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Hooded Monk Of Soilwell?


I live in a really old house built over 3 centuries ago and have done for 17 years. I have grown up accustomed to the house, and despite the endless ghost stories from local people and ex-owners I had never experienced a spirit myself, and my family seldom talked about it, until around 5 months ago.

My boyfriend came over for the night, and as I live with my parents he slept upstairs in my room and I slept of the sofa in the living room. As it was winter, my Mum lit a fire to keep me warm while I slept, and after saying goodnight I went to sleep. After what I guess was a couple of hours I woke up for no reason, but I felt no sense of fear at all. I guess it was a couple of hours since I had fallen asleep as there was still some light coming from the fire so it couldn't have been much longer. I raised my head, and in doing so was able to see what looked like a hooded boy.

His hood was slightly back to reveal a shiny bald head and he looked quite young so I immediately assumed it was the spirit of a teenager, and thought later that the baldness could indicate a cancer sufferer. I pushed my feet forward to the front of the sofa, where he was perched, to determine whether this was an actual person who was, for some reason, in my house, however I felt nothing, and as more of a shock to me there was no coldness and the dogs were sleeping soundly. After a few minutes of looking at me fondly, the spirit leaned back, laughed silently with his head thrust back and faded.

I wanted to ensure that I hadn't built myself up into seeing things, and so spent a while, in the same position, studying the curtains behind where the apparition was to try and make out a face. After being unable to prove myself wrong, I hid under the covers and forced my eyes closed in a childish 'if I can't see him, he can't see me' in fear of the spirit returning, although I didn't sense a bad atmosphere.

In the morning, I built up the courage to tell my boyfriend, when he realised I wasn't joking he blurted it out to my parents. My dad told me that there are priest holes in the attic, and possibly in the back of some of our (10) fire places, and asked if I might have seen some sort of monk. I recognise this as a possibility as it was too dark to see any colour on the hood and I don't think I saw whether it was a hoodie or a hooded cloak.


Also, my mum has recently been telling me about what looks like a soldier which she sees regularly if she is arriving home late. I think that this is beautiful as my mum is a stay at home mother for me and my 4 siblings and therefore hardly goes out, however when she does she feels that we are guarded. There are rumours that Oliver Cromwell stayed at my house with his soldiers, which could be a reason for the guard.

This is the url to a very old photograph of my house


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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, bella-19, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

AussieChick95 (10 stories) (40 posts)
11 years ago (2013-07-03)
Your house looks stunning, and as I would imagine would be full of history, If you don't mind me asking what were some of the other stories from previous owners? Take care x
DARKNESS (3 stories) (2022 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-27)
Bella-19, you have a great account here, your house looks quite grand in the link you provided for us very nice indeed.
I have no doubt that you did witness something that night, if it was a monk I cannot be sure, what intrigues me was that it acknowledged you and laughed indicating that it is intelligent and not residual, I would assume there has been more strange incidents in the 17 or so years you have been living there but perhaps not noticed them. Thank you for sharing with us.

Swimsinfire (11 stories) (556 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-22)
They all tended to shave their heads because it was just cleaner and easier to shave it all off. I used to work at a monastery and learned a little history. Also there used to be "choir monks" who only read, copied, and sang the hours. And working monks, who were peasants who joind to learn a trade and maybe learn to read and become choir monks. The working guys tended to be a little jollier, and younger. Very cool story.
sds (14 stories) (1436 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-21)
Hello bella-19, I think that what you saw might be a monk. But can't be sure. The picture shows that the house is quite old enough to have its own hauntings and presence of spirits. If you happen to have any other experience, kindly post it.

Thanks for sharing.

Regards and respects to you.

takeiteasy (9 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-21)
I've seen a few users commenting about 'spirits' or 'figures' in the picture. I only see one (maybe a woman next to him too, but she looks as though she's posing as well) - and he definitely, to me, looks like a perfectly normal (alive!) man. It's nice to have a visual though.

I'm glad you shared this story, it made me smile! 😁
valkricry (49 stories) (3269 posts) mod
11 years ago (2013-06-20)
bella, on the stairs one figure is in the doorway, the other leaning up against the stair-side. On the right, maybe 2 or 3 stairs down. In the bottom window, left hand side there seems to be some sort of woman figure. I zoomed in at 200x. My guess, is they are normal folk who just got caught in the snapshot.
bella-19 (1 stories) (2 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-20)
Battlescars: I can only see one, in the doorway, where can you see the other two?

Pragya: This would explain why none of us feel threatened, despite my panic when I woke up and saw a spirit. We have lived here happily for 17 years:)

Jatin: There is now a window on the top left hand side, and two above the porch area. Also, one of the chimneys has fallen off.
Thanks again for the comments!
jatin (1 stories) (13 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-20)
Is your house the same as it was before? Or is it reconstructed at some parts?
Pragya (5 stories) (68 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-20)
Nice story. I feel your house has good spirits. I could see 2 figures in the picture. 😁
BattleScars (3 stories) (44 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-20)
Good story, but I have a question -- Have you noticed about 3 figures in the picture?
bella-19 (1 stories) (2 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-19)
thank you for all the comments!

VermontVampyre: Preist holes are indeed small hiding places for priests when a house was being searched. They are very well hidden, often under floorboards or within walls.

Bizzjoe: My house gets very, very cold. I would never subject a guest to a room with only a fire for heat! My bedroom has heaters and a radiator

Foxglove: I'm glad somebody kind of shares my experience! What I found weird was that I have never experienced a supernatural occurrence in the 17 years before!

Elfstone810: it is a very large house, and there are rumors that there are at least two in the attic area consisting of 4 large rooms as well as others. They may not all be true, however I have found more than one.

Thank you again!:)
elfstone810 (227 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-19)
Classic ghost story. Thanks for sharing it with us!

You mentioned priest holes, plural. It seems odd to me that a house should have more than one or, at most, two. During periods when Catholicism was outlawed troops would go through and search the homes of suspected Catholics. Any evidence that they were hiding priests could easily get them imprisoned or even executed. The more holes, the greater the danger of being caught.

Regarding your apparition being bald, I'm not certain (perhaps someone else will know) but I think postulants (monks in training) shaved their heads.
Foxglove (23 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-19)
Yo bella-19,

From a quick perusal of English Heritage records it looks like the original building on the site, before rebuilding, was actually more like 600 years old - 1437!

'Edificat Sully AD 1437: Redificat (sic) Soilwell Manor 1661'.

Lots of time to accumulate all manor of ghosties, no pun intended. You will probably be able to find many details about the history of the home in your county Record Office if you're interested.

My Dad also used to live in a listed building (former priory turned rectory, 12th century foundations!) Cool but a little creepy at times.

VermontVampyre I think a priesthole is a hideaway for Catholic clergy who were administering Catholic rites secretly in people's houses after the Reformation, when it was illegal to do so?
bizzjoe (1 stories) (162 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-19)
i don't think its right that you had to sleep on the couch & your boyfriend got to sleep in your bed... The next time throw him on the couch...
VermontVampyre (2 stories) (64 posts)
11 years ago (2013-06-19)
What are priestholes? For some reason your explanation led me to picture Aang from The Last Airbender.

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