When you appreciate Athelhampton's complex history of ownership and its changes in fortune it is no wonder that Athelhampton is considered to be one of the most haunted houses in England. (source hauntedrooms.co.uk)
The Ghosts of Athelhampton
The Martyn Ape
As a trader Sir William Martyn would have access to ships returning to port from
all over the new world. It is reported that on one such occasion an Ape was imported and came to live as a pet at Athelhampton.
The Martyn's were a Catholic family living during Tudor times, whilst tolerated, these were dangerous times. One of the daughters attempted to marry outside of the Catholic church but was forbidden, she decided to hide in a secret room behind the paneling in the Great Chamber, unnoticed by her, the ape followed her in and when she later emerged the ape became stuck and starved to death.
The Martyn Ape is reportedly seen in the Great Chamber sitting looking into your eyes, and at night scratching is heard behind the paneling...
This great ghost hunting TV show, hosted its first sleepover at Athelhampton with Yvette Fielding and Derek Acorah, this was a spine chilling episode.
Its a few years old now, but easily found on streaming services and YouTube
The Grey Lady
A ghostly lady is often seen, again often in the Great Chamber, who she is, is unknown, but we consider her to be a later ghost as she is seen in the passages and corridors of the house that were built after 1650.
She is seen on occasion passing through walls on the upper floor, she does not interact with the viewer in any way and appears to be friendly.
The wife of James Long Esq died in her bed from fright after tackling debt collectors, could this be the Grey Lady?
The Hooded Priest
A figure in a dark hooded cloak is often seen walking down the drive and through the Great Hall. It is likely that the Martyn family would have worshipped in private.
There is no interaction from this ghost and he is usually just caught out of the corner of the eye, could this be their Catholic priest?.
In the '20s built Northwing, there was significant activity in the late 1990s.
Doors would slam, doors would lock, lights would switch themselves off, drawers would drop out of chests, beds would be stripped of their covers while occupied and a door would only unlock when the spirit was asked nicely.!
Children would often have a bad feeling in these rooms.
Professional assistance was used to allow this mischievous spirit to move on and there has not been a repetition since.
The Other Ghosts
Two swordsmen have reportedly been seen in the Great Hall on a few occasions.
William Martyn was the collector of wine duty in Poole and we know that some wine was stored at Athelhampton. The wine cellar door was widened to accommodate barrels and it is from this room that 'Tap, tap, tap, metal on metal' can be heard'.
Reported a few times in the gardens is the fleeting sighting of a soldier, reports differ on the uniform, but likely one of the World Wars. Troops were billeted at Athelhampton in the run-up to D-day, could this be an explanation?
A recent newcomer to Athelhampton, a lady who says "hello". Perhaps with the sale of Athelhampton's furniture, some upset has been caused. Three staff members since July this year, lone working, have been spoken to by this woman's voice.
Seen by two visitors in 2018, the bride was described as dressed in an out-of-fashion dress.
One visitor asked the Reception staff if there was a wedding, and the other commented on seeing the bride and that they did not go further as the assumed she would be disturbing a photoshoot in the gardens. On that day there was no wedding, no photoshoot and certainly no bride.