The Anchor Church cave is a mysterious dwelling nestled on the banks of the River Trent in Derbyshire, England.
This magnificent rock face has over 1,000 years of history. Originally being naturally formed by the action of the river upon the rock.
According to local history the Cave was home to St Hardulph of Breedon and is first mentioned in the Repton Church Record in 1658.
St Hardulph would live and pray here between the 16th and 17th century to find peace and reflection. The site would also become known as a safe haven from Pagan prosecution.
The Cave itself was never as big as it is now, this is due to a man-made intervention in th 1800’s.
In the middle ages the Caves would become home to a Monk by the name of Friar Bernard who would then go on to die at the location whilst doing penance for his involvement in a crime, which, I will get to soon!
By the early 1800’s a wealthy family who have links to the nearby Foremark Hall would take it upon themselves to extend the cave and have a door fitted in 1845. This was all paid for by their younger son, Sir Francis Burdett.
The Burdett family would then go on to use the cave as a summer-house where they would hold lavish parties and picnics although it is rumoured that women were not permitted to attend these parties and it became a sort of ‘mans club‘.
Some even believe it could have been Masonic in nature.
A Story of Jealousy And Betrayal.
There is a very well-known legend which surrounds the area of the cave and that of Foremark. A wealthy man by the name of Sir Hugo De Burdett who lived in a castle at the nearby knowle hill presumably murdered his wife and her supposed lover in the woods beside the cave!
The story goes that whilst Sir Hugo was away his wife Johanne had been unfaithful to him with his close friend and advisor the Baron of Boyvill.
Boyvill was apparently a well known ladies man who would try to court Johanne although she had made it very clear to him that she was married and not interested. Boyvill, determined to get his own way would then go on to Bribe a monk named Bernard (as mentioned above) to con Sir Hugo into embarking on a crusade, thus leaving his wife alone and defenceless.
So whilst Hugo was away, Boyvill would then make his move upon poor Johanne.
Whilst away in the holy land, Sir Hugo was captured by Bernard and then told that his wife was unfaithful and unwilling to pay a ransom for his return, which of course was a lie. Meanwhile, Boyvill went on to tell Johanne that Hugo was dead and that he would now marry her whether she liked it or not!
Later, Boyvill would refuse to keep paying Bernard to keep Hugo as a hostage and so Bernard would allow Hugo to go free. It was then, a few years later that Hugo would come across Boyville whilst on a hunting trip at the surrounding wood of the foremark cave.
The argument and heartbreak were settled by the point of Hugo’s sword where he apparently killed Boyville and as Johanne would try to intervene he supposedly cut off her left hand, the hand of betrayal where her wedding ring would once have been.
It is said that Johanne had also bled to death in those woods.
Meanwhile Friar Bernard would then spend the rest of his days in the cave of the Anchor church for his crime. He would call to Sir Hugo whilst on his deathbed. He told Hugo the truth about everything and then Hugo would begin to mourn his wife, forever feeling his guilt and a great pain.
Sir Hugo’s ghost is said to haunt the area, still sorrowing for his wife.
But, How much truth is there to this story? We don’t know. The names and references can be linked to real people of that time and indeed there was a monk called Bernard that did live and die in the cave for an unknown crime he committed. But did all of this really happen?
I guess that’s why they call it ‘A local legend’
UFO’s And Little Green Men.
Upon our first day visit to reccy the cave, Myself and James had arrived to take photos and some footage for our intro as well as to get a handle of the area just in general.
We’d taken The Alice Box device with us which had began to throw out a few words. One in particular being ‘Alien‘ which in retrospect is something I would usually ignore and just assume the device had thrown out a random word.
It wasn’t until we’d explored the cave that we found that someone had drawn three ‘Alien‘ head symbols in a kind of graffiti on the wall inside of the cave.
Later that evening, with my mind ticking over the subject, I’d decided to do a little research into it and I found out that particular area in Derbyshire is very well-known for UFO sightings in the sky.
Not only that, some believe the area to be very active for this phenomena as there is a power station very nearby and apparently that can act as a hub for that kind of activity and those interested in that kind of thing are known to camp out at the cave looking for a glimpse of something quite literally, out of this world!
Now, I’m not a UFO hunter, I’m a ghost hunter, but I did find this theory fascinating all the same, especially because the Alice box had said that particular word which then led me to find out that it does indeed have links to the area….
So if there is any avid UFO hunters out there, check this place out and let us know if you find anything?
This was our second visit to the Anchor Church Cave, although our first had only been a few days in between each other!
We always like to reccy a location first to find out what we are dealing with and this was a prime example of why we do this! It turns out the cave is a couple of miles walk (at least.) The first time we went we almost died and the second time we got absolutely drenched and covered in mud… It was fun though!
It’s not for the faint of heart, I’ll tell you that!
But, regardless of all that, the cave itself and the surrounding area once we had arrived was absolutely beautiful. As mentioned we went early evening whilst it was still light which allowed James to take some amazing photographs.
I definitely recommend you check out our investigation video at the top of the page if you haven’t already!
It’s fine me sat here explaining what happened to you, but in the video you can also see for yourself some of the amazing stuff we captured!
On our second visit we went straight into the investigation.
