Purse Caundle Manor, Sherborne

Purse Caundle is a delightful little village at the centre of which stands a fine 15th century church and an enchanting manor house, dating from 1470, and which is haunted by several ghosts the oldest of which belong to a previous house on the site.

This was a hunting lodge owned by the Crown and was the residence of one John Aleyn, whose duties included tending to King John’s sick and injured hounds.

Quite what long ago event has caused these creatures to return to the manor in phantom form is unknown, but legend maintains that they come baying their ghostly way onto the bowling green on New Year’s Eve and Midsummer’s Eve.

Their yapping and howling will last for a little time until they are brought to heel by a blast from a phantom horn blown by a ghostly huntsman. Thereupon they will dutifully traipse back to whatever period of the manor’s past they originated in.

In 1874 the then owners of the manor took the drastic measure of removing the Newel staircase because a ghostly apparition that was often seen on it was causing consternation amongst the ladies of the house.

Its removal appears to have had the desired effect and now, spectral hounds aside, the only regular haunting to occur at Purse Caundle Manor is the chilling sound of plainsong that has been heard drifting around the house and grounds. No-one knows quite what lies behind this phenomenon since, as far as is known, the house has never had any religious or monastic associations.