Steeped in heritage, these historic buildings have borne witness to so many lives and passions through the centuries that ghostly goings-on and spooky sightings are commonplace.
Take the Grade II listed Petts Farmhouse. Originally built in the 1700s, it was located south of Burham, just four miles from here. In 1995, derelict and abandoned, it was dismantled piece by piece, repaired and reconstructed here at Kent Life.
It has been at the centre of some strange and unaccountable mysteries. When it was dismantled, a clay pipe, a bone-handled knife and a child’s shoe, dated to between 1850 and 1875, were among various objects found hidden in the walls and floors.
It’s believed that the shoe may be evidence of a Victorian superstition of hiding shoes to protect the house from evil spirits. Perhaps most disturbing was the sudden appearance of a wooden doll on the floor of the house. Her mutilated body was found with arms, legs and hair cut away and circling her neck was a scarf wrapped like a noose!
The tragic tale of a young couple, Sid Alexander and his young wife Rebecca, and their new-born child Babs, who lived at Petts Farmhouse in 1912 might explain the desperate weeping that has been heard upstairs and the shadow sometimes seen at the upstairs window.
Sid took his wife and baby out for a ride in the horse and trap one day. However, the horse had not been exercised for three days, as Sid was a lazy man and as they returned home, the horse shied and the cart overturned throwing the baby onto a grassy bank, saving her life.
Rebecca was not so lucky, she was fatally injured. It is said that her desolate wailing and pleading to hold her baby again can be heard from the upper floor of the farmhouse.
From haunted houses to ghostly midnight wanderers. There have been multiple sightings of mysterious characters wandering the paths of Kent Life after dark, including:
Robed monks – the site was originally the site of 12th Century Boxley Abbey.
A distraught young nurse searching for a World War II German fighter pilot, who she fell in love with as she tended to him in what are now the tearooms.
‘The strangers’, who are thought to be hoppers buried in unmarked graves, searching for their rightful home.
A girl wandering around the pond, who was left behind to perish when Gypsy caravans moved on without her.
A benign figure watching from the window of Sandling Farmhouse, believed to be the last tenant George Brundle watching over his farm.