Turkey Cock Lane

TURKEYCOCK LANE - Rye, Sussex. On A268


A tragic romance is believed to be the cause of the main ghost here. In 1379 an Augustinian Friary was built to replace an original house of 1263 which was washed away by the sea.

After only a few years one of the brothers, known as 'Cantator' because of his 'divine-like singing', fell in love with Amanda, a young and beautiful girl who lived at the Dormy House. This building can still be seen behind what remains of the Friary, facing out to the desolate Romney Marsh.

However, so-strong was their love for each other that the couple decided to elope, possibly across the channel, but their illicit scheme was crushed when the plan was discovered and the monk condemned to death.

It seems a favourite punishment of those days was to be bricked up alive and this method was used to dispose of Brother Cantator. Before death finally quietened him, madness took control and he was heard 'gobbling like a turkey'. The incident was perpetuated in the name of the street.

His death did not end his being seen for quite recently a cowled monk was observed in the chapel garden, and some years ago reports were received of seven phantom figures gliding across the grass towards the encircling brick wall. It is thought that they were the men responsible for the cruel punishment.

Part of the gardens were converted to shelters during the war and in the course of the work several skeletons were found on part of the old foundation floor of the monastery. They were all found to be in a kneeling position.

All that remains above ground is what is known as the Monastery Hall which is used for social gatherings. The sounds of the turkey noises have not been heard for many years, but one of the witnesses, Miss Marjorie Fillers, told me that at Easter 1952, when in a guest house adjoining Dormy House, she saw the figure of a 'monk in a brown habit' standing by the party wall of the next-door property. She was not scared, just intrigued, for it was many years later that she learnt of the history of the locality.



Story by Andrew Green: 'Our Haunted Kingdom'

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