocks were realigned and modified to be much more closely spaced and in some cases interlinked which reduced distances between buildings and the required land-take. The modified layout became known as the compact arrow plan. with the earlier, more dispersed echelon asylums, known comparatively as the broad arrow plan.
Instead of operating as an independent institution, Coney Hill?s undeveloped site meant that it was operated as an annexe of the First County Asylum at Wotton. The Superintendent remained located at Wotton and the magistrates covered both sites. Some of the new accommodation at Coney Hill was set aside for private fee-paying patient?s whose costs could be offset against the costs of the upkeep of the pauper population. Coney Hill had the advantage of remaining in an undeveloped, rural location with attractive views and modern wards whilst the Wotton site had been largely been encircled by Victorian developments and was already 60 years old at the time Coney Hill opened.
Out of county inmates were also accepted from other counties in space not taken up by Gloucestershire paupers. These also provided further additional revenue, with the authorities purchasing the capacity paying a substantially higher rate than the local guardians to accommodate pauper inmates there. At this time the combined total of the two asylums had reached over 1,000.
Extensions to the complex took place at Coney Hill in 1906-9 in echelon form, albeit not to the original plan. The new block was sited on the female side to the east and formed a block for working chronic and epileptic inmates. to either side of the connecting corridor.
The Great War meant the release of the Bristol City Asylum at Fishponds for military casualties as the Beaufort War Hospital and the population of that institution was evacuated to others in the same group including Coney Hill. These inmates were not returned until the hospital was handed back to the Bristol Corporation after closure in February 1919. Similarly the Bristol?s new mental hospital at Barrow Gurney was evacuated during World War II. Each War had resulted in overcrowding as Bristol patients needed to taken into institutions which were already usually full, with a corresponding reduction in male attendants who were enlisted in the military.
During the interwar period the Gloucestershire institutions followed the convention of others in England and Wales and discarded the term Asylum in favour of Mental Hospital. Coney Hill was expanded further with a unit for voluntary patients in 1934 following the act of 1930 enabling patients to enter mental hospitals without the requirement for certification. Unlike at other mental hospitals where substantial admission and treatment complexes were built, a basic receiving block was provided as part of the main building. Verandahs were also added during this period to the front pair of original ward blocks.
From 1948 the hospital became part of the National Health Service along as Coney Hill Hospital under Joint management with it?s sister institution which had become Horton Road Hospital as a joint hospital management committee. Under this management a new villa block was added in 1956-60 on the male side and linked to the corridor system. The villa was typical of those developed by the South Western Regional Hospital Board and differed substantially from the other structures at the site. An extension was also added to the 1909 block on the female side.
A day hospital followed in 1958 with the purchase of a building at 18 Denmark Road for the purpose. Under a directive from the Ministry of Health, the farm was closed and the part of the land was subsequently sold in 1963. A new boiler house and engineering department was constructed to the rear of the hospital to replace the existing ageing facilities.
The hospital management committee was merged with the Gloucester, Stroud and Forest HMC who were responsible for the area?s general and maternity hospitals, until this too was reformed in 1974 with the creation of the Gloucestershire Area Health Authority.
A new block for mentally handicapped patients was built at Coney Hill to the male side of the hospital, and named the Twyver Unit after the nearby river. Prior to this time much of the mental handicap services for the area had been located in Bristol or further afield as Gloucestershire had been reluctant to construct dedicated facilities outside of those provided by the counties? public assistance institutions. Further pairs of staff housing was also constructed on West Lodge Drive.
By 1981 the combined population of Coney Hill and Horton Road Hospitals was approximately 900 patients, having been reduced through the increase of community provision and the development of acute psychiatric units in the counties? district general hospitals. Further land was sold in 1983 to the south west of the complex and used for the construction of the Abbeydale housing estate. Coney Hill remained in use for 6 years after the closure of Horton Road Hospital but closed on 31st December 1994. After closure most of the complex was demolished with the exception of the administration block and housing was constructed on the surrounding land and was subsequently gutted by fire in 1999.
