Spooky Happenings in the Greville Family of Warwick Castle Collection

In anticipation of Halloween, we at Explore Your Archive made a ghostly call upon Warwickshire County Record Office to untangle from the metaphorical cobwebs of history the Greville Family of Warwick Castle collection. Caution for those of a nervous disposition is advised – for what follows is a spine-tingling, chilling article of séances and Victorian close encounters of the paranormal kind.

Transcript of a séance, CR1886/Box 469

For October’s theme of #EYASpooky, we have delved back into our Greville Family of Warwick Castle collection, which was the focus of an Explore Your Archive Spotlight Exhibition earlier this year.

Above all we have chosen to focus on one of the séance transcripts in the collection. They were found by a researcher in our Searchroom amongst the papers relating to Anne Greville, the fourth Countess of Warwick. They had both been sealed in an envelope marked “Clarke’s specifications for painting…” and appear to be transcripts of séances which occurred at Warwick Castle during the nineteenth century!

First page of the séance transcript.

Above: First page of the séance transcript. © Warwickshire County Record Office, CR1886/Box 469.

The transcript we’re focusing on starts with the following: “Leave all to the future research. Evidently, the power at work is not that of the mortals in the Castle”[1]. A full transcript of the document can be found below:

Page 1

Leave all to the future

research. The power at

work is not that of the

mortals in the Castle there

the spirit of me

called Edward Jamie-

son is one of those who now haunt the

place his sphere

is low. The means he

possesses of hearing

words, seeing some

thoughts and being

Page 2

in power as a spirit to

be red with a material

atmosphere I not be

him to move objects

of material form +

to create noises

He can be defeated in his purposes

by the higher power

of spirit. He is

aided by two Men

Page 3

Spirits in a like

sphere & here

there are two

mediums the servants

whose atmosphere

is made use of for

the purpose of additional

power, one is getting

weakened by it

the course to adopt

is to search the

places, & prove that

Page 4

No material forms can

do what it is Known

is done, then to

test the spirit forces

and overcome there

by the higher agencies

of prayer & spirit


Harriet – Harriet

Transcript of cr1886 letter

An elusive specter

In essence, it appears to channel the spirit of a servant called Edward Jamieson, who has been blamed for moving objects and creating noises around the castle: “the spirit of me called Edward Jamie-son is one of those who now haunt the place”[1]. However, a search of Ancestry and Find My Past yields no records for anyone with that name. Although we did find a reference to an Edward Jameson baptised in Coventry.

Right: Page two of the transcript. © Warwickshire County Record Office, CR1886/Box 469.

Page two of the transcript.
Page three of the transcript.

The transcripts suggest that Jamieson had hidden an item in one of the rooms of the castle. Markedly, there is a map of some of the rooms drawn out onto the back of the transcript. As the transcript continues, it suggests that two other male spirits were aiding Jamieson: “He is aided by two Men Spirits in a like sphere”[1]. Notably it notes no names here, but it indicates that they were also two former servants. The transcript concludes that the castle rooms must be searched for the object and ends rather abruptly with the name Harriet written twice.

Left: Page three of the transcript. © Warwickshire County Record Office, CR1886/Box 469.

This document appears to take the style of automatic writing, or psychography. This is a claimed psychic ability which is said to enable an individual to produce written words without being conscious of what they are writing. It is unclear whether this is the handwriting of Anne or of another individual who was present for the séance.

Right: Page four of the transcript. © Warwickshire County Record Office, CR1886/Box 469.

Page four of the transcript.

Anne Greville

Photograph of Anne Greville, fourth Countess of Warwick.

Anne Greville (née Charteris) was born in 1829 to the ninth Earl of Wemyss. She grew up in Gosford House in East Lothian, Scotland. In 1852 she married George Greville (the fourth Earl of Warwick), with whom she had five children. The 1891 census lists Anne as an “Artist – Sculptor”. Many of her drawings and sketches are kept in the collections here at the County Record Office. Indeed, a small selection can be found in the article by Adam Busiakiewicz on the Our Warwickshire website[2].

Left: Photograph of Anne Greville, fourth Countess of Warwick. © Warwickshire County Record Office, CR1886/Box 468.

Anne’s eldest son Francis (who inherited the Earldom of Warwick on the death of his father in 1893[3]) recalls in his autobiography his mother’s interest in ghosts. He writes how the Archdeacon Colley often visited her, with whom she would hold séances in what was known then as the Oak Bedroom (now the Kenilworth Bedroom)[4].

From this document it appears that Anne Greville was a believer in the supernatural!

You can find out more about the collection which this document came from in our Spotlight Exhibition, which can be found here, or by searching for the hashtag #WarwickCastleWednesday on Facebook, X and Instagram.

[1] Séance transcript, Warwickshire County Record Office, CR1886/Box 469.

[2] Information gathered from The Maestro’s Pencil Box, Adam Busiakiewicz, Our Warwickshire, https://www.ourwarwickshire.org.uk/content/article/maestros-pencil-box (accessed 01/09/2020).

[3] Francis Greville, 5th Earl of Warwick, Stephen Luscombe, The British Empire, https://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/armyunits/yeomanry/warwickshireyeomanryfrancisgreville.htm#:~:text=Francis%20Richard%20Charles%20Guy%20Greville,Eton%20and%20Christ%20Church%2C%20Oxford. (accessed 01/09/2020).

[4] A Warwick Castle Secret, and a Conversation with Ghosts, Adam Busiakiewicz, Our Warwickshire, https://www.ourwarwickshire.org.uk/content/article/warwick-castle-secret-conversation-ghosts (accessed 01/09/2020).

Written by Joanne Taylor, Archive Assistant at Warwickshire County Record Office

Edited by Jake Doyle, Blog Coordinator for Explore Your Archive, MLitt Archives and Records Management Student and Archive Assistant at Suffolk Archives

Further Information

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