Since 2011, we have organised Field Place’s paranormal events twice a year. We have recorded some fascinating experiences with our guests. We have had the pleasure of being accompanied by Dr Ciaran Okeeffe twice at this venue, Field Place is a spectacular place by day and a spooky location by night with the main Manor house, a stable block and two barns.
Field Place seems to have many ghost attached to it in its various locations. There have been several ghost investigations where the contact so to speak is consistent. In the pavilion and barn areas, there seems to be a game or grounds keeper. In the stables area and in the main house a younger woman perhaps a teenage girl has communicated on several events. Upstairs, occasionally it seems spirits of children are detected and in the back room the spirit of a more recent military man. The most famous ghost of Field Place is of an older lady in a victorian dress. She has been spotted in the daytime and on into the night by visitors and staff although so far she has eluded our cameras.
To the right is what is known as the Kinect experiment. It uses a Kinect head unit wired up to a laptop running a motion sensing and mapping software. If it detects what it thinks is a person, it will show a stick man. On the picture on the right taken at Field Place, you will see that our guest (green shape) appears not to be alone… can you see the small stick figure behind our guest?
Here are some shots taken by one of our guests using the thermal imaging camera at Field Place back in 2013. You will see a lady (orange) but look behind her and you will see a blue figure move in the background over the sequence of shots.
Thermal cameras don’t see light like normal cameras; they only see heat. So the human figure is featured as orange through to yellow and white. Blue indicate cold so the blue figure shape has no body heat. At the time our guest said “Debbie there is something moving behind you”. Debbie stood while he took some shots, this is how the sequence came about.
Below is a shot from a different night at Field Place which seems to show a human shape figure which is cooler than the environment. It seems to simply stand observing the group as they were doing their experiments.
Field Place gained its name from the de la Felde family who in 1294 held land to the west of Heene.
Situated on the eastern edge of Goring parish, Field Place was the principal Manor House for centuries, known as Goring Manor. The estate included 200 acres of land in the parish with a further 140 acres in Tarring.
The first building recorded is in 1300’s and belonged to William atte Felde. The interior of the house contains fine carved fireplaces and original Jacobean oak panelling. The Oak room houses the original device of the Cooke family who owned and lived in the house from the 1400’s. John Cooke, who was Sheriff of Sussex, was the last Cooke to live at the property.
The next family to own the estate were the Westbrooke-Richardsons, who were patrons of the living at Goring (responsible for appointing clergy etc.), followed by the Henty family in the mid 18th Century, who were very successful in banking and farming. In 1808, Worthing’s first bank (Margesson, Henty, Henty and Hopkins’ Bank) opened. The Henty’s made considerable improvements to the House, including the current exterior.
During the agricultural depression the Henty’s revenue declined and Thomas Henty, the younger son of Sarah and Thomas began to write from Field Place to his business contacts in Australia to enquire about land and prospect there for his family. In 1829, some of the Henty family, James, Stephen George, and John set sail for Australia, initially settling in Tasmania. In 1830, the rest of the family set sail from Littlehampton in the ‘Caroline’ and ‘ Firth of Alloway’, including Thomas, with his wife Frances Elizabeth, their children James, Charles Shum, Edward, Jane, William and Francis, a flock of Merino sheep newly acquired from the flocks of King George III and dressed in flannel coats against the wind, agricultural equipment and staff – accounting for half the village of Tarring, to join the first three children.
All were successful in their new lives, for example, James became a merchant, Frank was a farmer, Edward continued farming, and instigated the move from Tasmania to Portland in 1834, and Stephen George became a magistrate and eventually joined the legislative assembly.
The youngest son of the family, Francis, later built a house in 1876 called Field Place in Melbourne, Australia. The house still stands today.
Following the Henty family’s departure, the property was occupied by the family of Levi and Ann Bushby, who farmed the land surrounding. From census records, we can ascertain that they were there for certain in 1841, and possibly earlier, until 1871. However, at some point between 1871 and 1881, the property changed hands, and was then occupied by a George and Kate Harrison, and their family. They occupied the property definitely until 1891.
Towards the end of the 19th century Colonel E.W. Margersson occupied the house followed by Alfred Bates in 1909, who purchased the house and spent £250,000 on renovations, including the installation of an underground electrical supply. After the death of Alfred Bates in 1945, the house was remodelled and became the Manor Country Club, under the ownership of Archibald William Medhurst.
Like many country houses Field Place was utilised by our forces during World War ll. The RAF used the Estate and surrounding areas to test early radar. At this point, what is known is that Field Place was used as a barracks for the site of RAF Durrington, which was then located on the site of what is now Palatine School. There is not a lot of information about this site, however, it was a Ground Control Intercept (GCI) radar site, one of six around the UK, that were used to direct night fighters to intercept enemy bombers. Call-signed ‘FLINTLOCK’, Wing Commander (Later Marshall of the RAF Sir Thomas) Pike refers in his book ‘Beaufighter Ace’ to circling over the Worthing Beacon, before being directed onto target by Durrington Control.
During the initial installation of the site, F/Sgt Alan Bailes referred to the tasks he undertook there. He makes reference to a visit on one occasion to a ‘Mr Jones’, a civilian who was ‘treated like God’s deputy’, in his white trenchcoat. Later on, he found out that this was Professor R.V. Jones, the scientist behind the ‘Battle of the Beams’, who discovered how to interrupt the German bomber targeting beams of Knickebein (Codenamed ‘Headache’) and X-Gerät.
There is little known about the wartime operation of RAF Durrington, other than these sketchy references, however, the site was heavily defended, potentially more so than the nearby GCI site at RAF Sopley in Hampshire, is still shrouded in secrecy, and due to the visit by R.V. Jones, it is perhaps a small stretch of conjecture to think that this could potentially have been a site used as an ‘Aspirin’ site (Used to cure the ‘Headache’ of Knickebein’). R.V Jones was indeed working on the ‘Aspirin’ project at this time, however, whether RAF Durrington was used for this is purely speculation!
As for Field Place itself, the site was used as a barracks, with men billeted in the Pavillion, and the barn was turned into a NAAFI.
After being de-commissioned the Estate was once again used as a Country Club (the Flamingo) before being purchased by Worthing Borough Council in 1956 for £17,500.
Improvements were made to the out buildings and main house, revealing much of the original splendid panelling and stonework. Reopened in 1988/89 Field Place is now the ideal setting for celebrations, wedding receptions, and seminars, corporate and private hires.