Since closure, little remains of Coney Hill Hospital. The lodges, staff housing, farm, ward blocks and the Twvyer Unit have all been demolished. The entrance gateway from Coney Hill Road is no longer recognisable as such and now forms part of the road junction providing access to the housing estate. On the east side of the site, Upton Lane no longer exists, having been superseded by new access roads for the surrounding housing and the boundary of the hospital site is no longer defined in this area. Parts of the driveway approaching the administration block and surrounding trees remain as an indication of how the grounds appeared. The administration block itself has been renovated as housing and sympathetically restored to it?s former grandeur. None of the internal structure remained having been gutted by fire and a new extension has been added behind on the site of the link corridor and recreation hall.
National Archives – Coney Hill Hospital
Gloucestershire County Second Lunatic Asylum/ Coney Hill Hospital, 1883 – 1994
British History Online – Gloucester Hospitals
Gloucestershire Archives – Lunatic Asylums and Mental Hospitals
11 responses to “Coney Hill”
I was the Catering Officer at Coney Hill and Horton Rd Hospitals around 1968 for a two year period. We lived in a house on the estate. I have many memories of the hospital, its patients and staff.
Hi Ken – that’s interesting – well if you ever find the time to sit down and type up some of those memories, we’d love to see them posted here! Always very happy to hear people’s stories from first-hand experience!
I?m looking for anybody who might remember my grandmother who was there as an inpatient 1950 to 1988
Hi Ken.. I’m hoping to find out any information about a little cottage down a lane next to a cricket pavilion.i lived in that place up til 1976 when I came to Australia. Two people who were cared for me worked as a nurse and a charge nurse at coneyhill hospital..for several years we visited patients and played musical instruments for them..this was a long time ago but if you have any memories or information about the cottage please help…thankyou
[…] The remains of Coney Hill today??????(www.countyasylums.co.uk/coney-hill-gloucester) […]
Admitted 1985 should have stayed was Teresa Ann keyte
Hi would anyone remember my great grandmother Sarah Elizabeth Brown – she died in Coney Hill in 1981 but had been there for many years after just disappearing – she was a midwife but not sure when she was admitted or why? Many thanks Kay Bagridge
Have any of the hospital record survived?
yes see: https://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/hospitalrecords/details.asp?id=333&page=20
After the birth of my first child in 1978 I suffered puerperal psychosis – I was 27. My admission to Coney Hill was the worst experience of my life . Dreadful cruel treatment – the focus was containment not recovery. Burning it down is the best thing to do with it.
Does anybody know of a little cottage down the lane close to the cricket pavilion which was a part of coney hill hospital
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Coney Hill Hospital, Gloucester - County Asylums
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Spooky: Gloucestershire's most haunted places and the terrifying stories behind them
There have been plenty of extra visitors of the spooky kind
- 12:00, 17 APR 2018
- Updated 19:09, 29 SEP 2019
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It's seen the Romans come and go, seen a Queen of Mercia, and been at the centre of revolutions: gloucestershire is a county steeped in history.
It means that the county has seen plenty of things go bump in the night.
From the Cotswolds to the Forest of Dean, there is plenty to give thrill-seekers a fright, if that is what you're after.
With Halloween just around the corner we thought we'd look at some of the haunted places in the county you wouldn't want to visit alone....
1. Cafe Rene
Several people have seen shadows in the basement which used to be connected by a tunnel to St Mary de Crypt Church.
Ghost hunter Lyn Cinderey’s investigation there heard monks chanting and when the landlord was packing up the till takings one night, after everyone had left, he felt a hand on him and dropped the takings in fright.
But when he went back the next day the money was still there. Apparently, ghosts don’t need money.
2 . The New Inn, Gloucester
A ghost has been reported pushing a pint off a table.
Investigated by the Gloucester Active Paranormal Society, strange sounds have been recorded in its cellar accompanied by ‘horrible whispering'.
CCTV footage captured an unattended pint glass mysteriously disappearing.
There’s also a ghost who regularly appears in the kitchen, and throws pots and pans around whenever it is left untidy.
3. St Mary's Square, Gloucester
One of the city’s most famous phantoms is the ghost of Bishop John Hooper, who was burned at the stake for his beliefs and is rumoured to still haunt the city.
In 1555 he was put to death in Westgate Street, during Catholic Queen Mary’s persecution of Protestants. His ghost has been reported in the area near his monument.
Mary, who reigned from 1553 until her death in 1558, has also been said to have haunted the area.
4 . Poundstretcher
The famous Gloucester ghost of actress Eliza Johnson has put the wind up staff at the city centre’s Poundstretcher store, which was the Theatre Royal in Victorian times.
