The ancient site of Spinney has, not surprisingly, accumulated many tales of the supernatural. Most are little more than tales but nevertheless the house has been quite famous amongst ghost-hunters for many years – possibly due to the records and observations made by Thomas Llewellyn Fuller, who died in 1977. Many of these tales were recorded directly from Mr Fuller by Michael Rouse and are set out in his book.
The following extract is based on information taken from the publication GHOSTS OF EAST ANGLIA by Tony Ellis. Note that some of the historic information is not quite the same as shown in the research of Michael Rouse. “One mile from Wicken Fen, in the heart of Fen Country, stands a farmhouse called Spinney Abbey. The name was derived from the old priory which once stood on the site. It is haunted by phantom monks, who are heard singing, and one has been seen walking along a pathway in the grounds. Mysterious lights and a female figure have also been reported. Local tales also tell how monks can still be heard chanting in the still of the night, and that their ghosts have been seen.
Strange lights are reputed to be visible, which could be either ghostly or just natural Will o’ the wisp. These lights can be seen wandering from the farm to Spinney Bank, which is a bank now between Spinney Abbey and Wicken Fen. The most well-known legend is of the phantom black dog, sometimes known as Old Shuck or Black Shuck. This legend is a common one across East Anglia and is applied to many locations. The dog is said to have eyes the size of saucers and it is also said that, if anyone is unfortunate enough to meet the demonic dog and happens to look into its red/orange eyes, that are described as “burning like fire”, then their death will soon follow.
Wikimedia CommonsPart of a pamphlet written in 1577 describing a Black Shuck.
There are still some fragments of the original abbey to be found. The old pig sty is said to be built in the ruins, and although the pigs were usually quite happy and content, occasionally they got boisterous. It is also said that in the early hours of the morning, on occasions, horses in the stables made a terrific noise for no apparent reason. The ghost who walks along the path in the early hours of the morning is believed to be a murdered monk.”
In 2014 “Ghost Hunting” was published, written by Peter Underwood, former President of The Ghost Club, the book covers ghostly happenings at various properties around the country including Spinney Abbey, which he visited when Robert Fuller (b.1874) owned the property in the first half of the 20th Century. Copies are available from our farm shop.