Chambercombe Manor is a Norman manor house located near Ilfracombe, Devon, which dates back to the 11th century and was recorded in the Domesday Book. It is said to be one of the most haunted buildings in the United Kingdom.
The Manor was owned by the Champernon family until the 15th century, when it passed through various families until 1979 when it was donated to the Chambercombe Manor Trust. The house lost its status as an estate at some point, and for a long time it was used as a farmhouse. However, it did not lose its former grandeur during this period, and today the manor is open to the public. The house contains eight period rooms available to view, ranging from Elizabethan to Victorian.
The manor's most infamous ghost originated in a room known as the "Haunted Room". This room adjoins the Lady Jane Grey Room, who herself descended from the Champernon family. It was discovered in 1865 when the owner at the time was making some roof repairs, and noticed the outline of a window that did not have a room associated with it inside. After exploring the building in the area where the window was, he and his wife knocked through a wall and discovered a large four poster bed, and on it was a skeleton.
Legend has it the skeleton was the remains of Kate Oatway. In the 18th century, the house was lived in by William Oatway, whose daughter Kate had married an Irish captain named Wallace, and they lived in Dublin. Oatway did not own the property, but it was his ambition to. However, he did not have the money to pay for it. Oatway's father, Alexander who had lived on the same site had been a notorious "ship-wrecker", by falsely guiding the ships on to the rocks and stealing any valuables that may have been carried. William had married a Spaniard whom he had saved from such an incident, and did not follow his father's activities. However, one stormy night as he was watching out to see if any ships were in distress he noticed a young woman who was badly injured, lying on the rocks. He carried her back to the house, and he and his wife tried to save her but she died soon afterwards. As they searched her for some kind of identity, Oatway noticed she carried enough money and jewels to enable him to buy the manor, so he took the money from her. It was soon revealed to him that the young woman was Kate, and Oatway was so guilt-stricken he boarded up the body in a secret room.
Other ghosts at Chambercombe include two little girls who have been seen in the upstairs children's bedroom, and a lady seen by the pond near the café. There are also cold spots throughout the house, including on an old staircase. The house made an appearance on Most Haunted in 2006.
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- Official Web Site for Chambercombe Manor
- Chambercombe Manor English Heritage
- Chambercombe Manor page at GhostWatchLive.com