A strong smell of burning has come with the haunting. In her mid-20s, the young woman hanged herself there in the 1880s after an unhappy affair with the theatre’s manager, one J L Toole.
It was in the cellar in the 1970s, when the figure of Eliza wearing a long, grey dress was being seen by the then Texas DIY staff, that the letter “E” appeared in mould on a wall, and could not be erased.
The apparition has been spotted on CCTV.
Gloucestershire's TripAdvisor takedowns
5. Gloucester Prison
It opened in 1792 and saw more than 100 inmates executed there. Now a tourist spot, guests have seen many unusual things.
Natalie Lawrence, of Spooktacular Ghost Hunting Events UK, has said there have been knocks and bangs plus 'intelligent responses' to questions asked by tapping on the floor/cell walls.
A security guard who doesn't believe in ghosts once found himself locked in a cell on one event at the start of the night even though no lock was on the door.
There have also been reports of cell doors slamming, shadowy figures on C Wing, peering round the corners and guests feeling affected.
Prestbury is reputedly one of the most haunted villages in England with no fewer than 20 ghosts.
Famously visited by the Black Abbot, he appears at Christmas, Easter and at All Hallows Eve.
Prestbury was also the scene of fighting during the Civil War and ghosts from that period have also been reported.
One lady, who had only just moved into Prestbury and knew nothing about the place, once told how she saw a Cavalier soldier in one of the streets and couldn’t understand why her husband had not seen it.
Great Gloucestershire events
A motorist travelling down the A38 through Tewkesbury spotted a young woman standing on the side of the road in the pouring rain. “She looked soaked,” driver Bob Bierd told the authors of Haunted Holidays in 2002. “I asked her if she wanted a lift.”
The woman did not speak and seemed confused, but managed to direct him to a cottage where he dropped her off.
He turned his car round in the driveway and went to leave, but when he got to its end he found it blocked with a fence and had to drive alongside the hedge until he found a gap to re-join the road. Worried about where he had dropped the young woman off he nipped back and knocked on the door of the cottage, but got no answer.
Eating out in Gloucester
“Some weeks later I was going near that area and I was a bit concerned about the young lady so I decided to call back at the cottage. I knocked on the door and a woman answered. “I explained why I had come and asked if the young girl was alright.
“The woman said that no young girl lived there.
“She once had a daughter but she had been killed in a road accident in 1957 one night when it was pouring with rain,” said Mr Bierd.
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20 of the most haunted places in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is home to some of the most haunted places in the UK – with 20 making SoGlos's spooky hot list. Cue evil laugh...
From haunted houses, royal ghosts, headless horsemen and tragic railway children, Gloucestershire is home to some terrifying ghost stories.
Some of Gloucestershire’s spookiest locations have made it onto SoGlos’s harrowing hot list. Visit all 20, if you dare…
2px); width:calc(100% 2px);"> View this post on Instagram A post shared by Berkeley Castle (@berkeleycastle)
Berkeley Castle witnessed what has to be one of the most horrific royal deaths in English history – when, following months of imprisonment in the castle dungeons, the deposed King Edward II was ordered to death by Queen Isabella. A red-hot poker is thought to be the murder weapon.
On the anniversary of his death, it's said that King Edward II’s agonising screams can be heard throughout the castle near Stroud, with the room in which this gruesome royal murder was carried out now open to the public.
2px); width:calc(100% 2px);"> View this post on Instagram A post shared by Phil (@monochromeshades) on Sep 23, 2020 at 12:30pm PDT
Prestbury is reportedly one of the most haunted villages in the UK, with the Black Abbot being Prestbury’s most notorious ghost. Tales tell of how he used to walk the aisles of St. Mary’s Church, but since it was exorcised, he is now said to be restricted to roam the churchyard.
Prestbury is also said to be home to the Charging Horseman, who appears riding his white horse at Easter and Christmas and was rumoured to have been killed by a Lancastrian arrow during the War of the Roses.
Woodchester Mansion near Stroud
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Woodchester Mansion , a Victorian gothic mansion house in Woodchester village near Stroud, has been unfinished since the builders downed tools and left, never to return. With its own chapel that has a butchery room next door and a resident population of bats, it looks like it could be the setting for any thriller, and is reportedly home to an impressive number of ghosts and ghouls.
