Chavenage House is an old building. It is an Elizabethan era manor just northwest of Tetbury in Gloucestershire England. The house has been used as a set for a few TV programs and films; including The Ghost of Greville Lodge, the Hercule Poirot story The Mysterious Affair at Styles and featured in scenes from Bonekickers.
Chavenage House is perhaps best known for the stay of Oliver Cromwell after the Civil War. Chavenage’s owner, Nathaniel Stephens, was an MP and therefore a Roundhead but he had been one of the less radical ones. He did not support the rough treatment of the captured King Charles I.
In fact, Oliver Cromwell called on the house in person to speak to Nathaniel Stephens about his support and loyalty. It is said that Cromwell left the next day and Stephens had dropped his objections to executing the king; to the disappointment of his daughter.
Charles I was beheaded by the Roundheads. A few months later Nathaniel Stephens fell ill and died. The uncharitable suggests that his own daughter had cursed him.
The ghost story of the headless horseman is actually of a headless carriage driver. The story says that on the night of Nathaniel’s death a ghostly carriage, with a headless driver, and waited while the ghost of Nathaniel Stephens climbed on board. Once Stephen’s soul was in the coach, the headless driver cracked the whip and drove off. Legend says the carriage burst into flames as it crossed the boundaries of Chavenage’s grounds before fading from view.
It is said that any of the family who dies in Chavenage House can expect to be collected by the headless coachman.
Who was the headless horseman? Could it have been Charles I himself?
Other ghosts at Chavenage House
It is said that the room Cromwell slept is haunted to this day – as the room once used by Princess Louise. The ghost in Princess Louise’s overnight room is believed to roam from room to room and likes to watch sleepers.
There is an 18th century chapel that stands adjacent to Chavenage House. It is said by some that a ghost of a monk haunts the chapel. Witnesses to this haunting include many RAF pilots covering after the Battle of Britain.
A White Lady, the ghost of a young woman, is also said to haunt the lands between Beverstone and Chavenage. Beverstone Castle is about two miles from the House and was held by the Royalists. The Roundhead Colonel Massey became suspicious that the Castle always seemed to know when an attack was planned. He discovered a young woman – the chatelaine of Chavenage – was using a candle to signal to her lover in the Castle when it was safe to leave his garrison and visit her. Of course, this meant her lover, a Commander Ogglethorpe, also knew when an attack was planned. The girls as found out and locked up at Chavenage House. The Roundheads lit a candle in her window to trick Ogglethrope into thinking it was safe and then attacked the castle. The attack was successful, the Roundheads took Beverstone and Ogglethrope’s dead body was put on show on the castle ramparts. When the young woman found out what had happened to her lover she took her own life.
In Pure Spirit
Have you visited Chavenage House? Do you think it’s haunted? Have you heard of any other stories of murder, death or mystery in this historic house?