After a friend of mine, Paula, told me she was going to a haunted village in Kent, I had to find out more and see for myself.
Indeed, Pluckley is in the Guinness Book of Records for being the most haunted village in the UK, with up to 13 different ghosts sighted there! Another friend of mine, Bill, told me about the unusual ramen they have in Pluckley, so I was hooked. I had to go look.
We packed our bags and headed to Pluckley to see what the UK’s most haunted village was like.
We parked outside the church and walked through the beautifully kept grounds. There are some absolutely beautiful trees in Pluckley and I was struck by what a lovely peaceful place the church was.
We had heard there was an exhibition on the history of Pluckley in the church so we went in to have a look. The church is beautiful. It’s almost like a mini cathedral with a side piece split off into a private section on the right.
In front was a beautifully carved lectern and a magnificent pipe organ.
The stained glass windows are also just beautiful.
We read all about Pluckley and its rich history and how it was used to film the Darling Buds of May.
We came out of the church and looked around the village and at the beautiful schoolhouse, as well as The Black Horse pub with its fabulous round Pluckley windows.
A local postman stopped us and asked if we wanted tips for a few walks through the village. We followed his directions and found ourselves at the top of the valley with incredible views.
The fields were full of sheep and cows. We then walked past the playground and cricket pitch through the orchards. What a very beautiful little village!
Where is Plukley located?
Pluckley is a small village in the Ashford district of East Kent. It’s between Little Chart and Pluckley Thorne.
May’s Darling Buds
Pluckley is also known as the village where the original Darling Buds of May was filmed. From 1991-1993 the series was filmed there. It was one of the highest rated TV series ever set in the beautiful countryside of Pluckley.
The author HE Bates lived near Pluckley and his famous stories about the Larkin family were brought to life on screen. The stories centered on a family enjoying their beautiful country life in the Garden of England, Kent, in the 1950s.
You will find the station in Pluckley about a mile from the village centre. The railway line there opened in 1842 and the station building itself was built in 1844.
The building that stands today was rebuilt in 1885 and is typical of southeastern railroad design. It is the oldest station building of its kind in the United Kingdom still in use.
The station was built primarily to transport goods such as tiles and stones and then to transport horse manure from London to Kent.
The black horse pub
In the heart of the village you will find the 15th century Black Horse pub.
It has the amazing Dering windows and is set up from the road with steps leading up to the front door. It is a beautiful building and there is ample parking.
You will find delicious dishes on the Al La Carte menu and a delicious traditional farmer’s lunch on the garden menu. It has beamed ceilings, open fireplaces and is lit by over 100 candles for a wonderfully cosy, romantic feel in the evenings.
The Dering family
The Dering family moved to the village in the 15th century. It was handed over to them because the land was originally given to a Saxon knight named John Folet, who was given the land as a reward for his military service in the 11th century.
In the 14th century the land passed to John de Surrenden and when he died there were no heirs so the land was given to the Dering family in 1430 and they have been a part of the village’s history for 500 years.
Sir Edward Dering, the 1st Baronet, was born in 1598 and was actually born in the Tower of London. He was knighted and made “gentleman extraordinary” of the King’s Privy Chamber.
When the civil war started, he gathered an army for the king and when the Roundheads came to arrest him, he is said to have escaped from a round window.
The Dering family owned the village until 1928 when the land of the Surrenden Dering estate was auctioned and all the land and buildings were sold.
Another interesting fact: Sir Edward Dering bought 2 copies of Shakespeare’s first folio in 1623. His copy of Henry IV part one is the oldest surviving Shakespeare manuscript ever.
Dering rounded windows
Everywhere in the village you see these fantastic round windows. Apparently in the 19th century Sir Edward Cholmoley Dering decreed that windows in houses belonging to the Dering family in Pluckley should have these round windows in honor of his predecessor who had escaped capture from the Roundheads through one of them.
Saint Nicholas Church
In the center of the village you will find the Sint-Niklaas church. A beautiful church with a lovely peaceful and quiet garden with beautiful trees surrounding the cemetery. We had a walk around the outside and then into the church itself which had an exhibition on the rich history of the village.
The church has a dividing wall on the right that was placed by the Dering family.
The church was first recorded as being there from 1090 and the first pastor was appointed in 1093. The oldest part of the church is the tower which dates back to the 13th century. It is now a listed building.
Pluckley goes back to prehistoric times with a Neolithic flint ax found in the area, along with a Bronze Age bracelet. Pluckley was thought to be called Plucan Leah after the Old English “Plucca’s Clearing”.
In the Domesday Book in 1086 it was mentioned under the name “Pluchelei” and later it was spelled Pluclea and Plukele.
Pluckley dates back to Roman times. A Roman bath house dating from 270 AD was discovered at Pluckley in 1942 and excavated in 1947.
It is recorded in the Domesday book as having 31 households and a total value of £15! In the 1500s the nearby parish of Pevington was devastated and then divided between Little Chart, Egerton and Pluckley.
The village was best known for its sheep farming, then hops and now fruit growing.
In WW1 the village had a large Remount Depot which was used as a place to keep horses being moved to and from the front lines. Pilots in WW1 followed the railway and Pluckley was bombed in 1917.
In WWII, the village took in some evacuees and several army battalions were stationed there. In 1943 and 1944 the village was bombed. Several anti-tank bunkers built to protect the roads can be seen in the village.
It is a small village surrounded by a beautiful landscape. There are orchards and sheep and beautiful old buildings. It is said that there are 60 listed buildings in Pluckley. It has 3 shops, 3 pubs and 2 hotels.
The school building at Pluckley has been there since 1850. It is a lovely little building right in the center of the village.
Pluckley has more recently been known as the most haunted village in Britain. It is reported to have 12 or 13 ghosts and was even listed in the Guinness Book of Records.
Some of the ghosts seen include: a Highway Man hidden in a tree near the Pinnock; a ghost carriage and horses; a gypsy woman thought to have drowned in the steam at the Pinnock; a miller at Mill Hill; the hanging body of a schoolmaster in Dicky Buss’s Lane; a colonel who hanged himself in Park Wood; a man in a wall of clay who was thought to have drowned at the brickworks; the lady of Rose Court who is believed to have poisoned herself due to a love triangle; a white lady who was supposedly buried in 7 coffins and an oak sarcophagus in St Nicholas’ Church; a red lady who was thought to be part of the Dering family and a small white dog who have both been seen in the church.
If you want to experience the eerie supernatural feel of the village for yourself, there are a few online ghost tours you can book to tour around Pluckley.
Pluckley is a beautiful little village and well worth a visit. It has the most amazing houses, many of which are now listed as historic monuments.
It is steeped in history and in the heart of the village is a beautiful church where you can learn all about the history of the village.
There are beautiful walks with breathtaking views and great food on The Black Horse’s Al La Carte menu. We didn’t see any ghosts on our visit, but if you’re into the supernatural, I’m told it’s well worth a visit after dark, if you dare.
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- The tales of the term in Derbyshire
- Eyam, the plague village of the Peak District
- Kolmanskop – the ghost town of Namibia