The summer season has officially drawn to a close and the ‘spooky’ month of October is just weeks away.
Although it is a ‘scary’ thought in its own right, Halloween is just around the corner and there is nothing like the debris of once-grand houses to get our imaginations going.
From tales of ‘murdering housewives’ to ghost sightings, Devon is home to some of the most unnerving properties in the UK.
Below we take a look at Devon’s spookiest abandoned properties:
Upcott Barton farmhouse
Upcott Barton farmhouse is a historically significant Grade II Listed farmhouse that has been abandoned for over 50 years.
The property which is located within the Torridge valley, sitting on the edge of a select development of five residential units, all undergoing renovation.
Although the house is undeniably impressive with its the stunning rural views, detached former chapel, paddocks and six acres of land, this desirable derelict property is rumoured to come with some of its former residents.
In 2019, Devon Live reported that owner David Hunt said: “Sometimes you stand and just feel that there are people around you, watching you – in a nice way. It’s not nasty, you know. We speak to them. We used to go into the house and say ‘Good morning everyone’.
With plans to renovate the house, David was digging up earth at the side of the house one day, when he discovered remains of a whole room that had been buried for at least a century.
Several years ago, David says an electrician knocked at their door to ask permission to cut back some trees from the nearby power lines. It turned out that the electrician was also a psychic, and took an immediate interest in the house, spending three hours in there with David, talking about its history and the spirits that still reside there.
David says that the psychic electrician explained Oliver Cromwell’s military tactics, suggesting that his soldiers would have shown the Royalists no mercy, chasing them across the land at Upcott Barton and into the woods below, shouting ‘Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide!’
This expression from the electrician shocked David, because when another medium had visited the house months earlier, she said she spoke to the spirit of a maid who had once lived there, and she kept repeating ‘Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide.’
Seafield House in Westward Ho! also known as ”haunted house” was originally built around 1885 as a summer residence for Brinsley De Courcey Nixon, a London banker.
The property had laid derelict for years – until it was purchased by local businessman Rob Braddick.
He purchased Seafield House in May 2016 for £414,000 at a local auction.
“It does look spooky, it’s right out of Scooby Doo isn’t it.”
During World War II the home was used by the Ministry Of Defence as officer’s quarters with Italian prisoners of war accommodated in nearby fields.
Previously, local historian Susan Pengelly hosted haunted history talks at the house, outlining some of the spooky stories from Westward Ho! and the surrounding area.
Possessing a wealth of history, the 8-bedroom Blackborough house was built in 1838 by George Francis Wyndham, the fourth Earl of Egremont.
The property in Cullompton is set within approximately 10.4 acres of private land.
Currently in a derelict state, the house is in need of complete renovation.
Earlier this month Devon Live reported that ambitious plans had been submitted to transform Blackborough House into a 60-bed hotel includding new villas, a botanical garden and ampitheatre.
The scheme for Blackborough House would have seen the refurbishment of the house to a hotel and spa with 24 letting rooms, a Piazza garden, 36 letting rooms in the Pavilion, with Botanical Gardens, the restoration of walled garden with new orchard and amphitheatre, and the erection of a bat house.
Senior associate director Oliver Custance Baker said: ”This could be a fantastic property. It is hoped that someone will restore it to its former glory.”
Over a thousand years old, Okehampton castle is said to be the home to one of the most renowned ghouls in the county, the murderous Lady Howard who once resided there with her four consecutive husbands, all of whom she joyously killed.
Legend has it that as punishment for deadly crimes, the evil widow is forced to spend her time in the afterlife making a nightly journey from Okehampton to Dartmoor to pick a single blade of grass. The legend states that only once the hillside is stripped completely bare will she have her freedom.
It is during these nightly journeys that reports have been made of Lady Howard’s sighting. Locals who have encountered the widow have described her as travelling in a carriage driven by a headless chauffeur, supposedly comprised of her dead husbands bones.
For years this chapel in Ilfracombe and the surrounding graveyard were the rumours of serial ghost haunting and black magic.
It’s said that people would come to the abandoned chapel to conduct ouija boards.
It was transformed into a two-bedroom house back in 2006 and in 2019 a planning application was submitted by the owners to build an underground extension.
Berry Pomeroy is said to be the most ‘haunted castle in England’.
The Pomeroy family castle looms the dramatic ruined shell of its successor, the great Elizabethan mansion of the Seymours.
Begun in around 1560 the Seymours began to build the most spectacular house in Devon but it was never completed and has stood abandoned since 1700.
The White Lady, and the Blue Lady compete to lure people to their deaths; there is the Child Isabella; a guardsman on the ramparts; an old gardener who scythes the grass; at least two ethereal dogs and a cane bearer who pokes people. Both she and the Child Isabella are said to follow visitors home.
The Blue Lady is said to beckon for help from passers-by, luring them to her ruined tower where they fall to their death.
The White Lady, said to be the spirit of Lady Margaret Pomeroy, is claimed to haunt the dungeons where she was imprisoned and starved to death by her sister, Eleanor, who was jealous of her beauty.
Still owned by the Seymour family, it is managed now by English Heritage who welcome thousands of visitors every year.
The Valiant Soldier
The pub in Buckfastleigh in the 1960s and untouched for decades.
The Valiant Soldier shut as the last customer left one night. Everything – from the decor, optics, pint glasses and bar stools – was left behind and even the change remained in the tills.
It is now thought to be haunted – by spirits from the past.
The old pub later opened as a time capsule-style museum which gives visitors a glimpse into the lives of those who lived and drank there.
The Darnley Hotel
It may not be abandoned but when it comes to all things ‘supernatural’, The Darnley Hotel is certainly worth mentioning.
The guest house in Ilfracombe has experienced its fair share of paranormal activity.
In 2019, local paranormal investigators The Devon Free Spirits held an event at the hotel with paranormal historian Richard Felix of Living TV’s Most Haunted show.
The Free Spirits said they have had reports of activity at the hotel ranging from impressions on beds, doors shutting, things moving and unusual emotional responses to physical contact in the form of things being thrown at staff, fridge doors being shut and people being poked.
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