Prestbury, Gloucestershire

Prestbury vies with Pluckley, in Kent, for the title of most haunted village in England. It’s best known spectral form is the hooded shade of a monk known as "The Black Abbot," and whose appearances take place, mostly, at Christmas, Easter and on All Souls Day.

His ghost is rather conservative in that it seldom deviates from a particular route that begins inside the church, crosses the churchyard and, having kept a straight trajectory through the grounds of the old Priory, vanishes into the wall of a cottage on the High Street, where he announces his arrival by noisily moving things about in the attic.

On November 22nd 1990, Derek Stafford was photographing the floodlit gravestones in the churchyard. Although he saw nothing at the time, when his film was developed he was surprised to see that a mysterious dark figure had appeared on one of the photographs.

Inevitably the many skirmishes of the numerous conflicts, to which this part of the country were privy, have contributed generously to the ghostly populace of the village.

A spectral horseman on a brilliant white charger has been known to gallop along Shaw Green Lane in the early hours of misty spring mornings.

He is thought to be the ghost of a messenger who, in 1471, was passing through the village en route to Edward 1V’s camp at Tewksbury, when he was shot dead by a Lancastrian Archer. Interestingly, over the years, his phantom seems to be wasting away, since more recent sightings describe him as being little more than a dull glow.

The Burgage is the oldest street in the village and, during the Civil War, was billeted for a time by a detachment of Parliamentarian soldiers.

Each night they would string a rope across the road as a security measure against Royalist forces trying to get through the village.

One night their little trap yielded a rich dividend when a Royalist dispatch rider, heading to Gloucester from Sudeley Castle, galloped straight into it and was flung into the arms of his waiting captors who executed him on the spot.

Although he is never seen, his ghostly hoof beats are often heard in the dead of night, pounding hell for leather along The Burgage until they stop very abruptly as the phantom rider undergoes his ignoble fall, over and over again.