Thurrock Local History Society, 15 February 2019
THE speaker for the February meeting of the Society was the ever popular Linda Rhodes; Linda worked for many years at Valence House and still continues to work there as a volunteer since her retirement. Linda’s talk this month was entitled “Ghosts and Graveyards in Barking and Dagenham”. Many of the old houses and public houses are reported to have ghosts, including the ghost of Alice de Valence who is said to wander around the grounds of Valence House.
Public houses seem to be favourite haunts of ghosts and other beings. Strange things have happened in the pubs. The Spotted Dog public house which was originally on an old site and rebuilt in 1870 was the favourite haunt of a gentleman called Pat Carey; he had drunk there for 75 years. When he died the pub clock stopped and never worked again. It is also said to be haunted by a young girl in a black dress with a white pinafore who hides keys and who guided an engineer out of the basement when he got lost down there.
At the Farmhouse Tavern jin Dagenham built in 1840 various ghosts dressed in Victorian clothes have been sighted. The screams of little chimney sweeps can be heard at The Bell House, which although it has a Georgian façade was originally built in 1435. At Parsloes Manor House, now demolished, the home of the Fanshawe family, ghosts have been heard rattling chains and moaning. Eastbury Manor House renown as the house where the Gunpowder Plot may have been hatched is said to be haunted by a young girl who fell down the spiral stairs in the turret. Guy Fawkes himself is supposed to haunt the Civic Centre which is now part of Coventry University.
Many of the local graveyards are said to be haunted, possibly because of the activities of the body snatchers or resurrection men who until the 1832 Act were busy in the area. The Congregational Church in Barking Broadway is said to be haunted by George Clark, a policeman who was murdered in the area. There have been many other reports of “ghostly” sightings and strange noises in the area.
The next meeting of the Thurrock Local History Society will be on Friday 15th March at the Adult Education College, Richmond Road, Grays.
The talk will be on Belhus and the Barrettt Lennards, the speaker being our Chairman Susan Yates. Meetings begin at 8.00pm and visitors are very welcome.