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!
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”. A full transcript of the document can be found below:
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
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
Spirits in a like
sphere & here
there are two
mediums the servants
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
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 – HarrietTranscript 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”. 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.
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”. 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.
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.
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) 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).
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.
 Séance transcript, Warwickshire County Record Office, CR1886/Box 469.
 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).
 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).
 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 and Archive Assistant at Suffolk Archives.
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