Haunted Walthamstow and Chingford

Martin Belam  by Martin Belam, 8 September 2005

Followers of this site will know that my wife and I are no strangers to traipsing around bits of London looking for the locations of alleged hauntings - in fact currybetdotnet even has a Ghost Walks category. In all these trips though we have never investigated the haunted heritage of where we live and where I was born - Waltham Forest. So finding ourselves at a loss for somewhere exotic to stay over the bank holiday weekend, and wanting to spend some time walking and talking together, we put together our own haunted tour of Walthamstow and Chingford.

We started off at Saint Mary's Church near Walthamstow Village. Whilst we could not ascertain that this was haunted, it lies in the heart of an old graveyard, which contains some Grade II listed graves, and has been the subject of paranormal investigation. According to a local newspaper article from July 2004:

A pair of ghostbusters are coming to Waltham Forest to capture spooks on film.

Paranormal investigator by night Sandi Monarque, 36, will be visiting Vestry House and St Mary's Church in Walthamstow Village with her photographic assistant Seth Farren.

...

She said: "I am not a psychic, I can't speak to spirits. I research the place, go and visit, speak to people and when we see the pictures we know we have seen a ghost."

Mr Farren, a teacher in Waltham Forest, said he had been a sceptic until he started taking pictures.

He claims to have photographed colourful globes of spirit energy hovering in the air, the faint outline of a man standing in a window, and clouds of mist hanging above gravestones.

He said: "I, like a lot of people, was sceptical, but these pictures have blown me away. I hope to find more ghosts in this area."
St Marys Church, Walthamstow

Our next stop was outside Walthamstow School for Girls on Church Hill. The evidence I found for this being haunted was pretty flimsy, relying on the internet testimony of a pupil, who claimed that:

Five buildings make up the school, one of them being the old house, which was once a church vestry and is said to be haunted. It is not very likely you will see the ghost. I never have!

Our walk then took us down past Walthamstow Central, to something that wasn't a haunting, but was a cryptozoology report in the local paper from 2001.

The big cat known as the Beast of Ongar has been spotted in Walthamstow near the marshes.

A dark, silky-sleek figure of a panther or puma was spotted going through bins near houses in St James Village, a block of flats near Low Hall Lane, on Saturday, at 7.30pm. A woman was sitting in her car waiting for her son when she spotted the animal walk past her round the corner to some bins.

Big cat experts claim the animal may be living on the marshes and making food raids on local houses.

The resident, of Downsfield Road, Walthamstow, who saw the beast, said: "It came to the front of the car. It looked like a dog but with the face of a cat and it had a long tail. It was as big as a fox. "I thought this is a huge animal. It was looking for food and rooting around. I must admit I was not really scared even though I recognised it was a puma.

Being around the Low Hall area also took us past the Steam & Transport museum. I'm actually yet to visit it, but the next open days are October 13th & 14th this year, when my wife will be away for the weekend, so I think I might just manage to pay it a visit then ;-)

Next up was Leucha Road. In May 2003 this made the local news when a resident reported to the council that his house was haunted:

Mr Nembhard, 41, said: "I have to leave the television on as this seems to calm the ghosts down, and I can't sleep because I feel a presence that keeps me awake."

The first time the welder saw the ghost was while he was lying in bed and trying to get some sleep. He says he started to feel strange and it was as if someone was passing through him. The image he saw was a blonde woman, aged in her 20s or 30s.

The second encounter took place while Mr Nembhard was standing in his kitchen. He claims he saw someone pass quickly. He thought it was his sister but she was upstairs the whole time.

It seems the council at the time were pretty unsympathetic:

A council spokeswoman said: "Unfortunately, in this situation there is little that the council can do to help in practical terms.

"Any physical problems with the property or services provided by the council should be reported to the housing department."

It was also left unclear what the neighbours who hadn't experienced the ghost thought of his television being left on 24/7.

Our walk covered quite a bit of distance, so for our next destination we caught the 158 bus from St James Street in order to get off at the Sinnott Road stop on Billet Road. Waiting at St James Street is one of the grimmer areas in Walthamstow, and so we spent an uncomfortable ten minutes sandwiched between a branch of Cash Converters and the bus stop, listening to someone from one of the flats above blaring out the second 'The Streets' album at full volume to the general bemusement of passers-by.

Once we'd got off the bus we walked to Cooper Avenue, to visit the street where another council house had apparently had visitations. According to a report on the Paranormal Database in 1969:

Shortly after moving in, a family demanded to be relocated after a white lady manifested in front of a four year old boy and ordered the child to leave. The family dog refused to enter the boy's bedroom.

