Nestled on the edge of the New Forest, the sinister past of Testwood House echoes within its walls. This manor house dates back to late 15th century and has long remained a reminder of a wicked act that occurred centuries ago.

Dating back to the 1500s, Henry VII and Henry VIII used the white-fronted mansion as a royal hunting lodge due to its advantageous position on the eastern side of the New Forest. However, from the late 1950s it was transformed into the residence of a local wine and sherry importer who adopted it as his home.

During this time, Testwood House has had its fair share of paranormal activity, thought to be the result of a tragic event in the late 18th century. It is said that several mysterious spectres and ghostly apparitions were witnessed around the house.

A man, described by most accounts as “a coachman”, enjoyed an affair with the cook of the house – who, it was said, was a rather beautiful young woman. However, prompted one night to dispose of the unfortunate girl rather than share her affections, he murdered her in an attic room of the house.

One night, a spark of wickedness ignited within him and he decided to take the life of the young girl in order to retain her affections exclusively. He took her to an attic room of the house and ended her life there.

Descending the back stairs, the man pulled her motionless body behind him and unceremoniously threw it into an alleyway opposite the residence. To this day, that same alley is called "Cook's Lane".

Daily Echo: A ghostly figure on a set of stairs.

It is rumoured that the scene of the crime has for 200 years resounded with the noises associated with the murder. Thuds, wails, footfall, and a macabre dragging sound have all been heard at Testwood House. The ghost of the cook revealed itself in a guest room sometime in the 1800s with “a look of extreme malevolence”.

Around December each year, it is said that a ghostly meeting between her and the coachman occurs; however, more often than not, it is the shape of the coachman that can be seen.

He has been noted to appear in a top hat, flowing cloak and light-coloured trousers. He also wears “something blue and white which could be his waistcoat”, while his skin tone is pinkish and his eyes “frighteningly penetrating”.

Rumour has spread that the ghostly figure haunting the house is not restricted to reliving its crime over and over again. Instead, reports suggest this supernatural being appears in various places throughout the property, causing mischief in a variety of different ways.

Quite the most unnerving manifestation was once encountered by the company secretary of vintners William and Humbert Limited during the 1960s.

It was getting late when the secretary finished up his work in the "murder room" of the house. The time had come for him to leave and go home.

To his surprise, when he pulled open the door, pitch blackness awaited him. All of the lights had been switched off, leaving him with no other choice but to feel around blindly until he could make his way down to the ground floor.

Though Testwood House had been the subject of many a chilling tale, they were stories that had not previously captured his attention to any great degree.

Daily Echo: Testwood House.

As he made his way down, oblivious to the possibility of some supernatural force at work, he seethed with anger towards the cleaners and caretaker. Little did he know what lay in store below.

Seated in the gloom at the reception desk in the hall, illuminated only by what little light there was creeping through the windows from outside, was the ghostly figure of a top-hatted man with his head tilted back, grinning hideously.

It was not a grin the secretary welcomed, as the atmosphere turned icy cold and sinister. Almost hysterically the reluctant onlooker rushed past the horrid sight and dived outside into the welcoming night. The moonlight embraced him in its arms, providing a comfort that seemed to be lacking inside.

The following day, it became clear there were no answers to be had regarding what had taken place during the previous night's strange events. Nothing seemed to make sense about it all.

Upon arrival at work, the caretaker was adamant in his response to being questioned: during the entire night before he had seen lights shining from Testwood House from his own cottage nearby.

In fact, he declared that he himself had switched them off, long after the secretary had left and locked up, what he assumed was an empty building.