I thought I would feel terrified visiting a 12th century abbey where the spirits of monks have been seen - but I was proved wrong.

Coggeshall has been named a hotspot for paranormal activity and I was itching to explore the town’s stunning abbey with broadcaster John West.

John, who is working on a new ghost series for TV, agreed to meet me and the owners of Coggeshall Abbey, Roger and Jill Hadlee.

The couple have been at the abbey for 18 years, restoring it as a retirement project, and Mr Hadlee had no reservations as he led us to one of the oldest sections of the building.

“My wife has seen a monk in a brown habit just outside the gate, and our gardener says she saw a monk sitting down on the bench,” he states matter-of-factly.

“He was just relaxing and looked totally normal, there’s a nice atmosphere here, the monks are friendly and there is nothing sinister.”

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Once I had grown used to the eerie fog which hung around the banks of the River Blackwater, seeping into Mr Hadlee’s back garden, I realised he was right.

I was no longer apprehensive, instead there was something tranquil about strolling through the greenery.

One of the abbey’s most famous ghost stories is from 1194 when some Knights Templars were shown to the guest house.

When the hosteller looking after them returned to speak to the knights, asking if they wished to dine with the head of the abbey, they had disappeared completely.

The abbey is full of history, stories and has housed a number of important guests including Edward II who held court there in 1325.

After our visit John West, who contributes to Psychic News magazine in Coggeshall, said ghosts are not all bad.

He said: “There is a relaxed feeling about Coggeshall, I have been to some locations where there is a very oppressive atmosphere, like someone is throwing a blanket over you.

“It’s supposedly one of the most haunted places in the UK, because ley lines of psychic energy cross through it.

“It’s a fascinating town and the stories are intriguing.”

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Other haunted buildings include 47 Church Street, the White Hart hotel in Market End, and Ranfield’s Brasserie in Stoneham Street.

All these buildings have had unexplainable sightings but John said sometimes there simply is no answer.

“The frustrating thing is sometimes you don’t know why things are there,” he said.

“It’s one of those things, you can’t have a neat ending to an investigation.

“There’s lots of different theories and explanations, not all ghosts are the same.”

Paul Brett became the assistant editor of Psychic News in 1995, and the magazine’s offices moved to Coggeshall in October.

He thought not having an answer was completely normal.

He said: “People’s minds start opening to spirituality when there is a period of coincidences that are just too unexplainable.

“It happened to me and at first people think you’re going mad, people think it’s just a coincidence, but there’s never any explanation.

“The most important thing is there isn’t anything to be scared of, the horror industry does scare people but the magazine is there to allay those fears.”

He said some spirits are just recordings, emotions etched into the walls of a building that replay themselves.

Some spirits are figures who for some reason cannot or will not leave a building, he explains.

Whatever the spirits are doing in Coggeshall, I realised they were not there to send me running.

I felt they wanted me there, to share their experience of a place they once called home.

To book a tour of Coggeshall Abbey visit www.invitationtoview.co.uk or contact the Mercury Theatre in Colchester.

To find out more about Psychic News magazine visit www.psychicnews.co.uk.