From there we headed to what is known as The Crooked Billet roundabout, named after a pub that disappeared to be replaced by a church when I was a youngster. I never visited it (too young), mind you, I've never visited the replacement Church either (too Godless). I do still remember the illuminated signs for Skol and Double Diamond that adorned the pub during my youth though - that's naff brand penetration for you.

In any case, back in June this year a house near there had been the subject of a paranormal investigation by the team at the Eerie Investigations website.

A family in Walthamstow who had recently moved house contacted us regarding concerns which they had about the property. Numerous paranormal phenomena had occurred and been witnessed by multiple family members and friends both individually and in groups. These included; doors which had no locks "locking" closed, DVD cases opening and closing by themselves, books moving across the room, sudden icy-cold blasts of air being felt - despite the house being double-glazed and the windows closed - and frequent occurrences of strong odours of cigarettes and whisky being smelled, although all of the house-residents are non-smokers and non-drinkers.

After investigating the local area and talking to neighbours we determined that the previous tenant had been a heavy smoker and a whisky drinker, and that the events had started to happen after the new family had begun modernising and re-decorating the house. We took with us the famous local medium Alma Butler and interviewed Alma and the residents. Our monitoring equipment noted EMF spikes in some areas of the house, particularly one window which faced onto the street. Without being told this, Alma immediately told us that she could see the previous owner's spirit standing in this area. Alma performed a spirit-clearance, communicating with the spirit and asking to it move on. Since this date, there have been no further occurrences of any phenomena and the family feel that the house is now completely normal.

We then caught our next bus, towards the cemetery at Chingford Mount. This is reputed to be haunted by a ghost on horseback, who sometimes dismounts so that their footsteps are heard. According to "Ghosts Of The South-East" by Tony Ellis:

Romantics suggest that this could be Lord Nelson or the overworked spirit of Dick Turpin but it is more generally thought that the ghost is that of a member of the Royal hunting parties that used to frequent the area many years ago before it was turned into a cemetery.
Chingford Mount Cemetery

We didn't have a spooky experience in the cemetery, but we did observe a lot of playful activity by the local squirrel population, one of whom threw something down from a tree at my wife, much to my amusement.

We then got back on a bus and headed towards our ultimate destination, The Royal Forest Hotel by Chingford Station.

The Royal Forest Hotel, Chingford

Before going in there we dropped into the Hunting Lodge, which I have to confess I have never visited before. The building was used as a grandstand for royalty and nobility to watch the progress of hunts through Epping Forest. I hadn't realised that the forest was only opened to the public around 150 years ago. The Lodge is now run by the Corporation Of London, and the information in the exhibit is really good - even down to the fact that when first designed it had to have a specifically designed extra wide staircase to allow portly Tudor monarchs to make their painfully slow way upstairs. There is also a dressing up box to allow you to get yourself up in some Tudor gear. I think it is aimed at children but we naturally couldn't resist :-)

The Hunting Lodge, Chingford    A Tudor Feast in the Hunting Lodge

Tudor Statues in the Hunting Lodge    A Hunting Trophey in the Hunting Lodge

Our trip ended in The Royal Forest Hotel. A characterless pub serving identikit food for people who have never eaten out before - I say this because on each table they have some forms to fill in where you write down what your order is to ensure that you don't forget it in the seconds it takes to get from your table to the bar. It is also a pub that is meant to be haunted.

The local paper ran an article about it in September 2003 according to ghosts-uk.net:

While some diners and drinkers might describe the Royal Forest Hotel as their "favourite haunt", the expression has taken on a whole new meaning for staff.

Manager Jo McCormack and his team believe the spirit of a woman they call Mary is causing them difficulties. Mr McCormack said: "Mary manifests herself in various ways."

Common occurrences include lights and cookers being on without any electricity supply, or dogs barking for no reason. "One member of staff, who used to live upstairs, moved out because he felt someone was staying in the room and even felt that person sitting at the end of the bed. But when he looked, there was no-one there."

The staff and Brewers Fayre, which owns the pub restaurant in Rangers Road, Chingford, is keen to hear from anyone who can provide information about the disastrous fire of 1912 which they believe may be at the root of the alleged haunting.

The hotel was built and opened in 1890 to provide for the many Londoners who started to come out to Chingford to enjoy Epping Forest after it was fully opened to the public in 1882. Tea gardens, pubs and other places of refreshment were developed to cater for them.