Sightings include a phantom horseman, an aggressive female and a floating head. Visitors have ‘collapsed in fear’ and been ‘attacked’ by these ghouls, so the mansion’s overnight ghost hunt is not for the faint-hearted.
Pittville in Cheltenham
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Famed for its Regency heritage, Pittville in Cheltenham also has a spooky history as the location of the renowned haunting, ‘The Morton Case’. The first major investigation by the Society of Paranormal Research and one of the most detailed of the late 19th century, the haunting involved a figure adorned in typical Victorian mourning attire.
The woman’s figure was reportedly seen by numerous people in the Pittville area of Cheltenham from the 1880s, with modern-day ghost hunters able to learn more about The Morton Case on ghost tours.
The Ancient Ram in Wotton-under-Edge
2px); width:calc(100% 2px);"> View this post on Instagram A post shared by Beth whale (@beths.paranormal.adventures)
Said to be the home of two demons and a ghostly witch, The Ancient Ram in Wotton-under-Edge has been dubbed one of the most haunted pubs in the UK and is said to have witnessed black magic rituals, child sacrifices and was even the hideout of a highwayman.
Owner John Humphries shares this spooky house with the ghosts and opens the doors to ghost hunters and enthusiasts, including TV’s Most Haunted crew, who said they had ‘never been to a scarier place.’
St. Briavels Castle in the Forest of Dean
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St. Briavels Castle in the Forest of Dean witnessed many a murder during its heyday in the 12th century, and it is thought that many tormented souls never left – which is why it has been dubbed ‘the most haunted castle in England’ and has become a magnet for ghost hunters.
Paranormal investigation nights at the castle are said to have witnessed the pitiful cries of an unseen baby, invisible hands tugging at clothes and the sensation of someone gripping at a visitor’s throat. It’s no wonder that some guests have left in the dead of night!
Tudor House Hotel in Tewkesbury
2px); width:calc(100% 2px);"> View this post on Instagram A post shared by Matthew Wells (@coastermadmatt)
This black-and-white-timbered hotel in Tewkesbury is steeped in history – and offers 25 en-suite rooms. However, some guests stay a bit longer than others, almost 500 years in fact…
Local legend has it that a maid, treated unkindly by her mistress, jumped from a window and killed herself and is now known as the grey lady, forever wandering the corridors. Other sightings include the ghostly apparition of a black labrador and the small drummer boy, who has woken many guests with the sound of his kettle drum.
The Old Bell in Gloucester
This 17th century building in Gloucester was once used as a local assize court house that dished out the death penalty more than once – and the pub is now thought to be haunted by several innocent men who were unjustly sent to the gallows.
Local ghost expert, Lyn Cinderey, visits The Old Bell on her popular ghost walks, tours and overnight paranormal investigations around the city of Gloucester.
The Ragged Cot Inn in Minchinhampton
2px); width:calc(100% 2px);"> View this post on Instagram A post shared by Buddy Burst (@buddy_burst) on Sep 25, 2016 at 12:15am PDT
The Ragged Cot Inn in Minchinhampton has a dark and morbid history. Diz White writes about the tale of ex-landlord, Bill Clavers, in his book, Haunted Cotswolds , who attempted to drunkenly rob a midnight stagecoach. His wife, with their child in her arms, attempted to stop him, but Bill pushed her aside, causing her and their child to fall down the stairs to their deaths.
Bill was led away by the police as a doomed man, but the ghostly apparitions of his wife and child have been spotted, forever waiting at the foot of the stairs.
Café Rene in Gloucester
2px); width:calc(100% 2px);"> View this post on Instagram A post shared by Cafe Rene (@cafereneglos) on Nov 13, 2018 at 10:27am PST
Known for its live music and good food, revellers flock to Café Rene – even some of the dead ones…
The historic building’s basement used to connect underground to the St. Mary de Crypt Church and several people have reported seeing shadowy figures and hearing monks chant from underneath the floorboards. The landlord even felt an invisible hand on him one night!
Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe
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This impressive 15th century castle in Winchcombe is rich in royal heritage – playing home to Queen Katherine Parr and Lady Jane Grey as well as being visited by Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I and Charles I.
However, its most famous ghost is not a royal, but a former housekeeper known as Janet, who was so devoted to the castle that even death could not tear her away!
