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Lord Combermere's Ghost

One of the things England is renowned for is the many Famous hauntings that have been witnessed and chronicled over the centuries, and which go back as far as the history of Britain itself. Ghostly spectres  have been witnessed by people from all walks of life, from the lowly peasant to the Kings and Queens of England, and many royal stately homes and castles are still believed to be haunted to this day.

Being born and raised England, the notion of ghosts and hauntings is not entirely strange to this Author, and in fact it is quite common to find most English people will have had some kind of paranormal experience. Having lived in two old English homes which both dated back to the 15th Century, I (and my friends who sometimes slept over) would have to say that we believed at least one of them was haunted.  It has been my experience that most English people I know believe in the existence of Ghosts – not because we are ignorant, flaky, superstitious fools, but until you have lived or slept in a 500 year old house and had such strange experiences happen to you personally, it is understandable that you may be skeptical.

This is a list of some of the most famous haunted locations in England.  There are probably hundreds of thousands more that are lesser or only locally known.

 

Arundel Castle's Norman motte with the quadrangle in the foreground.

Arundel Castle's Norman motte with the quadrangle in the foreground.

 Arundel Castle

Arundel Castle in Sussex is often said to be home to four ghosts. The spirit of the first Earl of Arundel, who originally built the castle, is said to still haunt the Castle’s Keep. Another spirit is believed to be a young woman who took her own life by jumping to her death from one of the towers. Seen by some, she is said to still haunt the castle on moonlit nights dressed in white. Another spirit often seen is a ‘Blue Man’ who has been seen within the library since the 1630s and due to his clothing is thought to be a Cavalier from the reign of King Charles I. Another notable ‘spirit’ is that of a strange white owl like bird. Legend says that if the white bird is seen fluttering in one of the windows, it is an imminent warning of a death of a Castle resident or someone closely associated. Dukes of Arundel Castle used to keep a colony of white American Owls at the castle before its restoration. There is also mention of a servant lad who was beaten to his death and who is said to now haunt the kitchen area and has been seen scrubbing pots and pans. Another strange recent sighting was in 1958 by a Castle footman walking near the servant’s quarters who saw what he thought to be a man walking in front of him when he thought he had been alone. As he got closer to the apparition, the man faded and then was gone.

 

Belgrave Hall in Leicester, England, attracted much attention in 1999 when a white figure was captured on CCTV. One theory is it is the daughter of a former owner.

50 Berkeley Square is reputed to be the most haunted house in London.

Bircham Newton (former RAF Airfield) in Norfolk.

Blue Bell Hill in Kent, England, specifically the A229 motorway. This has been the site of a female ghostly hitchhiker. Cars have stopped to pick up a female hitchhiker only for her to then vanish, to the drivers’ disbelief.

Bochym Manor is said to be residence to two ghosts;  the pink lady and an unnamed ghost who stands at one of the bedroom windows.

 

Rear view of Borley Rectory

Rear view of Borley Rectory

Borley Rectory

Borley Rectory in the village of Borley, Essex, England is one of the most famous and supposedly haunted houses in Britain. Many sightings have been reported since 1885. The house burned down in 1939, and remains a huge source of controversy.

Brislington, once an attractive Somerset village but now a neighborhood in Bristol, England, has many ghosts in pubs and hotels, houses old and new, and public spaces.

Bruce Castle in Tottenham, North London is haunted by the ghost of a woman who allegedly appears every 3 November. The ghost is thought to be Lady Coleraine, who was kept locked up in a chamber within the castle by her husband.

The Busby Stoop Inn, Thirsk, North Yorkshire. This windswept Yorkshire pub is apparently so well known for being haunted, it is said that you can’t move at the bar for parapsychologists, such is the place’s renown. The former landlord and murderer Thomas Busby’s remains were hanged outside the pub on public display after his execution in 1702. He had killed his father-in-law with a hammer. Busby cursed the chair he was dragged from by the police, and afterward anyone who sat in it was said to have died shortly after.  The chair is now in a local museum, but Busby’s ghost is apparently still spotted, his head drooping and a rope around his neck.

Castle Lodge, Ludlow in Ludlow, Shropshire, England, is believed by many to be haunted by a young girl in Tudor dress. Some say this is Catherine of Aragon, who lived in Castle Lodge during her marriage to Prince Arthur.

