Preston manor was where Tim took the photograph which caught his curiosity into ghosts and from there the idea of the PIGS was born. Some years later we were lucky enough in investigate Preston Manor as an event. this was our first Anthony Nolan charity event for them back in 2009.
I was out one night in autumn 1997 trying to take some night time photographs for a CD cover I had been commissioned to do, It was about 11PM I remember feeling like I was being watched and I felt nauseous, I can remember thinking that somebody may call the police because I was out with a camera and tri pod in the night and people may think i was photographing the Manor in order to break in or something I also hadn’t eaten that evening so i put my nausea down to that.
I left the ground of the Manor after taking several photographs and a few days later i had them developed.
When I viewed the photographs I was pleased with some of the shots apart from one it was green and misty I couldn’t work out what had happened to the shot, thinking nothing more of it i set to work on the other photographs, although i couldn’t help but keep looking at the mysterious green one, after about two weeks I suddenly had a cold chill run down my back I suddenly saw the ghost in the picture.
I passed the picture and negative on to several photography experts who examined the picture and confirmed that no tampering had taken place, I also sent it to several paranormal experts of the time who all confirmed the phenomena of apparition and ectoplasmic mist.
Ever since ive been trying to photograph ghosts with a varying degree of success, from this sprang my interest in the paranormal and hence the P.I.G.S were born.
Sister Agnes- During a seance conducted in the Cleves room in 1896, a spirit claiming to be the ghost of a ‘Sister Agnes’ came through, a nun claiming to have been wrongly excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1535.
She was buried in unconsecrated ground. When the house was rebuilt, the skeleton of a 400 yr old woman was found beneath the South Terrace. When the church was approached to bury her there, they refused, so she was buried in secret, which appeased her spirit… for a while…
Other sighting’s include the frequent sighting of a nun by the caretaker’s children in the 1950’s.
White lady- Thought by some to be the ghost of Sister Agnes, she used to haunt the Stanford family. Karl Beattie from Most Haunted is convinced that he was confronted by the White Lady!
Most often, she has been reported as being seen on the stairway a Mrs Magniac, half sister to a former owner told the curator at the time that more than one person had seen the white lady. She herself claimed to have seen her herself when going upstairs to change after a game of tennis, she saw a woman standing on the stairs. She was not one of the players, but she assumed she was another guest, so greeted her. As she offered her hand and greeted her, the woman vanished.
Captain WW Sandeman also saw the white lady on the stairs.
Grey Lady- People have reported sighting a lady in grey descending the grand staircase, with nowhere to go. She appeared to a group of Firewatchers during the second world war.
– A disembodied hand, seen floating by a four-poster bed.
– A playful spirit that played with a child’s toy tractor in the 1960’s.
– Smells of lavender in the morning room with no source.
– People being locked in the withdrawing room.
– a ghostly dog, seen running through a couple of rooms, then disappearing, described as looking like Lady Ellen Stanford’s dog ‘Kylin’, although this is thought to be a hoax.
– Feeling of unease in t he North-west bedroom, by one of the cupboards.
Preston Manor’s history is a long and extensive one it can be traced back to the domesday book which makes reference to ‘The Manor of Preston’, belonging to the Bishops of Chichester.
Prior to this, there was a villa discovered just to the south of Preston Park, adjacent to what is now London Road. It is thought by some that during the middle ages, there was a monastery on this site.
We know for definite that there was a house on the site of some standing, as it was visited by the archbishop of Canterbury in 1230. Not long after this, the house was rebuilt, and below ground level, remains of this house are still there, forming part of the cellar and foundations.
The house ceased to belong to the Bishops in 1559, when it was taken by the crown. This was leased to Richard Eldrington, and handed down through his descendants. Eventually it was sold on to the Shirley family who leased the land, and passed through his family, ending up with Thomas Western, who was married to one of the Daughters of Thomas Shirley, and he took the property on.
As was the fashion of the time, Thomas Western demolished the house, and re built it, acting as his own architect. The aspect of the house was changed from West to North, and the central villa was flanked by 2 wings. The basement area would have played a bit part in the house at this time, providing an entrance to the property and also servants’ quarters and so on!
In 1794 Preston Manor was sold by Charles Callis Western for the sum of £17,600 to William Stanford, and so begins arguably the most important part of the history of Preston Manor. A man of standing, William Stanford was the High Sheriff of Sussex in 1808.
No significant alterations were made at this time, with the exception of the building of a flint tower in 1880. This stayed there for only 25 years, when it was demolished as part of the work carried out by Charles Stanley Peach, leaving the property as it looks today. In 1932, the Stanford Family bequeathed the property, it’s contents and 4 acres of land to the Corporation of Brighton, and it was opened to the Public in 1933.