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Paranormal Tours: Lympne Castle, 3rd February 2007

Originally published February 2007

Lympne Castle © Lympne Castle

It would not be difficult to imagine Hercule Poirot wandering around the house and grounds that make up Lympne Castle during its renaissance between the wars.  A period when the wealth of the rich and famous descended upon this once forgotten corner of Kent turning it into an ‘English Riviera’.

Our investigation in February with Paranormal Tours was to this beautiful 13th Century Grade 1 listed building set high on a sandstone hill overlooking Romney Marshes.

It is now a private residence and one of Kent’s most popular venues for wedding receptions, corporate events and private functions. We were privileged to have the opportunity to investigate this fine historic location that has such a long history that dates back to Roman times.

Lympne proved a popular event that was sold out months before the investigation and some twenty four guests attended along with seven members of the PT crew, most of which we had not worked with before which was nice. The evening leading up to the vigils followed the usual format of introduction, workshop by Marlene, equipment talk, lit walk around the areas available to us with Marlene and talk by a local historian who provided a good deal of information mostly relating to more recent years. During this talk, Marlene and most of the PT crew went off around the building to set up the vigils. Marlene and her small group excitedly returned after spending some time in the old kitchen (now bar) off the medieval main hall with a very clear piece of EVP stating “The best is yet to come”. Of course this should not have been on her recording and she was rapidly promoted to queen of the EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) by Kerry of Paranormal Tours. Several other bits of recording were picked up during the vigils including “Dead man” in the tower which unsettled Jim of PT somewhat!

Marlene had a period of Trance when with a group in the Great Hall when male named Thomas who used to live there made himself known. No doubt a number of Thomas’s that are lost to history will have an association to the building, but of interest, the house was once occupied by Thomas a Becket. This was a very enthralling experience for many to see Marlene’s voice and face change for the very first time.

This event has also seen some of Marlene’s most significant site pre-linking to date with many items being confirmed and others that fall into the unconfirmed, but highly likely given what is known about the property and its occupants through its rich history.

It should be noted that Marlene has no prior knowledge of the site to be investigated before arrival other than the city or county to which she is going.

On the evening of 30th October 2006 Marlene linked into the above and recorded the following:

Stronghold / castle of some sort. Same sort of feeling I got when I was linking into Farnham Castle. Correct and dates from the same period.

Arms and legs – limbs…. Feel a rush with this… limbs in a castle…. Limb castle? Lympne Castle is pronounced phonetically as “limb”.

Battles fought here. Feel as if I am in a suit of armor – don’t know what date this would have been. Unable to confirm any record.

Would have been a main area at one time, but is no longer of local importance.
(Goes onto describe how Cuckfield, a local village, was the dominant local administrative centre before being overtaken in this capacity when the London to Brighton railway line was established and Haywards Heath then became focal point and grew accordingly.)

Is now a small village or town. This is quite correct, during the Roman to Medieval period this would have been safe landfall in the lagoon below the castle and centre for commerce with cross channel trade. Stone Street, an early Roman Road, runs from the escarpment that the castle sits upon direct to Canterbury which was a four hour horse back ride away.

Flat land, marshy, under water at some time. It overlooks Romney Marsh and the sea. It is known to have been flooded twice before and was deep enough to anchor / beach ships of that period.

Seeing Pevensey Castle and feel that is somehow around the corner? Correct Pevensey Castle is the next Roman fortification to the west and on the other side of what would have been mainly marsh land.

William and John link. Also links to Battle of Hastings. Seeing Battle Abbey. Landing or battle here. Unable to confirm, but quite likely as this is in the Norman period and a safe landing in the winter east winds.

Soldiers Stationed here during the war. 1st or 2nd – could be both. Correct. The old Lympne air field is very close and was used by The Royal Flying Corps before it became the RAF. The roof of the east tower was re-enforced during the Second World War and served as an observation post as the Calais coast is visible. V1 launches were spotted from here.

Stone steps going around in a spiral. Correct. To tower.

Some parts are in a poor state of repair and closed to the public awaiting repair / refurbishment. The Castle now appears in a good state of repair although we did not have access to all areas and could also refer to the ruins of the Roman Portus Lemanis at Stutfall – see below.