There is also a personal testimony about the events in the pub on the Eerie Investigations site:

Currently I am working in a pub in North Chingford. The building has a lot of history and a history of burning down (which I think it has done now twice). The last time it burnt down a few people were killed, one being a lady - she is the ghost we think we have here. I think she haunts the basement and the 2nd level.

Well I was down in the basement bottling up at night (all of us don't really like being in there on our own) and I had called a friend from the upstairs to keep me company. Anyway she came down and we were talking about the ghost (we know her as "Mary") and in the middle of the bottling up room there is a line of bottles. Just as she was talking about Mary a bottle flew out of its packing and landed on the floor with a bang, giving us the fright of our lives. Another time I was down there on my own changing the coke over and I could feel some one intensely watching me from behind, I couldn't stop looking over my shoulder and feeling scared. A lot of people feel they are being followed around the basement and up the stairs.

Of course we didn't have anything paranormal happen to us, but I was impressed with how much information we could find out about alleged hauntings in the Waltham Forest area with only a couple of hours research on the internet. Mind you, that only served to show how easy it might be to spoof being a psychic.

We finished off our evening by dining at Le Monde on Station Road - which was a shame. Although it looked nice from the outside, and the food was fine, their idea of ambience was playing Ronan Keating's Greatest Hits, and it was priced at what it aspired to be, rather than what it actually was.

27 Comments

You should have visited Highams Park Lake where the Grey Lady is supposed to be found wandering the shore of the lake looking for her lost soul...or something like that. There's also a ghost that lives in Selwyn Junior School who moves things around and finally there is also supposed to be a ghost that walks along the Ching ally round the back of the Dog track.

highams park lake has anyone else seen pure white deer with large antelers and white eyes opposite where the old tree grows sideways from the ground behind the park
no feelings of cold or anything like that as the weather was cold but the deer appeared to have a mist around it and either no eyes or pure white eyes i canot be sure as i was on the oppersite bank of the lake but this animal had no signs of dirt or marks you;d expect on a wild animal and was almost a shiney white , i thought it may be an albino deer but then the eyes would have been pink
it walked along the ban and then turned and dissappeare in to the thicket

The deer was spotted in late 1920s by high beach

I lived in the Grange Flats Lynmouth Road Walthamstow i saw a ghost in my bedroom it was 1970 I was Eleven years old this ghostly woman was solid with pale skin she was dressed in black had long dark hair long black dress with a white cord around her waist she looked like a nun her sleeves were wide she sat at the end of my bed and tried to get close to me but was pulled back by an un seen force this entity said Do You Know who I am this happend very early hours of the morning I have never for got this experience

Really good article. Just to let you know I heard Leytonstone School, is haunted, my sister said a ghostly army fellow opened the doors for her and her friend in the basement of the school, some history worth looking into I guess. This was in the late 80's/early 90's.

Loads of stories about High Beech too, I remember one in the Yellow Advertiser I think about 1993 about a Black Schuck Devil hound jumping on to a man's car, he almost crashed.


Great article

Cheers

J

Heard a rumour about some very old HIDDEN tunnels under chesnut house on hoe street walthamstow. Alfred Hitchcock hotel near the green man roundabout supposed to be haunted. A friend of mine claims to have seen a floating beastly figure one night at st marys church graveyard, also heard a rumour about a forgotten princess buried in the cemetary. Top floor of the william morris looks really spooky but access may be difficult. My old house on Diana road near lloyds park and w. morris gallery is definatly haunted.

high beech church see a small hooded figure which i can honestly say disturbed me and my friend for years, it was seen in the middle of the road approx 4am, 1994,i never forgot it, pure evil

My uncle lived in Walthamstow village a few years ago - he claimed he saw what he described as a "vampire" like figure walk past him late one night near the church. He described it as something like the old Nosferatu vampire from the black and white movie - with a large bald head. He said another man saw it too as it went past - he reckoned it scared both of them rigid!

