Historic House Visits Group

Sandford Orcas
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Monday 19th May 2003
All photographs on this page by Ron Moore and are his copyright.
A beautiful day was in store for the group when they visited Sandford Orcas house near Sherborne and Yeovil in Dorset.  No ghosts were seen or heard!
The stone-built manor house includes a gatehouse and is of Elizabethan origin.  Another lovely house of the period is Jarrards and the 13th century and later church contains a fine monument to William Knoyle

Sandford Orcas Manor was built by Edward Knoyle from the local Ham Hill stone in the mid 16th Century, and owned by the Medlycott family for the last 250 years. A garderobe, or privy, projects from the far wall of the gatehouse. Next door in the church there is a monument to William Knoyle (died 1607) with his two wives and eleven children, four of whom are shown dead in swaddling clothes.

Next to the church in the village of Sandford Orcas there is an old gatehouse. If you go through the gate you arrive at the sinister manor house which is famous for its large number of ghosts.

The present owner of the manor says that it is difficult to keep servants because the ghosts frighten them. Many people have seen the ghost of the previous owner. He was a farmer who committed suicide by hanging himself from the gatehouse, and he often appears in the garden wearing old working clothes.

Another ghost is an 18th century priest who used to kill visitors while they were asleep in their beds. He still sometimes frightens guests in the middle of the night by standing over their beds holding a knife.

The ghost of a servant sometimes walks along the dark corridors of the house. He murdered his master at Sandford Orcas, but nobody knows why.

But perhaps the most frightening story is of a young man who grew up in the house and then became a sailor. While he was at sea, he killed a boy, and then went mad. When he returned to Sandford Orcas, they locked him in a room at the back of the house. He never left the room again, and died there several years later. On some nights when the moon is full, you can hear him screaming and banging on the door of the room.

This eerie looking Tudor manor house in the heart of Dorset is reputedly home to no less than fourteen ghosts.

The ghost of an eighteenth century farmer has been seen on many occasions, wandering around the house and its gardens. As the story goes, he hanged himself from a trapdoor in the house, and even though the door has long since been boarded up, the farmer still roams around.

A rather sinister ghost of a footman can be seen throughout the Manor and is thought to have preyed on serving maids when he was alive. A priest is also thought to haunt the Manor and, rather terrifyingly, attempts to smother sleeping guests with his cloak.

It seems a great deal of sinister goings-on have taken place in the house at one time or another, including the murder of an employer by his servant, whose ghost now haunts the place, and also a young sea cadet who, after killing one of his friends, was locked in a room for the rest of his life. His screams of madness can still be heard today.

Amongst the other ghostly inhabitants are an old 'White Lady' who can be seen on the stairs, the sound of music coming from an empty room, footsteps walking down empty corridors and the sound of loud knocks and weird dragging sounds.


Sandford Orcas Visit
We arrive Gargoyle

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Sandford Orcas lies approximately 2½ miles (4km) north of Sherborne. It is in a valley and, as its name implies, was the crossing point of the confluence of three streams that rise in the Parish. "Orcas" is a derivation of the word Orescuilz. This was the family name of the first landowners in the area after the conquest. The village’s association with water is renewed whenever there are very heavy rains in the area. The village still floods for an hour or so in such circumstances; and the main road through the village, constructed by the Americans during the war becomes impassable to normal traffic.

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