Very clear views of waterway / river / estuary / sea. All correct.

Head buzzing now. (Stops at this point.)

On the evening of 20th January Marlene linked in a produced the following:

Stronghold / fort / castle. Flint in original walls. Damaged / derelict then rebuilt – stones, but bricks to the back. Several layers (floors / levels) inside and out.

(Sketch drawn showing classic castle type shape with portcullis in middle. Also terrace type arrangement.) Seems part correct in respect of being rebuilt (1908) and is on several levels and is terraced outside.

1-3-6-3 not sure if these numbers are linked to a year / months etc but feel they are to do with ’time’ as apposed to a house / street number. Although historic in its own right, another place / site below to the front right – standing in front of the building with my back to it. St.—— Hall? (Not Stansted)! Romans? Caius or Pious? Building and grounds on several layers, but looking out onto flat ground – bit like Romney Marsh near Dungerness and Camber Sands which I went to as a child. The 1360’s are the main period of the castles development that we see today with Edwardian additions of 1908. The building referred to on the front right is the important Roman ruin of Portus Lemanis at Stutfall.

William of Orange (wish I knew more about history lol)! Keep, Keep. Don’t know about this but is it possible King James could have fled to France from here in 1689 after William marched on London?

Dawson or Daw son. Unknown.

Wooden steps and hand rail. Not seen?

Roman soldier seen on steps and on higher and lower levels. Has been reported.

Water surrounded the building / the flat land was covered in water at same time. See above.

John and Bishop – not necessarily the same person. Not confirmed, but from the Norman Conquest to 1860 the castle was in the ownership of the Archdeaconry.

Must be near the sea as I see cannon balls flying from a ship to the building – feel it now must be a castle. See above / unknown

Disagreement at sometime over who had the right to the keys of the castle. Unknown.

Keep seeing arms and legs, which become one limb – not sure what this means – a limb / an arm / a leg? Lympne.

See a strong box / trunk – black or dark grey metal – takes several men to carry it – something of great importance inside it. No information on this.

Winston Churchill. Unable to confirm, but quite possible.

Private residence – some parts in garden still not rebuild. Correct and it is quite possible the garden is not as grand as once was. The land to each side of the castle is subject to landslip.

Gate / door to place of containment – cell. Unknown

(Drawing of arched door way with spear shaped tops to wrought iron door.)

Slight slope up to main entrance. Unable to confirm.

Catherine. France links / hear limb pronounced “Leem” (sees arms and legs again) Very strong links with France.

Herald. Tapestry on (long) bugle? Gold carpeted area. Not confirmed

Stone steps (inside) rope banister. Correct.

Soldiers (world war). Film set at some time. Correct / No information.

Many years where not used but several centuries old, so many layers of history to peel away. During the later years the castle was used a farm with eventually decline into agricultural storage and was a near ruin by the 20th century.

Links with several ‘Henry’s’ but for some reason Henry IV keeps coming into my head. Certainly the correct medieval period (Henry IV 1367-1413) and it is known that the castle was subject to Royal and Continental visits that the required hospitality left the local community many growing seasons to recover from.

1905 / 1907 important period. The renaissance of the Castle, in 1905 Sir Robert Lorimar was commissioned to restore and extend the property, with completion in 1908. Without doubt this would have been the ’Riviera’ of Kent between the war years.

Woman in old fashioned nurse’s uniform. Very likely during WW2.

Lights seen in the past around the building and its grounds when it has been unoccupied – look like lanterns. Unable to confirm.

Links to smuggling too. Quite a colourful and chequered history.

The ‘Lamb’ / ‘The Ram’. Man in dirty black jacket, bad teeth, not a nice person, smuggler / cut throat. Murders on steps / terrace outside of building.

Important dates 1764, 1892, 1963. Unable to find specific records, but it is inconceivable that there are no links as it is recorded that by 1714 the majority of the Romney Marsh area was involved in smuggling! In 1710 the Mayfield Gang was the local group, but many others worked the area including the murderous Hawkhurst Gang (1735-1749). Smuggling continued to thrive until 1833 with the introduction of the Coast guard.







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