Hi after reading your searches for the paranormal in Walthamstow brought memories of a house we lived in back in 1960 the address was 52 Victoria Road this place was haunted by several ghosts I saw my first one of lady dressed in 20's style clothes when I was about 10 but the strangest thing was the music very high brow and the choir's singing this is the days before high fi etc my brother told me he also heard it but as soon as we sat up in bed it would stop if ever a place needed checking out it was that place Regards Tony Waters

I think in my opinion High Beach is one those haunted places that makes your balls drop and the hairs at the back of your neck standk on end, iv been there twice, and i felt as though it was a place of despair. it is kind of hard to explain, but if you went there, it does not matter if you are the leanest meanest person ever, you will be terrified to the verge of tears. there is a place there called Hangman Hill, the story of that is a group of three men had committed a terrible crime in the 1800s, but the government ended up accusing the wrong three men. these three innocent men were hung at the top of this hill, and the ropes and brackets are still there to this day. if you drive half way up the hill, stop the car and turn it off, handbrake up and place your foot firmly on the footbrake, your car will continue to glide up the hill, with no sound of the tires.
there is also a graveyard where smoke sets around the gravestone by night, absolutely pulse raising.
and i am telling you all this from personal experience. High beack is just off the A road that leads to Loughton. Make sure you are armed if and when you go there. Please make sure that no siblings are taken on this trip, i am a grown man and i have nightmares of the place.

I have been to hangmans hill many times and i have never seen anything. There is no ropes on the top of the trees where you stop. The only thing next to the tree on the right hand side (drivers side) is a gate where horses are. This is a busy place as many people are tying the same thing out. Yes you do roll up a hill but people claim its because its a hill apon a hill. The smoke near the graveyard is right as when i went there it was like thick fog and u do loose your signal on your phone. There are many weird houses placed in epping forest but nothing that i have ever seen thats ghostly. People do over react to a dark forest but i have truely never seen anything! its all myths i think

Really good site. Does anyone know what was built on the land before the Grange Flats in Lynmouth Road Walthamstow? I'm the one who had the ghost of a woman dressed in black cloth appear to me in solid form. I was 11yrs old in 1970

Interesting site - i have been looking for any information of hauntings in West Avenue road E17, my mother lived there years ago (prob around late 60's) and had many experiences, other relatives did too. they lived at number 33. there was sightings of what looked like an old head master, children giggling on the stairs and my mum was forced against a wall once whilst cleaning a hall way which in turn cut the backs of her hands on the artex walls (same happened to her mother at a later date).
Would be interested in any history of this building,

I was born in Chingford 1936.My parents home was 50 metres from the forest edge,the forest was my playground and I claim to have covered every inch many many times over. With my dogs over the years I would have spent many nights setting snares and traps .The "White Stag" was a bit of a legend and although had never sighted it I have spoken to Royal Foresters who assured me of the existence of white deer which were considered a pest as they could cross with the normal deer and spoil the breed. I left Chingford in 1959 for Australia, at that time I had a WW2 Jeep and decided that I would have one last look at my beloved forest.That night I drove up to High Beech/Beach and parked in one of my special spots where I knew that the deer would most likely pass, after some hours I heard the sound of animals passing through the dead leaves in front of me I switched on the headlights and there not 50 meters away was a white stag, I feel sure that he wanted me to see him as he stood stock still for ten seconds or so before he bounded away. He was real not a ghost because I followed his tracks with a torch for some distance. In conclusion, I have spent hundreds of hours around the High Beech/Beach area night and day and never saw or felt anything unaccountable, sorry to spoil your fantasies.

J commented on the school in leytonstone I went to the former Cardinalwiseman Junior High School which was a very old school and had a reputation of being haunted after being left vacant and reopened 1969 a ghost in military uniform was seen in the stairway
arround that date in the 1980s the school was in Leyton High Road next to st patricks cemetary its not there now

I have heard about a boarded up house/building somewhere in epping forest, and if u get inside it there are hidden tunnels underneath that run through epping, would like to know about it

THE BUILDING YOUR THINKING OF IS COPPED HALL. IT IS A FACINATING PLACE AN OLD BURNT OUT MANOR HOUSE WHICH YOU CAN SEE FROM THE M25 AFTER THE BELL COMMON TUNNEL (TOWARDS LONDON). A LONG TIME AGO YOU WAS ABLE TO CLIMB UP THROUGH THE 2ND FLOOR WINDOWS AN GET IN BUT SINCE IT HAS BEEN COMPLETELY BOARDED UP AND HAVING SOME SORT OF RESTORATION WORK. THERE IS/ARE TUNNEL/S AS ME AND MY FRIENDS WOULD OFTEN EXPLORE THE BUILDING AND ONE OF THE TUNNELS BUT WE DIDN'T VENTURE FAR ENOUGH TO KNOW IF THEY WENT OUT OF THE GROUNDS. COMING ACROSS A DEAD CROW VERY FAR ALONG THE PASSAGE WAS ENOUGH TO SCARE US SENSLESS, SCREAMING AND RUNNING TILL NATURAL LIGHT REPLACED THE TORCH GLOW. I WOULD STILL RECOMMEND GOING FOR A WALK UP THERE IT IS IN A TRUELY STUNNING POSITION AND I THINK THEY HAVE OPEN DAYS OCCASIONALY.

