In the mid-1990s, an article in The Sunday Telegraph
suggested that Faversham is the most haunted town in Britain.
It gave details of a sea captain said to have died at the Shipwrights’ Arms at Hollowshore while lugging ashore a huge piece of iron – sometimes thought to be the fireback in the grate by the bar.
A general inquiry in Faversham’s local papers at that time produced a wealth of evidence from local residents, who between them had seen, heard, smelt or been affected by literally dozens of ghosts in different manifestations.
The publication of these reports into a book led to further reportings, publications, investigations, tours and television coverage.
The Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre which houses the Faversham Society and the local museum is itself haunted - by a white lady who was seen at the top of the stairs, and staff in the museum also heard the telephone exchange on display ringing, though it was not connected to any lines anywhere.
Here are some of the reports of ghosts in the Faversham area:-
A modern house in Bramley Avenue produced a teenage boy ghost, standing silently by a bedroom window.
Footsteps were heard in an empty apartment over a hairdressers’ salon, along with the sound of a toilet flushing, and on investigation the pullchain was found swinging though no-one could have gained access to the flat.
A photograph taken outside a popular pub showed a man inside the window, sitting at what had been his favourite seat, though he had passed away.
Horses hooves were heard in the night.
A customer in a delicatessen just faded away when she was asked what she wanted.
A teacher reported she had met and talked with the ghost of a medieval murderer, who told her his name was Snowy.
A severe man dressed in formal Victorian clothing frightened some children by thwacking a cane against his hand as they played in their room in West Street.
One family was so plagued by a terrifying poltergeist that they were forced to move away: something or someone had tried to push people down the stairs, and a body was seen hanged by the neck.
A man wearing large boots and with a floppy lace collar and tall hat sat by a fireside smoking a long thin pipe.
In various places, dogs refused to go through certain doorways, and cats had run terrified from an empty room in a warehouse.
All kinds of people reported these ghosts – shopkeepers, teachers, accountants, businessmen and women, people whose word would normally be trusted.
New reports continue to come in, and perhaps they always will – after all, Faversham has a wealth of creaky old oak-framed houses, and the misty marshes are not far away. Maybe the people living here are more attuned or sensitive for some reason. Or maybe the ancient history of the place has left its mark in various intangible ways, as well as through the magnificent architecture and heritage of ‘the Market Town of Kings’.
These reports of ghosts have been collected into a book which was published in 1995 - Ghost Stories from Faversham - on sale at the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre. It has been reprinted several times and has led to further reportings, publications, investigations, tours and television coverage.