On a recent trip to the UK, I made the executive decision to surprise my wife with something that I KNOW would have been of interest to her. For those of you who don’t know her (thats 99.9% of you), one of her hobbies is the study of historic places that exhibit paranormal behavior. Don’t misinterpret, she is not one of those nut jobs running around on TV screaming their heads off when they hear a door creak. She is every bit the ‘analyst’ and simply enjoys the combination of history, legends and things that have no answer.
So in my infinite wisdom I did a bit of due diligence with the help of Google and Wikipedia and discovered the tiny hamlet of Pluckey located in the district of Kent in England. After further research, I found that the area around Pluckley was considered to be among the most ‘haunted’ regions that anyone could find in the UK. Plus, it was a very reasonable 1.5 hour train ride from London which would make for a perfect day trip. Everything that I read on Pluckley suggested that it would be a unique experience, especially for those with an interest in the paranormal.
So here I thought I was the good and occasionally considerate husband and promised her a great excursion that would focus completely on her interests (plane-spotting was a non-starter in Pluckey unfortunately). She loved the idea and off we went.
Well in short, I completely miscalculated most of the excursion. I failed to appreciate that most of the ‘good stuff’ as far as haunted forests and buildings are concerned were in the VICINITY of Pluckley, and not in Pluckley. The main attractions were anywhere from 2-10 miles from the village and without a car it would be impossible to ever seen them within a few hours. Additionally, I miscalculated the fact that she was not in a mood to walk 1.5 miles from the train station to the village on a 2 lane road that was not sympathetic to pedestrians, especially the American tourist kind……And of course she would not let me forget the fact that we would need to walk back the same 1.5 miles to the train station.
However all WAS NOT lost……
What we did discover was a beautiful old Church whose foundations date back to the 11th century. The St. Nicholas Church of the Canterbury Diocese has its history dating back to Norman times and according to what I’ve learned of the Church, not much has changed other than a few minor improvements to the building and grounds. According to the information I could find, the Church building’s foundation as it stands today dates back to the 13th century, having had replaced previous structures that preceded it. Also of note is the fact that the Church suffered extensive damage after a German V1 Flying Bomb struck nearby during World War II.
Unfortunately the Church was locked and we could not appreciate the interior, but we did spend quite some time walking through the cemetery which ultimately made our visit a memorable one. The cemetery has a certain beauty and mystique to it, as it holds hundreds of years of memorials for locals who are interred there.
No words that I can continue to type could explain what it felt like walking by tombstones dating back hundreds of years. Many of them have weathered so much that there was no way to tell how old they really were. The oldest legible ones dated back to the mid 18th century so I could only imagine how much older some of the other tombstones could have been. Mother nature has also had an influence on the cemetery which will bear out in some of the photos. If your travels take you to the Southwest of London, and you happen to be near the town, it’s certainly worth a visit especially if you have a car which will really allow you to appreciate the area! 😉
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