Rampart Road : A Ghost Story

Rita L. Jacob

During the 1950s, the New Forest Laundry occupied the large site that once was Armitages. Although unaffected by the construction of Churchill Way, the premises were demolished as part of a new housing development.
Picture with kind permission of Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum © Salisbury Museum

 

Geraldine Symons in her book Children in the Close mentions a basement house in Rampart Road believed to be haunted :-

One of the basement houses on the right was haunted. (What by we didnt know.) Thats why it was empty. No one would live there. We could only guess at the horrifying happenings that the blank, dirty windows had once concealed, at what they might be hiding now. Lifting ones eyes, one looked with a crawling spine for a dim white face, imagined a cobwebbed wedding cake and an old Dickensian bride.

This house must have been one in the block of three-story properties which stood next to the New Forest Laundry, Arthur Maidment in I Remember placing it ‘some sixty yards’  from Armitages closed down ironworks. By the time the latter was writing, however, the ‘spirit’ had become a soldier killed in the First World War and the house was supposed to have been empty for fifteen years!

I lived opposite these houses between 1948 and 1969, for many years knowing the occupants. Yet, I cannot remember anyone mentioning a ghost, the main concern being flooded basements during heavy rain! Nor is there any reference to one in Haunted Salisbury , a recent book written by Frogg Moody and Richard Nash.

Do you remember a story about a haunted house in Rampart Road where the modern dwellings now stand? Or was it a myth that was only prevalent at the beginning of the twentieth century?

Comments about this page

  • I lived on Rampart Road in the early 70’s. The house was terraced and you had to go up steps to the front door and the steps were shared with the neighbour. While I lived there I hated going to bed. I remember feeling scared and my parents moved my bedroom to theirs. One evening after much crying, I fell to sleep but was awoken to see 4 men standing at the side of my bed, in uniform but with no heads. I remember clearly seeing the red jackets they wore. My dad at this point was paralysed in bed too. The house had a very odd feel about it and was always cold. My mum saw a lady behind her in the kitchen while she was bathing me in the sink too.
    It would be very interesting to hear if anyone else living in that house experienced anything the same. I would love to go back there now.

    By katherine bailey (21/06/2016)
  • Thank you for your contribution, Katherine! When I first read about this house in Geraldine Symons’ book, I thought that the belief it was haunted was peculiar to Geraldine and her friends. I was, therefore, surprised to find a more detailed account in Arthur Maidment’s autobiography; the author being a respected city dignitary who was born and raised in Culver Street!
    At the time of my birth, the four basement houses were occupied by the Halls, the Clasbys, the Brutons and the Chapmans who, with the exception of the elderly Clasbys, continued to live in these properties for a number of years. To my knowledge, none of these spoke of unexplained happenings and, for this reason, I was initially worried about including the article. Now, I am glad that I did!
    The scarlet uniforms are in keeping with Arthur Maidment’s account although a First World War soldier would have worn khaki during the conflict. I have discovered, however, that Napoleonic prisoners of war were kept in the building that later became St. Martin’s Infant School; it being feasible that soldiers were camped nearby!

    By Rita Lynn Jacob (02/07/2016)

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