Ettington Park Hotel
Part of the Hand Picked Hotel group, the Etterington Park Hotel was the former home of the Shirley family, Lords of the Manor since the time of the Domesday Book. The current Neo-Gothic mansion building, which may stand on the site of a Roman villa, dates from the Victorian era and was designed by John Pritchard. It has had several uses apart from being a home. During 1935 it was a nursing home and following World War II a prisoner of war camp. In 1963 it starred as a setting the film ‘The Haunting’ by Robert Wise. Ravaged by fire in 1979 and briefly closed, the house was later renovated and became part of the Isis Hotel group. It has been a luxury hotel now since the early 1980’s and has an AA accredited 4 Red Star rating. With such a rich and varied history it is little wonder that the building has a reputation for being haunted.
The following 2006 article entitled ‘Ghostbusting at a haunted hotel’ appeared on the BCC website.
‘Martin Winch joined BBC Coventry & Warwickshire’s Rev Mervyn Roberts and Paul Marriott for an evening of ghostbusting at the very haunted Ettington Park hotel. Did they spot any spooks?
It’s no surprise that there is such a place in South Warwickshire. With so many villages mentioned in the Domesday Book myths and legends are bound to exist with ghosts aplenty having been spotted at this mansion-turned-hotel, owned by the Shirley family, over the years.
Ettington Park is an imposing Victorian mansion, frightening enough to look at without venturing inside. Its scary neo-gothic architecture make it look like the architypal haunted house – so much so it featured in the classic 1963 shocker The Haunting.
But it’s not just how it looks. There have been scores of reports over the years of mysterious sightings, sounds and experiences. Are there really ghosts at Ettington Park?
One Friday night we took our camera and other recording equipment with us as we explored every nook and cranny of the spooky building. Aided by Michael Kenny, a retired night manager who worked at the hotel for five years from 1997, we went into many of the rooms ……. all of which seemed to have a tale to tell.
There have been a number of ghosts and unexplained atmosphere’s experienced. Beginning as we did in the reception area, our guide explained how it was here that he had witnessed the phenomenon of a floating candle above the neo-Elizabethan oak mantelpiece. Kenny also continued with how he believed he had seen the ghost of Edward Shirley.
Once in the library we saw the book which had flown from the shelves one evening. Could it have been evidence of poltergeist activity?
Our guide recounted a couple of tales of oddities in the Great Drawing room. Listen to Kenny talk about the doors and curtains opening and shutting as well as the Edwardian lady found in the bay window.
So taken with this room were we that we spent much of the night there. Sadly, aside from the occasional snores of sleepy members in our ghostbusting team, nothing went bump in the night.
You can hear his ghostly tales by clicking the links below.
After nipping into the restaurant in the Oak Room where the ghost of Mary the servant girl is supposed to reside we went out to the church. It is here that the ghost of a monk has reportedly been spotted.
When we went back inside the main building we were joined by a couple of hotel guests who had changed their rooms the previous night because of noises that they had heard and a general feeling of unease. Previously oblivious to paranormal activity at Ettington, they joined us on the remainder of our ghost hunt which ended in the Long Gallery.
It was here that the mansion felt the coldest and the closest to feeling a sense of being watched.’
The above article shows that the hotel is reputedly haunted by several different ghosts in numerous locations. I have listed some of the reported experiences below.
Library – Moving books. Temperature changes. Female apparition. Male apparition dressed as a priest. Voices being heard and the sounds of a billiards game.
LongGallery – Apparition of military officer. Apparition of old lady. Temperature changes. Oppresive atmosphere.
Courtyard Suites Corridor – Apparition of a groundsman.
Conservatory – Apparition of a lady in Victorian dress. Sound of footsteps.
Reception – Candle seen hovering over mantle-piece. Apparition of a man and dog heading toward library. Perhaps this was Edward Shirley.
Oak Room Restaurant – Supposedly haunted by the ghost of Mary (servant girl).
Main Staircase – Haunted by Mary (see above) who died falling down them.
Drawing Room – Singing voices reported. Apparition of Edwardian lady (bare footed). Appartion of young boy. The curtains and doors have apparently opened and closed on their own.
Stour Corridor – Apparitions of a Grey Lady and a Monk. Also apparently haunted by two children thought to have drowned in the River Stour.
Stour Suite – Possibly haunted by the two children above.
Tower Suite Corridor – Apparition of Grey Lady.
Corridor by Long Gallery – Appartion thought to be that of John Pritchard.