Having been told by a friend of mine, Paula, that she was going to a village in Kent that was haunted, I had to find out more and go and see for myself.
Pluckley is indeed in the Guiness Book of Records for being the most haunted village in the UK, having up to 13 different ghosts sighted there! Another friend of mine, Bill, told me about the unusual windows that they have in Pluckley so I was sold. I had to go and take a look.
We packed our bags and headed to Pluckley to see what the UK’s most haunted village was like.
We parked up outside the church and walked through the beautifully kept grounds. There are some absolutely stunning trees in Pluckley and it struck me what a lovely, peaceful place the church was.
We had heard that there was an exhibition in the church about the history of Pluckley so we went inside to have a look. The church is lovely. It’s almost like a mini cathedral with a side bit sectioned off into a private part on the right hand side.
There was a beautifully crafted lectern at the front and a fabulous pipe organ.
The stained glass windows are just stunning too.
We read all about Pluckley and its rich history and how it was used for filming of the Darling Buds of May.
We came out of the church and looked around the village and at the beautiful school building, as well as The Black Horse pub with its fantastic, rounded, Pluckley windows.
A local postman stopped us and asked if we would like recommendations for a few walks around the village. We followed his directions and found ourselves at the top of the valley looking down at incredible views.
The fields were full of sheep and cows. We then walked past the playground and cricket grounds through the orchards. What an absolutely beautiful little village!
Where is Pluckley?
Pluckley is a little village found in the Ashford district in East Kent. It’s between Little Chart and Pluckley Thorne.
The Darling Buds of May
Pluckley is also famous for being the village that the original Darling Buds of May was filmed in. From 1991-1993 the series was filmed there. It was one of television’s highest rated series ever set in the beautiful countryside of Pluckley.
The author H.E Bates lived near to Pluckley and his famous stories of the Larkin family were brought to life on the screen. The stories were about a family enjoying their lovely rural life in the 1950s in the Garden of England, Kent.
Pluckley Railway station
You can find the station at Pluckley about a mile away from the main village centre. The railway there opened in 1842 and the station building itself was built in 1844.
The building standing now was rebuilt in 1885 and is typical of a south eastern railway design. It’s the oldest station building of its kind in the UK that is still used today.
The station was built primarily to carry freight such as tiles and bricks and then for transporting horse manure from London to Kent.
The Black Horse Pub
Right at the heart of the village you will find the 15th Century Black Horse pub.
It’s got the amazing Dering windows and is set up from the road with steps leading up the front door. It’s a magnificent building and there’s plenty of parking there.
You will find mouth watering dishes on their Al La Carte menu and a delicious traditional ploughman’s lunch on the garden menu. It’s got beamed ceilings, Inglenook fireplaces and is lit by over 100 candles for a lovely cosy, romantic feel in the evenings.
The Dering Family
The Dering family moved into the village in the 15th Century. It was handed down to them as the land was originally given to a saxon knight called John Folet who was given the land as a reward for his military service in the 11th Century.
In the 14th Century the land was handed down to John de Surrenden and when he passed away there were no heirs so the land was given to the Dering family in 1430 and they have been part of the village’s history for 500 years.
Sir Edward Dering, the 1st Baronet, was born in 1598 and was actually born in the Tower of London. He was knighted and became “gentleman extraordinary” of the King’s Privy Chamber.
When the civil war started he rounded up an army for the king and when the Roundheads came to arrest him it is said that he escaped out of a rounded window.
The Dering family had the village until 1928 when the land belonging to the Surrenden Dering estate was auctioned off and all the land and the buildings were sold.
Another interesting fact: Sir Edward Dering purchased 2 copies of Shakespeare’s first folio in 1623. His copy of the Henry IV part one is the earliest surviving Shakespeare manuscript ever.
Dering Rounded Windows
All around the village you will see these fantastic rounded windows. Apparently in the 19th Century Sir Edward Cholmoley Dering decreed that windows in houses belonging to the Dering family in Pluckley should have these rounded windows in honour of his predecessor who had escaped arrest from the Roundheads through one them.
St Nicholas Church
In the centre of the village you will find St Nicholas’s church. A magnificent church with a lovely peaceful and tranquil garden with stunning trees surrounding the graveyard. We had a wander around the outside and then into the church itself that had a display about the village’s rich history.
The church has a partition across the right hand side which was put in by the Dering family.
The Church was first recorded as being there from 1090 with the first minister being appointed in 1093. The oldest part of the church is the tower which dates back to the 13th Century. It’s now a grade 1 listed building.
Pluckley goes back to Prehistoric times with a Neolithic flint axe found in the area along with a Bronze Age bracelet. Pluckley was thought to have been called Pluccan Leah from the Old English “Plucca’s Clearing”.
In the Domesday Book in 1086 it was mentioned under the name “Pluchelei” and then later it was spelt Pluclea and Plukele.
Pluckley dates back to Roman times. A Roman bath house dating back to AD 270 was discovered in Pluckley in 1942 and excavated in 1947.
In the Domesday book it’s recorded as having 31 households and a total value of £15! In the 1500s the nearby parish of Pevington was destroyed and then this was divided up between Little Chart, Egerton and Pluckley.
The village was mostly known for its sheep farming, then hops and now fruit farming.
In WW1 the village had a large Remount Depot used as a place to keep horses that were moved to and from the front line. Pilots in WW1 used to follow the railway line and Pluckley was bombed in 1917.
In WW2 the village took on some evacuees and several army battalions were based there. In 1943 and 1944 the village was bombed. Several anti tank pill boxes can be seen in the village that were built to protect the roads.
It’s a small village surrounded by stunning countryside. There are orchards and sheep and beautiful old properties. It is said there are 60 listed buildings in Pluckley. It has 3 shops, 3 pubs and 2 hotels.
The school building in Pluckley has been there since 1850. It’s a stunning little building and right in the centre of the village.
Pluckley is more recently known for being the most haunted village in Britain. It is reported to have 12 or 13 ghosts and was even mentioned in the Guiness Book of Records.
Some of the ghosts seen include: a Highway Man hidden in a tree at the Pinnock; a phantom coach and horses; a gypsy woman who is thought to have drowned in the steam at the Pinnock; a miller at Mill Hill; the hanging body of a schoolmaster in Dicky Buss’s Lane; a colonel who hanged himself in Park Wood; a man in a wall of clay who was thought to have drowned at the brickworks; the lady of Rose Court who is thought to have poisoned herself over a love triangle; a white lady who was supposedly buried in 7 coffins and an oak sarcophagus at St Nicholas’s Church; a red lady who was thought to be a part of the Dering family and a small white dog who both have been seen at the church.
If you would like to experience the spooky supernatural feel of the village for yourself then there are a few ghost tours to be found on line that you can book to tour around Pluckley.
Pluckley is a beautiful little village and well worth a visit. It’s got the most amazing houses, a lot of which are now listed buildings.
It is steeped in history and at the heart of the village is a stunning church where you can find out all about the history of the village.
There’s beautiful walks with breathtaking views and great food to be had at the Al La Carte menu at The Black Horse. We didn’t see any ghosts on our visit but if you are into the supernatural I’m told it’s well worth a visit after dark, if you dare.
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