Everyone loves a good Ghost story especially when they are, relatively speaking, on your doorstep. Coming up to Halloween, what better way to mark the occasion by telling a few ghost stories from the local area? When I started researching this article I assumed there would be maybe a couple of stories, but it seems Waterlooville and its immediate surrounding area has quite a wealth of ghostly sightings. Whatever you believe, they certainly make fascinating reading:
Hopfield House, Maralyn Avenue, Waterlooville
A very famous haunting listed in many official publications. Hopfield House is a Victorian Gothic style house which stands ominously at the end of Maralyn Avenue. Once a countryside retreat has now been converted into flats, the house was originally built by a man called Edward Fawkes and resented the idea of anyone living in the house apart from his direct descendants. It is said that Fawkes’ spirit haunts the building and at one time drove two previous owners to commit suicide by making their life intolerable. As a resident of Waterlooville, I had never seen Hopfield House and for the purposes of this story I had to visit to take a picture. I’d have to say that, although the house is now clearly converted into flats it is strikingly ominous and has quite a presence along Maralyn Avenue – I actually found it eerie and even quite intimidating.
Hulbert Road, Waterlooville
There are many similar stories regarding the ghost of young girl hitch-hiker either standing in The Hulbert Road or waiting for a lift by the side of the road. The young girl is said to be the ghost of a hitch-hiker who was hit by a car along the road in 1976. Some stories reportedly see a girl in the centre lane of oncoming traffic and horrified drivers think they’ve hit her. One driver gave a lift to a young girl from The Hulbert Road on a rainy night, when he arrived at the given address only a wet seat remained whether the girl had sat – she had faded away before the driver reached the destination.
So the story goes, that an old animal Drover (a person who moves livestock), hanged himself on an oak tree in the 1850s. Legend has it that he a brooding man smoking a pipe and when he disappears the smell of tobacco remains in the air.
I have personally smelt tobacco smoke on this road – but there was nobody around.
Merchistoun Hall, Horndean
With an lovely old, grade II listed house like this it would be disappointing if there wasn’t ghost stories attached to it! Indeed, there are many sightings from this beautiful old house and there are regular ghost tours.
Merchistoun Hall’s history dates back to the 1660s and was at one point, owned by Admiral Napier. The building is now owned by Horndean Community Association, and it was purchased in the 1950’s using funds donated by local residents.
As far as ghost stories go there are many, but Admiral Napier himself is said to roam his bedroom; his dark figure with flaming red eyes staring at you. Apparently there is a grey hooded figure wandering the grounds as well.
I’ve not seen anything unusual at Merchistoun Hall but I have spoken to many that have seen apparitions.
Colonial Bar, Horndean
The Colonial Bar in Horndean was previously called the The Good Intent, and before that The Woodman. The building has been in Horndean since at least the early 1800s, so inevitably there is the odd Ghost story attached to it. There are various anecdotes and tales which include a sighting of a female figure wearing Victorian clothing with a distinctive skirt bustle. This apparition is known as the ‘Grey Lady’, and is said to walk across dance floor area of the pub. Mysterious footsteps have been heard around the building when staff have been working alone.
Red Lion, Horndean
There are a many stories from this very old pub in Horndean:
- An old lady has been seen frequently over the years, especially on the staircase.
- A dress was once stolen from a past owner and the next day she found it ripped up under her bed.
- A waitress is said to have seen a glass smashing and the ghost of an elderly woman disappearing.
- There are many reports of doors opening and closing, latches lifting and then dropping.
- An old woman is said to have taken her life from a room upstairs and people have reportedly felt the ‘urge’ to jump from the window in the ‘suicide room’.
- Many patrons and resident have also sensed they have been ‘touched’ by an unseen presence.
- There are also reports of a lively spirit of a young ‘roughly dressed and in the style of a street tart’ who can be seen singing or laughing in the old part of the pub.
Ship and Bell, Horndean
Originally built from wood, the Ship and Bell burnt down and was re-built in the current Victorian style in 1869. There is said to be a ghost of an army officer. The owner of the pub was stopped in the staircase by this ghostly spectre.
What are your sights and spirits of Waterlooville? We’d love to know!
Happy Halloween everyone!