Snowshill Manor near Broadway
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Snowshill Manor near Broadway dates back to 1490 and is home to a number of ghostly figures – as well as an extraordinary and eccentric museum collection of more than 22,000 items.
Owned by the National Trust, day-trippers enjoy looking at the displays. However, one permanent resident is not so keen – with some visitors having said that a scowling monk haunts the manor, unhappy that tourists are tarnishing the religious connection that the house has lost.
Blackfriars Priory in Gloucester
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Built in 1239, Blackfriars Priory in Gloucester is one of the oldest surviving medieval Dominican priories in Britain. And in the last 10 years, restoration work has been carried out, uncovering a dungeon.
It is thought that this discovery is linked to the appearance of a dark ghost monk, who hovers near the dungeon - with tours taking place at Blackfriars for people who want a unique ghost hunting experience.
Chavenage House near Tetbury
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Chavenage House near Tetbury is home to the legend of Colonel Nathaniel Stephens. The legend writes that the moment Nathaniel died, a spectral black coach driven by a headless coachman drew up at the entrance, the coach door opened and the ghost of Nathaniel climbed aboard and was driven away.
It is said that every owner who has since lived at Chavenage has witnessed ghostly happenings and experienced ice-cold chills.
Ye Old Black Bear in Tewkesbury
2px); width:calc(100% 2px);"> View this post on Instagram A post shared by Mark Landells (@m.landells) on Feb 18, 2018 at 3:57am PST
During the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, many vanquished soldiers are said to have sought solace at Ye Olde Black Bear .
Legend has it that one decapitated soldier fled to the inn with his comrades, not realising he was dead, and has stayed there ever since, rattling his chains in true ghostly fashion.
2px); width:calc(100% 2px);"> View this post on Instagram A post shared by Notforthedinnertable (@notforthe_dinnertable) on Mar 6, 2020 at 12:32pm PST
To many locals, Littledean Hall is simply known as ‘the haunted house’ – with a number of poltergeist incidents reported and the Blue Bedroom considered ‘too haunted’ to sleep in.
In 1997, Randolph Liebeck, a renowned American paranormal investigator, explored its ghostly confines and dubbed it ‘the most haunted house in England’.
Charfield Graveyard near Wotton-under-Edge
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At 5.30am on 13 October 1928, a Leeds to Bristol train crashed in Charfield, tragically killing 15 people. Two small bodies have remained unidentified and are buried in the graveyard with ‘two unknown’ inscribed on the gravestones.
A sad tale that has been passed down the generations is that a strange woman dressed in black visited the graves of the two unknown children late into the 1950s, when it is thought that she also died. And now, two lonely and lost ghostly railway children, walking hand-in-hand have been spotted hovering near the site of the crash.
The Dick Whittington in Gloucester
2px); width:calc(100% 2px);"> View this post on Instagram A post shared by AboutGlos (@aboutglos) on Mar 6, 2020 at 12:16am PST
The Dick Whittington , a 15th century merchant’s house in Gloucester, has a fascinating history. Originally built for Richard Whittington, nephew of the legendary Dick Whittington, the pub is now frequented by paranormal investigators after a hunched figure kept reappearing.
This strange man was reportedly seen walking around in the cellar and has caused workmen to flee the building. Lights have also been seen floating over the bar, while furniture eerily moves itself around the building.
HM Prison Gloucester
2px); width:calc(100% 2px);"> View this post on Instagram A post shared by SoGlos (@soglos) on Sep 22, 2013 at 7:23am PDT
Before it was decommissioned in 2013, a ghost, thought to have been a female prisoner who was held in the cells of a nearby abbey, was said to have appeared before HMP Gloucester’s more modern inmates – mocking and taunting them.
She was said to have been searching for an inmate that killed her, returning to the prison every night in her quest for revenge – with ghostly activity particularly strong in cell 25 on the A3 landing.
Tweenbrook Avenue in Gloucester
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The Gloucester residential street of Tweenbrook Avenue could hardly pass for the setting of a horror movie, but families are reported to have been ‘driven out’ by paranormal forces.
Tales include that of a six-year-old boy found by an open window that had been previously nailed shut, claiming that a mysterious lady wanted him to go with her. While another incident on the street was reported by a resident who saw a ghostly woman in an attic asking them to pray for her.