I live in high beech the house i live in was once a pub , the old plough pub, mott street, it is some 300yrs old. my husband has had a weired experience, one of my step children will no longer stay over night due to what she saw in the night, my own 2 older children have seen a boy and a girl walk past their bedroom, many people stop outside our house and say i used to drink in there when it was a pub, you have ghosts in there, but they always tell us they are friendly ones. our dinning room is the old bar area, when either of our dogs come into this room on a feww occassions have started barking put their tails down and run out. i have been told someone used to live in the garden in a caravan, the caravan caught light and they were burnt alive. I would love to know all the history and have more photos, still have not found out if there is a cellar

Iv seen that same ghost, a car infront went right through it and did'nt see a thing but stopped because they felt they had hit something. Right next to the church. I thought it was kids messing around in the tree's and told my boyfriend to slow down. This figure than started darting backwards and forward's at an extremely unrealistic pace before it finally went through the fence/wall of the church and stopped by a white cross before vanishing. It was short but off the ground and wearing a black hooded cloak, we were terrified and stopped at the pub on the roundabout to ask if anyone else had seen this, the lady said lot's have reported hitting something to the police in the same place but not seeing what it was. Iv seen spirit before but not like that and not with my sceptic boyfriend (who could not sleep without lights on for 3 months after) and 2 complete strangers in another car. I will never ever forget it.

Reading J comments about army fellow opening door, I was at Leytonstone school 80s/90s, my friend and me were walking up the stairs coming from the basement where the girls changing rooms were. When we approached the doors they opened up for us very slowly there was no draught around us, we walked through in silence I turned round to look couldn't see anything or anyone, then the doors slowly closed again. The school was haunted I found one of the rooms on the top floor to be cold and I would not be alone in that room actually I would not want to be alone anywhere in that school.

Another school was Leyton Manor High School, this school has be demolished made into a park. I know this school was definitely haunted. One time that really freaked me out was when my maths teacher who was strict kept few girls behind after class made us scrub the desks. My teacher wanted me to go get some water from the art room that was on the next floor up across the other side. I wanted someone to come with me but she wouldn't allow it. So I made my way up the stairs as I was walking down the long corridor, I heard footsteps I stopped, the footsteps stopped I turned round to see if it was one of the other girls joining me, there was no one there. I carried on walking and I heard the footsteps again, I started running and I heard the footsteps getting faster too. I ran into the art room and closed the door and waited. Nothing came I was upstairs for half an hour until someone came up to ask why I was taking so long. I was afraid to ever go up to the third floor alone, and I won't forget that incident in a hurry.

Shillo

is that the school that used to be in goodall road

i live in empress ave in chingford not far from the dog stadium and i have experienced some things going on in my home like the the smell of burning tobacco and nobody else can smell it except me and it always in one room at the back of the house near the garden.i have also heard noises of someone crying and i have also seen a white figure in my garden at night. i also noticed every time i walk up the stairs i feel a very cold breeze of air.

Hi The School that I went to you had to walk to caldron Road E11 it was next to ST Patricks cemetuary it is now houses the school gates are still there thats the school that was haunted and referring to the ghost dressed in milletary uniform

I was interested to read your comment as my dad lived at 4 West Avenue from the 1930s to early 1960s and he told me the same story about the school teacher when I was young in the 70s. He also told me of a lot of paranormal activity in their house and my mum was also "attacked" by a ghost around 1966 in that house. So your story is very intersting indeed as it parallels my dad's encounters in many ways.

I'm currently living in West Avenue Road (not in any of the houses listed above) and can confirm strange goings on here experiences by myself, family and visitors such as lights flickering, banging, people being pushed, things moving, scared pets, scared children, scared friends, ghost sightings, temp changes... the list goes on and on.

Our old neighbour used to tell us his place was haunted as well... so it's very interesting to hear similar stories.

I'm starting to think there's something in the water!

Me and a few friends went to High Beech late at night to check it out and pretty much scare ourselves silly. Me being the stupid one tried to sneak up behind my friends to scare them. What happened next was stupidly scary. A hand touched my shoulder from behind and when I looked back there was no one. I walked faster towards my friend and could hear footsteps behind me. Never shall I go there again. Or maybe!!!

The former club house of Orion Harriers behind the Royal Forest Hotel from 1911 to 2010 is allegedly haunted. Members have spoken of footsteps on the stairs at the dead of night.

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