Built in 1070 at the site of the Battle of Hastings in East Sussex sits the ruins of Battle Abbey. Over 6,000 soldiers were killed at Senlac Fields, during the Norman Conquest. Amid the gore of battle William the Conqueror is said to have knelt and given thanks to God for his success. As he had agreed beforehand with the Pope he vowed to build a huge Abbey in gratitude, which was dedicated to St. Martin upon its completion. It is the Benedictine monks who lived at Battle Abbey, and not the soldiers who are commonly seen in spirit form.
Legend tells that long after the Abbey's prestige had faded, Sir Anthony Browne robbed it of its only extant treasures (William the Conqueror's cloak and the famous Battle Abbey Roll), and demolished much of the structure, using the stones to build a great house of his own.
This infuriated the monks, one of whom cursed him, stating that Sir Anthony's name would erased from the face of the earth by fire and water. With this, the remaining monks packed it in and left Battle Abbey.
Sir Anthony's home, Cowdray Park, burned down only a few short years later in 1793; his only heir, Viscount Montague, drowned in the Rhine, thus ending the lineage.
But some of the monks have never left the carcass of the old Abbey. Visitors over the many years have caught glimpses of them shuffling along the Monks Walk, murmured prayers are heard in the Undercroft, near the ice house, and of course at the Rectory.
A famous sighting made a big splash in the papers of 1932.
Vanessa Vane Pennell, a well-to-do society girl, and her brother John decided to spend the night in the old crypt of the Abbey. The levity of the jaunt was broken quite suddenly around midnight when a light began to emanate from one of the walls. Then they smelled the heady aroma of burning incense. Within moments, the light coalesced into the figure of a lanky, corpse-like monk that moved toward them. When the monk was only a few feet away, it seemed to shush them with its finger and motioned for the siblings to leave. Suddenly a chorus of monks began chanting from behind them. The pair spun on heel to find nothing. When they looked back toward the monk, he was gone. The brother and sister fled from the abbey and spent the remainder of the night in their car.
The staff at Battle Abbey are used to reports of what visitors think are re-enactors, when in truth there are none working there.
In 2002, a school teacher from Kent, spotted a grey haired monk wearing a red belt in the Undercroft. At the gift shop, she enquired about the re-enactor only to find out it was just one of their many ghosts.
A picture taken by a visitor in 2010 shows a shadowy outline of a hooded monk sitting reading, and just a few years ago another of the site's visitors captured an image of a body dangling above a door - exactly where a piece of wood, thought to be an old hanging post, still remains.
If you visit Battle Abbey, you may also meet a woman in white haunting the elaborate, castle-like gatehouse. She walks with a limp. There's also another in a red dress. Fruit mysteriously shows up, it's said, in the Undercroft. On the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, witnesses have reported over the years the sounds of battle and the apparitions of mounted knights. Anglo-Saxon King Harold, died at the Battle of Hastings and many believe his ghost lingers still, the arrow that struck him dead still deeply embedded in his eye.
Source - StrangeState
Marlene at Miami Ghost Chronicles is a freelance writer and paranormal researcher.
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