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7 Most Haunted Places in Gloucestershire
Gloucestershire is an ancient county located in South West England and defined by its quintessential British scenery. The county town is, as you might have guessed, the city of Gloucester, which is home to an estimated 800,000 people. The county encapsulates other noteworthy towns, such as Stroud, Tewkesbury, and Cheltenham, which is home to the world-famous Cheltenham horse racing festival.
Gloucestershire welcomes thousands of tourists every year, among them horse racing fanatics, history buffs, and those hell-bent on seeing a ghost. That’s right, the picture-perfect county is not without its share of tragedy and bloodshed. Like any ancient settlement, Gloucestershire is rich in ghost stories and offers dozens of locations for ghost hunters to find what they crave.
Here are seven of the most haunted places in Gloucestershire:
7. Tweenbrook Avenue
This entry does not relate to Tweenbrook Avenue as a whole, but rather to a single house located on the quaint family-friendly street.
Reports of a haunting at this particular house go back to the 1970s when a young family were driven from the home after a paranormal presence made it unsafe for them to remain. As the story goes, the family were hounded by images of an old lady from the moment they took up residence in the building. She was encountered as a simple shadow figure at first, but as time progressed, she began to take the form of a full human being and the paranormal activity worsened. At one point, the woman was encountered under the entrance to the attic and asked the homeowner to pray for her.
The final straw came when the owners of the house found their six-year-old child standing by an open window, which had been nailed shut just a couple of minutes prior. The boy, unable to understand why his parents were so panicked, explained that “the lady” wanted him to go with her.
6. Sudeley Castle
Present-day Sudeley Castle was constructed in 1442 and is believed to have been built on the remains of a 12 th Century castle. It has played host to a variety of historical figures over the centuries, having been in the possession of the Crown on a number of occasions. In 1535, King Henry VIII visited the castle with his second wife, Anne Boleyn .
Today Sudeley Castle is owned by the Cubitt family, who never have to worry about their home falling into a state of disrepair. This is due to the well-meaning spirit of Janet, who worked as a maid at the castle during the 19 th Century. As well as ensuring the house stayed in perfect order, Janet was entrusted with the task of keeping unruly teenage boys away from the daughters of the castle owner. By all accounts, Janet took her job very seriously and would sit at the top of the staircase leading to the girls’ bedrooms into the wee hours of the morning to ensure no youthful manservant got his hands on the young women.
Despite the fact the girls in question have long since left Sudeley Castle, Janet is still dedicated to her role of keeping them safe and is frequently seen standing – or more aptly, sitting – guard at the top of the castle staircase. Those who have encountered her over the years claimed she was aware of their presence and frantically shooed them away, waving a feather duster to make her more intimidating.
5. HM Prison Gloucester
HM Prison Gloucester was a Category B prison which opened its doors in 1791 and held some of the United Kingdom’s most notorious criminals right up to its closure in 2013. That’s more than 200 years of suffering and condensed evil, much of which was absorbed by the prison walls. After the prison was closed, Gloucester officials began discussing the possibility of reopening it as a tourist attraction geared towards the many paranormal experts who visit Gloucestershire regularly for its many other haunted locations. And why not? After all, HM Prison Gloucester is one of the most paranormally active prisons in the world.
HM Prison is said to be haunted by the ghost of a woman named Jenny, who was murdered on the site in the 15 th Century, long before the prison was constructed. During the prison’s years in use, Jenny appeared to both inmates and guards, apparently attempting to indicate the spot where she lost her life. In 1969, some prisoners in Cell 25 held a séance with the intention to communicate with Jenny, which ended with books and flowerpots being thrown around the room by an unseen force.
Several days after this unnerving event, the occupant of Cell 25 was relaxing in his cell – at least, as much as one can relax while locked up in a Category B prison – when a disembodied hand suddenly appeared in his room. The hand pointed directly at the prisoner before fading away.
4. Woodchester Mansion
In 1840, the Second Earl of Ducie chose Woodchester Mansion as the site of an outrageously decadent party to celebrate his being made a duke. However, the festivities came to an abrupt halt when the Duke went to take his place at the head of the dining table only to find his seat occupied by the ghost of his father. This event so disturbed the Duke that he ran from Woodchester Mansion and refused to return.
