Rosetta - The Chicksands' Ghost

Below is an account by Arnold W. Sutcliffe of his 'encounter' with Rosetta - The Chicksands Priory Ghost. Thanks, Arnold.

From Arnold W. Sutcliffe

Below is a picture of Rosetta, our friendly Priory Ghost that I took about 1973 or 1974. (I was stationed at Chicksands from 1970 until the spring of 1975). The background to the photograph is as follows:

Chicksands was perhaps the only Air Force Base in the world with a "resident" ghost. Moreover, the Priory in itself had a great history. The Public Information Office at Chicksands decided to do a major story on the base and the Priory. This was to be published in the "Airman" magazine, which was an Air Force-wide magazine.

At that time, I was the NCOIC of the Base Photographic Laboratory. In conjunction with the desire to do the story on Rosetta, I took a great number of photographs of the inside and outside of the Priory, which were used to illustrate the eventual story. I'm not even sure if this magazine is still in publication. (I retired in 1975, but if it is, or if they have "Archival" copies, you might be able to obtain reprints or copies of the original story and photographs by writing them or the U.S. Air Force in Washington, D.C.).

As a "side-bar" to the main story about the Base, two of the Public Information Personnel and I decided to spend a night inside the Priory to "determine" if we could actually "see", or meet, Rosetta. At that time, the Priory was being used during the day as an Officers Club and was generally closed shortly after dusk unless they had a special function.

(As a matter of interest, the personnel who used to work at the club would always make a point of leaving together from the Priory at the end of their workday. This was due to the fact that over the years, there were a great number of rather odd stories about "things" happening in the Priory and the personnel preferred to deal with the "issue", of Rosetta, in "numbers"!) Rosetta "The Chicksands' Ghost"

(In addition, also as a matter of interest, the Priory "Gardener" at the time was quite knowledgeable about the history of Rosetta in the Priory. To my recollection, he had several stories about her activities before and during the Second World War, when the Priory was used as a billet for officers. The Gardener also told us that he had, himself, experienced several incidents that he was unable to explain. One that I happen to remember is that he was in the garden, which was to the right of the Priory, as you look at the front of it. He had closed and locked the gate so he could work in private. During several occasions, he caught glimpses of someone "flitting" through the vines/bushes, and when he went to look, there wasn't anyone there and the gate to the garden was still locked).

My photograph was taken on the second floor of the priory, in front of the door that led to the third floor. Immediately to the right was the "King James Room" (I'm not sure about that name.) However, when we were going to spend the night I wanted a photograph of Rosetta for the story, so I arranged to take the one that I have attached to this letter.

As you can well imagine, the photograph was "extremely popular"! However, I only printed a few copies of which I kept one. I do have one other photograph, which I took of the "Monk" who was beheaded because, according to the legend, he had impregnated Rosetta. That Photograph showed the Monk standing in front of the Plaque, on the first floor, which stated: "By Virtues Guarded And By Manners Graced, Here, Here, Alas Is Fair Rosetta Placed" (I might have paraphrased that slightly, as I don't have the photograph in front of me at this moment).

We took a Bell, Book and Candle along with a Ouija Board for our night's stay in the Priory. In fact, there wasn't any electricity on the second floor, so we had to "work" with flashlights. We spent some time wandering throughout the various floors. It is, as you know, a Very Interesting Building! The Attic is made up of Ships Ribs from London... there is a multitude of cellars... I would like to note that the Priory was certainly conducive to "ghostly" stories! Between the moonlight, the stained glass windows, the creaking floors, and a somewhat active imagination, I could see how the stories would be passed on throughout the years...

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