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The ghost of Combermere Abbey

Estate - 20.10.17

Halloween is right around the corner, which has got us sharing ghost stories here at Combermere Abbey – and nothing frightened us more than the story of a ghostly apparition right here at the Abbey!

The second Lord Combermere passed away in 1891; and whilst his funeral was taking place on the 5th December at St. Margaret’s church in Wrenbury, Sybell Corbet, whose sister Lady Sutton was renting the Abbey for herself and her siblings to stay, took a photo of the wonderful Combermere Library with a long exposure camera. It is most likely that the photo was taken at this time due to the practicality of the quiet house – the whole family and the majority of the staff members were paying their respects at the funeral.

Corbet recorded that the exposure of the photograph took around an hour, and when the photo was developed a year later Sybell found a startling sight – there was a transparent image of a man’s upper body sitting in one of the chairs in the library.

Lord Combermere’s children noted the apparition’s likeness to their late father, and the chair the spectre seems to be sitting in was indeed his favourite – was the ghost of Lord Combermere settling down for some peace and quiet in his favourite spot in the Library whilst his body was being buried four miles away?

Some have tried to dispute the validity of the photograph, stating that due to the long exposure of the shot, a man sitting down for a moment and leaving again would produce a transparent figure – claiming that a servant could have walked in and sat down in the chair and swiftly left when he noticed that there was a photograph being taken! Always open to theories, Sybell noted that this could be a possibility – however there were very few men in the house at the time as most were attending the funeral, and the clothes worn by the men who were at the house looked vastly different to the outfit in the image.

Some may wonder why it is only the body of Lord Combermere which can be seen sat in the chair. We’ve been thinking – and we believe the answer lies in the manner of Lord Combermere’s death. Whilst visiting London, the second Lord was run over by a horse drawn carriage causing serious injury to both of his legs. Although it looked as though he might recover, he suddenly passed a few weeks later. Could there be a link between the injury to Lord Combermere’s legs and how his ghost appears to the living?

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the ghost of Combermere Abbey – who do you think it is sitting in the chair? And if you want to take your investigation a step further, did you know that you can book to go on a tour of the Abbey? Tours begin again in April 2018 – keep your eyes on our What’s On page for more info!

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