This was the first of many spooky goings-on at Woodchester Mansion. To this day, visitors liken entering the building to stepping into a time machine, and scores of people who have been inside for extended periods of time claim to have experienced at least one unexplainable event.
A chapel located on the grounds is said to be particularly active and the apparition of a stubby little man is frequently spotted standing in the doorway, perhaps protecting it from an unseen entity. Many who have entered the chapel have complained about being struck by flying pebbles, which the little man may or may not be responsible for.
The kitchen is also said to be alive with the dead. The disembodied voice of a female singing traditional Irish tunes has been reported with some degree of frequency, as has the spirit of a man crouching in the corner, hiding from unknown forces.
Learn more about the ghosts that haunt Woodchester Mansion
3. Littledean Jail
The first person to be incarcerated in Littledean Jail was one Joseph Marshall, a 19-year-old who was convicted of stealing a spade. He was the first of thousands to be brutally punished for his crime and was followed by scores of men, women, and, yes, children. There were even some baby’s born inside the prison wall, though few of them survived.
Today, Littledean Jail is open to the public as a tourist attraction, welcoming in equal number history fanatics and paranormal enthusiasts. The latter descend upon the jailhouse in droves as it is said to be the permanent residence of dozens of tortured souls, unable to escape the building which they were confined to for the final years of their tragic lives.
The sound of children interacting with one another is frequently heard by visitors to the site, and some have even seen the ghostly toddlers passing the long hours of eternity in the lower corridor.
It is not unusual to see a man in a green uniform loitering outside what was once the prison courtroom. Once he has completed his ghostly business outside the room, he is reported to spring into action and return to the courtroom, passing through the wall with ease.
2. The Ancient Ram Inn
Some even say the ground on which the inn rests was used by ancient civilisations to carry out sacrifices, often of children, for the various gods of the day. These claims are strongly supported by the seemingly never-ending stream of paranormal activity which takes place at the inn and has left many visitors-on-edge.
One of the most famous ghosts of The Ancient Ram Inn has been Christened Rosie by staff and frequent guests. Rosie is believed to be the spirit of a young girl who was murdered at the site at some point throughout its sinister history.
Guests have reported running into her in the corridors of the hotel and even more, claim to have been awoken by her cries in the middle of the night. Owners of the inn have left old toys throughout the building in an attempt to pacify the infant spirit, but she continues to appear to terrified holidaymakers.
The inn is also said to be haunted by an incubus, which, for those fortunate enough to not know, is a male sex demon. The supposed incubus has been blamed for multiple attacks on female guests over the years.
Women who have stayed in one of the rooms haunted by the incubus report being pushed to the bed by an unseen entity and forcibly pinned to the mattress for what felt like an eternity.
> Join a Ghost Hunt at The Ancient Ram Inn <
1. The Tudor House Hotel STAY HERE
The Tudor House Hotel is a 16 th Century building located in Tewkesbury which boasts – though that may not be the right word – a long and oftentimes twisted history. Following its construction in 1540, it was passed around among various wealthy educated types and even briefly served as a courtroom for travelling magistrates. It was not until 1926 that the building was converted into a hotel, so it had already seen a great deal of misery by the time it welcomed its first guest.
Among the many ghosts of Tudor House Hotel is The White Lady, who is reported to aimlessly glide through the corridors, much like a goldfish in a bowl. This perpetual wanderer is said to be the ghost of a young woman who once earned her living as a maid. During her time as a maid at Tudor House, she was subjected to cruel and traumatising treatment at the hands of her mistress, which eventually lead her to fling herself from an upper-level window.
Guests of the hotel are regularly awoken in the dead of night by the sound of drumming. Upon calling the front desk to complain, they are shocked to learn that what they are hearing is the centuries-old drumming of a long-departed drummer boy.
Other Haunted Places in Gloucestershire:
- Berkeley Castle
- Prestbury Village
- St. Briavels Castle
Ghost Hunts in South West
Ancient Ram Inn Ghost Hunt, Gloucestershire – Friday 20th October 2023
Ancient Ram Inn Ghost Hunt & Sleepover, Gloucestershire – Saturday 21st October 2023
Ancient Ram Inn Ghost Hunt & Sleepover, Gloucestershire – Saturday 2nd December 2023
Ancient Ram Inn Ghost Hunt, Gloucestershire – Friday 8th December 2023
Related Pages: The Most Haunted Places in Bristol
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