The Hauntings of Chagford, Devon

Haunted church Chagford Devon
Is Chagford church haunted?

Chagford is a historical town on the north east edge of Dartmoor in Devon. It was one of 4 stannery towns in Devon; taken from the Latin word stannum, meaning tin. Stannery towns were where tin miners took their tin, where it was weighed, stamped and duty was paid on it.

Chagford became a prosperous town due to this and after tin was no longer mined from Dartmoor, the town became known for its wool trade and had several mills that produced cloth and other textiles. All of this brought affluent people to the town, who went on to build buildings that are still used in the town today.

I was lucky enough to spend time in this village and it was only after I booked an inn to stay, that I looked up if the inn I was staying in was haunted. And it was! There are 2 ghosts that are said to haunt The Three Crowns. One of these being a poet who fought as a Cavalier in the civil war and his name was Sidney Godolphin. The other ghost is said to be Mary Whiddon (some reports state her surname was spelt Whyddon), who, after going through her wedding ceremony in the local church (St Michael of archangel), was shot by, it is said, a jealous ex-partner, as Mary and her new husband exited the church.

The Three Crowns building played a part in both of these untimely deaths of Sidney Godolphin and Mary Whiddon. It used to be a town home for a wealthy family when first built with Dartmoor granite then it became an inn called The Black Swan at some point in the late 1600s.

It was this building that Mary’s body was taken when she was shot and sadly died. Her ghost has been witnessed in The Bishops Room and the upstairs corridor.

Mary’s story may sound familiar to you. It is said that the author R D Blackmore based his romance fiction book, Lorna Doone on Mary Whiddon but based it in and around Exmoor rather than Dartmoor.  

(I actually have a spooky photo on the website that was taken in the church that was used in the book- you can have a look at it here-  )  

Haunted Chagford
ghosts of Chagford, Devon

The ghost of Sidney Godolphin has been witnessed on many occasions. During the civil war, a skirmish occurred very close to the inn and in 1642, Sidney was shot in the buttocks, and he fled, wounded, to the stone porch of the inn and was to lay there as his life ebbed away.

One landlord of the inn said he had seen the ghost, even though he said he doesn’t believe in them! He said that he had to get up to use the toilet in the middle of the night and this meant a walk through one of the corridors. As he walked though the corridor, he saw the Cavalier, who was silhouetted all in white. The landlord said seeing this made his hair stand on end in shock and surprise.

One chef was taken by surprise by Sidney’s ghost when he witnessed the ghost walk through an unopened door into the bar area.

Sidney’s ghost appears fleetingly, and some reports say he has a big smile on his face whereas other see a sad and forlorn expression. He is often seen in the porch where he died but will also be seen inside and walking through the very thick walls. 

When I was staying in an upstairs room at The Three Crowns, I was woken up by heavy footsteps along the corridor at 4 am. My room was by a set of stairs and a fire exit door, so no one should’ve been able to access the room without setting off the alarmed fire exit door. There were 3 other rooms along this corridor, with 2 interior fire doors and the floor has thick carpets but these footsteps sounded as though they were on a bare floor. I spoke to one of the housekeepers and she said she had heard of the other side of the inn was said to be haunted and ghostly footsteps had been heard on that side. So that was very interesting to hear.

Listen to the evps I captured in the church & churchyard opposite the Three Crowns Inn- listen here

If you've had a spooky experience in Chagford then I'd love to hear about it. You can contact me here email