Released: September 2014
Publisher: Bradwell Books
Size: 180 x 110mm
Be frightened; be very frightened!
Surrey is a beautiful and historic county with royal connections and some of the most magnificent stately homes in the UK. Despite its close proximity to London and a reputation for well-heeled suburban living, parts of Surrey are still surprisingly rural. Its lush meadows are bounded by wild heaths and the entire county is bisected by the North Downs, a ridge of chalk hills, south of which runs a parallel line of sandstone hills.
This wild, fertile country and the ease of access to the capital city made Surrey the playground of kings and queens for centuries. In the Saxon period, Edward I and Harold I owned most of Surrey for their sport. This land then fell to the Normans and in subsequent years a succession of royalty and wealthy clerics disported themselves around the county. No wonder then that Surrey could at one time boast no fewer than four palaces!
With all this history, it should come as no surprise to learn that Surrey also has a rich haunted heritage. Its ghosts are remarkably upper-crust. Among the roster are three Queens, a Duke, a Duchess, a Lord Chancellor, two Bishops, a Cardinal, an Admiral, a Russian Tsar and, in two separate places, that most romantic character from history, Sir Walter Raleigh. The haunted locations are often as grand as the ghosts themselves and include Tudor palaces, magnificent manor houses and mighty castles. But there are many humbler ghosts haunting less splendid locations, such as old inns, ruined abbeys, churchyards, lonely pools and hill-tops. Driving round Surrey’s roads you may encounter one of the county’s many spectral coaches, rattling towards you through the darkness. Even the air above is not free of ghosts, for there are reports, too, of phantom aircraft in the Surrey skies.
A fair chunk of the old county of Surrey has now been absorbed into the ever-spreading tentacles of Greater London. Indeed, the county council offices are no longer based in the county proper. Other than the inclusion of two of its most historic towns, Richmond and Croydon, on the whole I have avoided those places now within London. There are, after all, more than enough fascinating ghost stories from the surviving county to satisfy the most seasoned ghost-hunter.