Pluckley Thorne

Pluckley

Pluckley is a village and civil parish in the Ashford District of Kent, United Kingdom. It is located close to the North Downs, and is approximately 5 miles (8 km) west of Ashford. One part of the village is called Pluckley Thorne.

References to Pluckley can be found in the Domesday Book, at which time it was a more significant settlement than the now considerably larger town of Ashford.

The village is approximately 5 miles (8 km) from the nearest junction of the M20 motorway, is served by Pluckley railway station, about 1.25 miles (2 km) to the south and lies on the long distance walking route, the Greensand Way and close to the Stour Valley Walk.

Pluckley has two particular claims to fame: the ITV drama series, The Darling Buds of May, was filmed there; and it is said to be the most haunted village in Britain. It is reputed to have twelve (possibly thirteen or fourteen) ghosts. These are:

  • The spectre of the highwayman speared to a tree at Fright Corner;
  • A phantom coach and horses, apparently manifesting the vicinity of Maltman's Hill;
  • The ghost of a Gypsy woman who burned to death in her sleep;
  • The black ghost of a miller haunting the ruins of a windmill near "The Pinnocks";
  • The hanging body of a schoolmaster in Dicky Buss's Lane;
  • A colonel who hanged himself in Park Wood;
  • The screaming ghost of a man being smothered by a wall of clay at the brickworks;
  • The Lady of Rose Court, who is said to have eaten poisoned berries in despair over a love triangle;
  • The Phantom Monk of "Greystones", a house built in 1863. There is a suggestion he may have been the unrequited love object of the Lady of Rose Court;
  • The White Lady of Dering, a young woman apparently buried inside 7 coffins and an oak sarcophagus who haunts the chuchyard of St. Nicholas's Church;
  • The Red Lady, reputedly an earlier member of the same ancient Dering family who also haunts St Nicholas'. The legend of the Red and White Ladies seem to overlap. A third ghost has apparently also been reported in the same place.
  • The Screaming Woods, an area of forest outside of town supposedly haunted by the ghosts of many who became lost in the woods. It was given it's name because you can supposedly still hear their screams from inside the forest at night.

Three other buildings in the village are also apparently haunted.

Pluckley was also featured on an episode of BBC's 'Top Gear'. Two of the presenters, James May and Richard Hammond, were filming a review of Smart's new ForFour. The presenters spent 24 consecutive hours in the car, sleeping in a car park in the 'Screaming Woods'. Pluckley was also featured on an episode of Sunday Night Project where Justin Lee Collins and Alan Carr with their guest host Will Young investigated a mill in Pluckley and also stayed in a tent overnight in the 'Screaming Woods'.

One of Pluckley's more recent (and lesser known) claims to fame is that although it is very small it has two independent coffee producers located in the village - there is a small gourmet coffee roastery on Forge Hill (CoffeeBeanShop.co.uk), and a coffee and tea merchant at Pivington Mill (Kent Tea & Trading Company)

Ghost Hunters International recently did three investigations in Pluckley.

Sir Edward Dering, 1st Baronet is buried here. The Dering Manuscript the earliest extant manuscript text of any Shakespearean play,was discovered at Surrenden Manor, Pluckley, Kent. The manuscript provides a single-play version of both Part 1 and Part 2 of Henry IV. The consensus of Shakespeare scholars is that the Dering MS. represents a redaction prepared around 1613, perhaps for family or amateur theatrics, by Edward Dering (1598-1644), of Surrenden Manor, Pluckley, Kent.

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