The Cleves Room is at the centre of Preston Manor’s reputation as a haunted house, owing to a séance that was held here on 11 November 1896. The medium, Ada Goodrich Freer, claimed she could receive messages from a nun called Sister Agnes, who had been murdered as a result of jealousy between another nun and a monk.
A year later, a woman’s body, believed to be over 400 years old, was discovered under the terrace of the house.
Aside from this eerie event, this small leather-lined room was used as a sitting room and a card room over the years.
- In 1880, a set of gilt leather panels were installed. Extremely fashionable at the time, the leather is Dutch with a design of fruit and flowers, monkeys, eagles and small birds, in gold and black on an ivory colour back ground.
- The room is named after Anne of Cleves, the fourth wife of Henry VIII, who is said to have stayed at the house before retiring to a convent near Falmer.
- In the room hangs a portrait of Sir Anthony Shirley of Preston, a former resident of Preston Manor and Sussex MP for many years.