In this article we will be taking a closer look at Sker House – dating back as far as the 12th century, it is now regarded as one of the most haunted properties in Wales…
Sker House started out as a grange property that was built to support the monks of Neath Abbey. This function ended with the dissolution of the monasteries and it eventually ended up being privately owned.
The property’s eight century history is well known to locals due to the amount of despair and bloodshed it has encountered – this dark past has somehow managed to weave it’s way into the very fabric of the building…
Throughout the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, this area of Wales succumbed to the brutal persecution against Catholics. At the time, the Turberville family owned Sker House and they were fierce believers of Catholic ways.
History suggests that the Turberville’s went as far as sheltering and hiding Jesuit priests and allowing Clandestine Masses to take place on the property.
The Turberville’s were able to keep these actions quiet until 1678, when a famous Catholic plot to kill Charles II once again brought persecution into play.
Sker House was eventually raided and a Jesuit priest named Father Philip Evans was arrested and accused of being some sort of ringleader. He was taken straight to Cardiff where he sat through a viciously unfair trail and ended up being publicly executed (He was hung, drawn and quartered).
The head of the Turberville family, Charles, knew the game was finally up. He sold the house and moved abroad to escape the possible repercussions of Evans’s execution.
The R.D. Blackmore Link
The author of the famous book Lorna Doone – R. D. Blackmore, was fascinated by a paranormal legend that was linked to Sker House, and eventually wrote a book on his research entitled The Maid of Sker…
A past inhabitant of the house named Elizabeth Williams fell in love with a young carpenter and harpist called Thomas Evans. Unfortunately her father was not exactly ‘bowled over’ by this young commoner.
The young couple eventually devised a plan of escape that failed miserably…
Evans arranged for a coach and horses to arrive late at Elizabeth’s home so they could run away to elope somewhere in England. Unfortunately the arrival of the coach alerted the dog’s at the house and the couple’s plan fell to pieces.
Evans hastily retreated from the area and never returned – leaving Elizabeth to face the wrath of her father on her own.
She was locked up in a tower room with no windows and eventually forced to marry a man she did not love (Thomas Kirkhouse). Elizabeth died after nine years of a loveless marriage to Kirkhouse – locals say she perished due to her broken heart.
Elizabeth’s ghost is one of the most powerful paranormal forces now inhabiting Sker House. Her spirit seems to be stuck inside the windowless room she was held captive in.
Numerous reports claim to have heard her clanking chains and her misty form has materialized in front of visitors on numerous occasions.
In 2002 a famous documentary crew who worked for the BBC set up inside Sker House to follow the major restorations taking place. Their filming was ruined by high pitched noise that seemed to be coming from the Great Hall area.
A local medium was called in and she informed the filmmakers that something very evil had been disturbed by the renovations taking place on the property. The documentary crew had seen (and heard) enough – they packed up their equipment and refused to return to the location.
Locals also believe that the spirit of a ship’s captain returns to search through Sker house from time to time…
His boat was shipwrecked at Sker Point and he was killed along with his crew. The wreckage was instantly plundered and Elizabeth Williams’s father was accused of taking some of the ship’s items.
He claimed that he was simply gathering these plundered items for safekeeping – away from the common local’s sticky fingers!
Locals now believe that the spirit of the captain returns to Sker House in the hope he will locate his plundered belongings.
If you have any thoughts or opinions on the paranormal activity in Sker House, please leave them in the comment section below.