Situated in the middle of the 320 acre “Scadbury Park” in Chislehurst, Kent; is the famous thirteenth century Scadbury Manor House.
The History of Scadbury Manor
Originally owned by the De Scatheburys and then the Walsinghams, It is merely ruins today after a savage fire which detroyed the house at an undetermined time in the past. There is reference to partial restorations that took place during the 1930`s but it is rather vague.
Scadbury most associated with the Walsingham family who may have come originally from Little Walsingham in Norfolk. Thomas Walsingham (a wealthy vintner from the City of London) purchased the manor in 1424, a sale that was to connect the Walsingham family with Chislehurst for more than 200 years. Scadbury was purchased as a country retreat whilst he and his wife Katherine still retained their London home in the parish of St Katherines. The manor was inherited in 1459 by Thomas`s son, Thomas II, and then his son James, who was Sheriff of Kent in 1497.
Other members of the Walsingham family that resided at the Manor include Sir Edmund Walsingham, Lieutenant of the Tower at time of Henry VIII, his brother William Walsingham, who held Foots Cray manor for a time, father of Francis Walsingham, Secretary of State to Queen Elizabeth, who founded the Elizabethan secret service and was probably born at Scadbury and Thomas Walsingham IV, knighted by Queen Elizabeth at Scadbury in 1597 (pictured on the Village Sign on Royal Parade) and friend and patron of Christopher Marlowe, poet, playwright (and probably a spy or courier).
Scadbury Park was purchased by the London Borough of Bromley in 1983 and opened to the public as a Local Nature Reserve in 1985. It contains 300 acres of countryside made up of extensive pasture and woodland around which runs a network of paths for public access. The mixed woodland, which covers nearly half of the estate, includes the remnants of ancient oaks that would have formed part of a Royal Hunting Forest. Today these ancient trees grow alongside a variety of others including ash, alder, hazel, sweet chestnut, sycamore and birch.
The Ghosts of Scadbury Manor
There are no historic reports of paranormal activity at the Manor, although there are a few local tales about the place. The owners of the farm bordering the site claim that one night prior to horses being stabled at the property, the sound of horses hooves clattering on a cobbled surface was heard. An recent excavation of the site revealed that the old driveway approach through the gatehouse and up to the drawbridge of the manor house was indeed cobbled.
The site has also recently investigated by a couple of local paranormal investigation groups who have experienced such phenomena as the smell burning wood and rotting meat. Could this be in some way linked to the fire that occurred there all those years ago?