It was around half past 9 when we got to the cave and it doesn’t start getting dark here properly until around 10PM now in these ‘summer months’
It may have been a little light outside but inside of the cave it was as dark as ever and we pretty much began to receive intelligent responses from the off.
I like this location as it’s not typically investigated by a lot of teams all year around. I can understand why though with the journey you have to take to get there!
To me that makes it a really special place.
Though I’m sure that after this blog goes out a lot of other investigators will want to check it out (if they haven’t already) all I will say is PLEASE BE CAREFUL if visiting due to the terrain and also be mindful of going on a Friday or a weekend evening as it tends to be full of youths drinking or people camping out.
You’re better off going midweek and hoping you don’t bump in to anyone… living at least! (lol)
We began our investigation in the left side of the cave.
I’d actually set up a small ‘Alter’ with a cross and some candles as well as a touch sensor device made by Andy at Infraready. I wanted to do this experiment as the cave was used as a place of worship in the past and I was hoping it may have drawn out some of the spirits that could possibly reside there.
As stated, we had strange happenings right from the off.
A lot of the activity seemed to stem around the carved cave entrance doorway where we heard what sounded like footsteps a few times. It was as if someone was entering and then stopping at the door and not coming inside fully.
Maybe it’s because we were there? but we did our up most to try to make this spirit feel comfortable and to join us, which eventually, we believe it did.
You’ll see in the video that we captured a few strange voices on the cameras audio (best to listen with headphones) some of the words are quite clear and the majority seemed to be coming from a female.
One of my favourite moments is when James moves into the left side and you’ll clearly hear a muffled voice say “Hi” at first which then turned to “Hello” a little louder.
I remember being sat in the opposite side of the cave and hearing a woman’s voice at that moment although I was unsure what she had said.
Within a few seconds I responded and just said “hello?”
It’s as if I had answered her! You can also then see the difference between the voice captured on the audio and my own.
We also had a strange experience with the candles. I’m still unsure if it was just the wick making them change / blow but it only seemed to do it when we asked it too or we were calling out.
I can’t definitely say that was paranormal… but at the same time I can’t say it wasn’t (like a lot of things I suppose!)
James began to hear voices in the cave so we decided to conduct an EVP session. I like to use white noise when conducting EVP, I believe it helps the spirits to speak. You’ll see me explain this in the video about the different types of noise.
We did about four or five sessions but only two of them stood out to me when listening back. Those are the two that are included in the video.
I ran them through a programme so you can see audio waves and where it spikes. When the voice appears on the EVP strangely there is no spike unlike when me and James speak, you can clearly see the audio format of those.
My favourite is definitely what sounds like a little girl humming and if you listen close with headphones it carries on right to the end of that particular recording.
For the final part of the investigation we moved into the right side of the cave. In this area for some unknown reason James always feels uncomfortable. He said it’s like he’s being surrounded, just an uncomfortable feeling which puts him on edge!
I actually felt fine this entire investigation and didn’t feel threatened in the slightest.
We had the Alice box running at this point and at first it seemed to be describing the remanence of the evening at the cave prior to this one. It was quite clear someone had camped inside of it with leftover BBQ and wood etchings on the floor.
The Alice box said ‘tent’ ‘burning’ — it all made sense.
During this time we’d also caught the flash of a light next to me which James had also witnessed with his own eyes.
We actually captured this on camera. I’ve zoomed in and also slowed it down for you all to check out. When I did a frame by frame on the footage it approximately lasts for around half a second or so. It appears to swoop up out of nowhere and then disappear.
We were using an infrared night vision camera and were not using any kind of direct light source therefore we have no idea where this flash could have come from and it was the only time it happened on the footage throughout the night.
I personally believe that using infrared whilst investigating makes any kind of light anomaly or shadow much more credible.
With the Alice box responding well, we also received two names.
Elizabeth and Jack.
I don’t know why but at the time I had a feeling about these two names, whether I just have a really overactive imagination or not I don’t know. I really had a hunch that Jack was a child.
You’ll see me speak about this in the video and then a disembodied voice will respond “yes” — was this answering me? Was I right? I don’t know. I seem to be picking up on more and more strange feelings like this just lately.
I’ve now researched the names to see if I could link them to the area and whilst I couldn’t find anything for Jack, I did indeed find something for an Elizabeth.
Elizabeth Burdett was the mother of Sir Francis Burdett. Her son was the one who extended the caves in the middle 1800’s — she died when he was very young and later his father remarried. She was actually quite well-known to the foremark area.
Was this Elizabeth communicating with us throughout the evening?
As mentioned, the disembodied voices we captured seemed to be coming from a female.
Now with James still feeling a little uneasy we did have a quick break and then do a spirit box session for around 15 minutes or so.
This is not included in the video as unfortunately we didn’t capture a single voice. It was nothing but white noise for the entire time.
I really enjoyed this investigation, it definitely felt like we were not alone and we believe whatever was there definitely made itself known!
I really hope you’ve enjoyed the blog and the video!
You can check out the photographs that James took and his amazing gallery over on Haunted Insight by clicking HERE
But until next time,
Happy hunting! 😉
Blog written and video edited by Vicky Grant
Photos of location by James Pykett