By Blue Badge Tour Guide - Anne Bartlett
See TV and Film Location Guide
The other day I took a specialist group from Bedfordshire on a private tour of Chavenage Manor nr Tetbury. Its an impressive Elizabethan house which is over 430 years old and is still in private ownership. It’s a great privilege to be able to have a look around this historic house and it’s particularly special because it has been a location for a number of films and TV programmes including
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Lark Rise to Candleford
The Mysterious Affair at Styles
In Love with Barbara
And A Curious House Guest
To name just some.
All sorts of historic events have taken place here and there are numerous stories to be told.
During the Civil War 1641 – 1645 the then owner of Chavenage, Nathaniel Stevens, was a supporter of the Parliamentarian cause and was reluctantly persuaded by Oliver Cromwell’s son-in-law to add his signature to King Charles 1sts death warrant.
When Nathaniel’s daughter Abigail returned home a few days later and heard what had taken place in her absence, she was horrified at what her father had done. Completely overcome with anger she laid a terrible curse on her father for bringing the family home into such disrepute.
This curse has given rise to a famous ghost story:-
Following the curse, Nathaniel Stephens became very seriously ill and died. On the day of his funeral, everyone had gathered at the house to pay their last respects.
A horse drawn hearse arrived to collect the coffin and pulled up in the driveway. The driver of the hearse looked very strange and appeared to have no head. Then a very odd thing happened. The body of Nathaniel Stephens rose from the coffin and floated over to the hearse. As Nathaniel’s body entered the hearse it bent low in deference to the driver. As the hearse drove away, the strange headless driver turned into the murdered King Charles 1.
There are a lot more stories to be heard on a tour of Chavenage and a visit to Cromwells room will reveal a lot more unexpected tales.