Chingle Hall is in the village of Goosnargh, near Preston, England. Previously known as Singleton Hall, Chingle Hall was built in 1260 by Sir Adam de Singleton. It is reputably haunted by more than one spirit.

Crowley Hall in the north of England, is supposedly haunted by the spirit of Dr. Bernard Leys. Leys ran the hall for a number of years before dying under mysterious circumstances in 1952. Sightings of ghosts have been reported since the 1970s.

Dartmouth, Devon, in South-West England is an ancient maritime town which has many modern and traditional ghost stories including some recently discovered spirits from the Bronze Age.

Dorset in Southern England is said to be haunted by an axe wielding ghost riding a horse bareback, and is described by witnesses as looking like a stone age warrior.

East Kirkby (former RAF Airfield) in east Lincolnshire. The control tower is allegedly haunted by a ‘malign’ presence.

Elsham Wolds (former RAF Airfield) , near the A15 motorway, just north of Barnetby in North Lincolnshire. The control tower was reportedly haunted by a friendly ghost of an airman, reported in the 1950s. Phantom Lancaster Bombers (airplanes) have also reportedly been seen taking off at night over the A15 motorway.

 

Hampton Court Palace: The Great Gatehouse

Hampton Court Palace: The Great Gatehouse

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace, in Surrey, England and located just outside of London, was the former home of King Henry VIII of England, and is believed to be haunted by Henry’s fifth wife, Catherine Howard. Catherine is supposed to be heard screaming in the “Haunted Gallery”. On December 21, 2003, CCTV footage allegedly showed someone dressed in 16th century clothing with no face closing a fire door that, though locked, was constantly being opened without anyone near it.

(The) Jamaica Inn in Cornwall South-West England is reputed to be haunted by the ghosts of a highwayman, a murdered smuggler, a mother and child, and phantom horses.

Levens Hall, near Kendal, Lake District, Cumbria, Northern England. Levens Hall is a 15th Century Elizabethan manor house with a creepy 12th-century tower. The legend goes that a gypsy was once refused food and shelter during a harsh winter in the 17th Century, and who can now allegedly still be seen dressed in Grey, sometimes accompanied by a black dog. There are also ghostly tales of a lesser-seen Pink Lady, and a phantom harpsichord player, though he or she hasn’t been heard since the 1950s.

 

Hampton Court Palace: The King's Staircase - murals painted by Antonio Verrio

Hampton Court Palace: The King's Staircase

Minsden Chapel in Hertfordshire, England is reported to be haunted by a monk climbing stairs which no longer exist.

Muncaster Castle in the Lake District National Park, Ravenglass, Northern England.

Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire, Northern England. Lord Byron’s former ancestral country home is believed to be home to many ghosts. As well as the White Lady Ghost, there are the Goblin Friar and Black Friar ghosts. The Goblin Friar was said to appear to the head of the Byron family before an unhappy event. In the 1930’s the ghost of the Black Friar pointed a lost doctor to the correct bedroom of a lady who was about to give birth.

The Old Bailey, London’s main criminal court. A figure (of indeterminable gender) supposedly appears in the building during important trials. These appearances have been allegedly witnessed by judges, barristers and policemen.

Palace Theatre, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, in East England . Actors have reported weird tobacco smells, and theatre-goers sitting with no one beside them have reported feeling a hand on their shoulder. The spirit is thought to be that of a theatre manager who hung himself from the fly floor when the theatre got into financial difficulties. Sightings of a ‘distinguished woman in white’ and the sound of a piano coming from the deserted pit add to the eerie atmosphere.

Pendle Hill, near Clitheroe, Lancashire, Northern England is often said to be one of the scariest places in England. Tales of ghost-inflicted injuries, strange sightings, uncanny feelings of dread, and even ‘possessions’, have abounded. This beautiful area once experienced English history’s most famous witchcraft trials, after which ten witches were hanged, after being accused of putting curses on locals using clay effigies.

Pluckley in Kent,  South-East England, is listed in the 1998 edition of the Guinness Book of Records as the most haunted village in England. Ghosts include a phantom coach and horses, a colonel and a highwayman.

(The) Ram Inn, Wooton under Edge, Gloucestershire, England. Lots of inns in the UK claim to be the ‘most haunted’, but the 12th-century Ram Inn is considered to be the winner of that coveted title. It was converted into a private residence in 1968.  Child sacrifice and black magic practices are alleged to have taken place here. The Bishop’s Room is the paranormal hotspot: visitors have reported apparitions, unexplained noises, ghostly orbs and even a spectral cat. The Ram is also supposed to have been built on an old pagan burial site.

