My favourite place in the whole wide world, has to be the Isle of Wight. I love the beaches, the rolling green hills and the chocolate box villages. There’s another thing however, that the island has in abundance and that’s ghosts (Who can blame them, I wouldn’t leave either!).
Over the years, I’ve run many a successful ghost hunt and I made it my mission, to find out about the paranormal delights that my beloved Wight had to offer.
I read up on various sightings of Queen Victoria floating about her old home of Osborne House in her nightdress (that might be a bit of a fib!) Carisbrooke Castle, also has its fair share of spectres haunting the battlements, but the one place that really caught my attention was the intriguingly named ’Knighton Gorges.’
For over six hundred years, an impressive manor named Knighton Gorges stood in the little village of Newchurch. Its first known owner was Hugh de Morville. Hugh (it is believed) was one of the men who was responsible for the horrific murder of Thomas Becket, in the middle of Canterbury Cathedral, way back in the twelfth century. Hugh died, blaming the manor for all of his unhappiness and believed the house itself to be cursed.
Through the centuries, the house was passed through various families on a frequent basis. Occupied by successions of owners who failed to produce a necessary male heir, virtually all of its inhabitants were dogged by madness and most were surrounded by mystery or controversy.
On one occasion, a suicide was said to be covered up, to keep the estate from being given over to the crown and a high profile husband and wife became the scandal of all privileged society for their marital conduct and consequent bitter and very public divorce.
Knighton Gorges no longer stands, yet its legend lives on. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, crowds still gather at the gates (the site that the house once stood on, is now private property). An apparition of the house is said to reappear, with a party visible inside its ghostly walls.
Not being brave (or foolhardy for that matter) I visited Knighton Gorges in the middle of the day, with the sunshine at its brightest. Slowly pulling the car to a stop, I took my camera and headed towards the two grey stone pillars that mark the gateway to the legendary estate. I raised my camera, moved the pillars into the frame and pressed the button, but nothing happened. My camera had turned itself off and refused to come back on. After switching the batteries over, bashing it, bargaining with it and then swearing at it, the camera finally decided to play ball and I managed to get my picture.
Much to my dismay, I didn’t capture any ethereal entities or any white ghostly orbs, but I did feel a creepy sense of being watched. Irrationally, I ran back to my car and vowed never to return. When I got back to mainland UK (far enough away, to not feel scared anymore), I couldn’t stop thinking about this strange, tortured place. The history of Knighton Gorges was far too vast to be encompassed in one novel and so I decided to split the tragic story into seven books and duly started researching and writing about the most intriguing building I have ever discovered.