Raynham Hall Ghost photograph, Captain Hubert C. Provand. First published in Countrylife magazine, 1936

Raynham Hall Ghost photograph, Captain Hubert C. Provand. First published in Countrylife magazine, 1936

Raynham Hall, Norfolk, England. The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall has been sighted quite a few times over the years. She is so called because of the brown brocade dress she is supposedly seen wearing while wandering the halls and staircase, and she is believed to be the ghost of Lady Dorothy Townshend, who was locked away in a remote corner of her house by her husband until she passed away many years later. In 1849 a Major Loftus and a friend named Hawkins claimed to see the ghost one night after retiring to bed, saying they were amazed by the old-fashioned clothing she wore. The next night Major Loftus claimed to see the figure once again, saying he took note of her empty eye-sockets. The incident resulted in several members of staff resigning and a full investigation of Raynham Hall involving local detectives.

Renishaw Hall, in Derbyshire, North-West England is a stately home where renovations uncovered a coffin built into the floor of a bedroom of the house. Several people who slept there had reported being woken by cold kisses. The ghost of a female servant was also seen.

Royal Albert Hall, London. There have been a number of reported sightings at the Royal Albert Hall, including the ghost of Father Willis, walking around inside the organ and two ladies wandering the corridors.

Samlesbury Hall in Preston, Lancashire, Northern England is supposedly haunted by Lady Dorothy Southworth, known as the “White Lady”. Weeping is often heard, and her ghost has been seen wandering near where her lover was buried.

St Mary’s Church, Beaminster, Dorset, Southern England. In the spring of 1728 a boy from the school within the church, John Daniel, was found dead near his home. As he was known to suffer from fits, he was buried without an inquest. A few days later, some schoolboys found a coffin in the church, with John Daniel sitting next to it, then the apparition and coffin disappeared. The boys told of their story and were believed by a magistrate, who then had the body of John Daniel exhumed. The boy was found to have been strangled, but no one was ever apprehended for the crime.

Temple Newsam in Yorkshire, Northern England is reported to be the most haunted house in Yorkshire, with the most famous ghost being Mary Ingram, commonly known as “the Blue lady”. Ghosts linked with the more famous residents of Temple Newsam include “the White lady”, who is said to be the ghost of the the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey, who was executed by Mary I.

(The) Tower of London. As it was the location of violent, bloody tortures and executions for hundreds of years, it’s little wonder that the Tower of London is said to be one of London’s most haunted locations. And due to the erstwhile English penchant for death by beheading, it’s home to some classic headless spectres, many of them well-known figures from history. Anne Boleyn is said to walk the corridors in a headless state, and also to promenade on Tower Green with her head intact. Sir Walter Raleigh has been spotted, too. Dogs, it’s said, will not enter the creepy tower known as Salt Tower. There are also two anonymous ghosts known as the Grey Lady and the White Lady.

Tutbury Castle viewed from the east wall

Tutbury Castle viewed from the east wall

Tutbury Castle in Tutbury, Staffordshire, England is a mostly ruinous medieval castle which is said to be haunted by many ghosts. There is the ghost of a soldier seen wandering the parapets and also the ghost of the white lady who appears in the window of the Tower. Many paranormal investigations have been carried out over the years. The most serious activity is thought to be in what is described as the King’s bedroom. There have also been many sightings of what appears to be the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots who was imprisoned here for a period of time before her execution.

Willington Mill, Wallsend. The house and flour mill in Willington have been reported to have been haunted since 1834.

Windsor Castle, Berkshire, near London. Home of English and British royalty for 1,000 years, numerous ghosts are supposed to have been seen at Windsor Castle, including Queen Elizabeth I.  Her father, Henry VIII and her mother Anne Boleyn are also said to haunt the castle and Anne supposedly runs down a corridor screaming. Among those who claimed to have seen her ghost, who sometimes is said to be carrying her head, are King George VI, William Ewart Gladstone and Andrew, Duke of York.

Karen Banting

About Karen Banting

Karen Banting has written 26 posts in this blog.

Karen is an author & blogger with a lifelong interest in science & the paranormal.

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