Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain

Natasha sheldon - October 20, 2017

History can leave its mark on places in many ways. Monuments and buildings stand as momentoes of past times and events, while below the surface, the discarded past lurks, waiting to reveal itself at the most unexpected moments. History can also mark a place in other ways- even when nothing material remains. It can live on in memory as stories and myths. Or, if you believe in them, it can manifest in the form of ghosts.

Psychic imprints, the spirits of lost souls or the workings of overactive imaginations, ghosts, and supernatural occurrences are as much a part of the history of Britain as its buildings and other physical remains. The stories of the ghosts can bring the past alive, giving a human dimension to the dry facts. They could even be real….

Here are just twelve uncanny places in Britain haunted by time, events and possibly the spirits of the dead.

Greyfriars Cemetery, Edinburgh


Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
The Black Mausoleum, Greyfriar’s cemetery, Edinburgh. Google Images

Edinburgh is a city haunted by time. It evolved along a volcanic ridge which rises to the high crag on which Edinburgh Castle sits. A natural defensive site, the hill was occupied from prehistory. As time flowed, the settlement grew, packing the narrow space with buildings. By the Middle Ages, the area around the road leading to the Castle, now known as The Royal Mile, was crammed with houses which reached upwards by several stories- and downwards too, as space ran out.

Tales of long-deceased residents, who still haunt Edinburgh’s ancient streets, abound. However, just below The Royal Mile is the site of one of the darkest acts in Edinburgh’s history. Greyfriar’s Cemetery is best known for its sweet tale of Greyfriars Bobby, the faithful Skye terrier who camped out at its dead master’s grave. However, in 1679, the cemetery housed the Covenanter’s prison, where four hundred people were kept caged in the open air and left to starve and die over that winter.

The Covenanters were a group of Scottish Presbyterians who, in 1638 signed a covenant disputing the belief that the king acted directly for god. The Covenanters believed only in the authority of Christ – and so they refused to accept the King as head of the Scottish church. The crown viewed this opposition as treason. After the restoration of the English monarchy, the crown began to crack down on the Covenanters. In 1679, matters came to a head at the Battle of Bothwell Brig when 1200 covenanters were captured and sent to Edinburgh for trial. A portion of them were kept at Greyfriars.

A stone’s throw away from the site of the Covenanter’s prison in Greyfriar’s Cemetery is the tomb of one of the Covenanter’s chief persecutors: Sir George Mackenzie, Lord Advocate of Scotland. In 1998, a homeless man sought shelter in Mackenzie’s tomb. As he tried to make himself comfortable for the night, he disturbed the floor of the mausoleum and fell through it – into an old plague pit, full of half-rotted remains.

The terrified man fled. Then, just a few days later, the mausoleum became the center of violent, unseen activity. Since 1998, Ghost hunters have collected over 500 reports and pictures of these attacks, which consisted of bites, scratches, burns – and bruises about the neck which are consistent with attempted strangulation. Mysterious fires have broken out in houses behind the tomb.

In 2000, a priest tried an exorcism in Greyfriars and had to give up because of the overwhelming misery he felt from the many spirits he encountered. Some believe that the incident disturbed the spirit of Judge Mackenzie- and maybe by default, the Covenanters he persecuted.

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
The Treasurer’s House, York. Google Images


York has been described as the most haunted city in Europe. This reputation is hardly surprising. In its time, York has been garrisoned by the Romans and settled by the Vikings. It has been a northern center of dissent. In 1536, a local lawyer, Robert Aske, led 35,000 peaceful protestors on the Pilgrimage of Grace– a protest against the dissolution of the monasteries- only to find himself hung in chains over the gate of York Castle.

Aske’s spirit seems content to rest in peace. Not so many others in York, including his fellow rebel from another era, Sir Roger de Clifford, who was similarly executed at York Castle for his uprising against Edward II in 1322. De Clifford now haunts the part of the castle known as Clifford’s Tower. Elsewhere in the city, The Golden Fleece pub, former favorite haunt of members of the wool merchant’s guild, is reputedly haunted by at least fifteen spirits, earning it the reputation of York’s most haunted pub.

One of these ghosts is a Canadian airman, Geoff Monroe, who, in 1945 had the misfortune to kill himself by falling out of the window of his room at the Inn. Modern guests occupying the same chamber often describe being disturbed by an icy touch. They wake to see the uniformed airman watching them. However, the pub’s most chilling ghostly sighting occurred in 2002, when a group of drinkers were astonished by the sight of a man in seventeenth-century clothing walking past the bar into a wall in front of them. What was particularly terrifying was the fact the ghost paused and turned to look straight at the drinkers before continuing on his journey.

One of York’s most fascinating ghost stories is the Roman soldiers in the cellars of the Treasurer’s House. In 1953, a young apprentice engineer, Harry Martindale was working in the basement, when he heard the blow of a horn. Suddenly, out of the cellar wall came a cart and a troop of Roman soldiers in full uniform- visible only from the knees upwards. Terrified, Harry fell off his ladder but recovered sufficiently to tell his tale. At the time, people laughed at him.

But his descriptions of the uniforms and equipment of the soldiers were too exact to be an invention. Excavations in the 1970s discovered that the Roman road to the old garrison ran straight through the cellar- fifteen inches below the floor level, which explained why Harry’s soldiers were invisible only above the knees.

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
Pendle Hill, Lancashire. Google Images

Pendle Hill

Pendle Hill lies in east Lancashire, separated from the central belt of the Pennines by the River Ribble. It takes its name from the Cumbric ‘pen’ and the old English ‘hyll’ – both meaning hill. The hill broods over a spot of great natural beauty near the towns of Burnley, Colne, and Padiham. A Bronze Age burial site was found at the hill’s summit- a testament to this remote area’s continued settlement. However, it is events in the seventeenth century that Pendle is most famous.

In 1661, local mathematician Richard Townley conducted a barometer experiment on the hill, testing the surrounding air pressure at different altitudes. But Pendle Hill’s reputation rests more with mystical events than in science. In 1652, George Fox, founder of the Quaker movement, felt compelled to climb the summit of hill ‘by God.’ There, he had a vision of “a great people to be gathered.”

However, Pendle is most famous for its witches. In 1612, twelve local people, ten women, and two men were arrested, tried and executed for witchcraft. The investigation began when John Law, a peddler, accused one Alison Device of striking him down with witchcraft.

Alison, who lived in a run-down hovel, grandly known a Malkin Tower, admitted it. Her family, which included her eighty-year-old grandmother Elizabeth Southerns, known as Mother Demdike, her mother Elizabeth Device, brother James and nine-year-old sister Jennet, likewise fell under suspicion.

Alison’s family may well have regarded themselves as cunning folk. It was the only living open to them and a way of gaining some standing in life. However, now they were accused of murder. They quickly implicated a rival family: “Old Chattel,” aka Anne Whittle and her daughter Anne Redferne. The accusations soon spread to outside individuals: Jane Bulcock and her son John, Alice Nutter, Katherine Hewitt, Alice Grey and Jennet Preston. All were named as members of a coven- and identified by the nine-year-old Jennet Device.

The Pendle witches, as they became known may have been tried and executed at Lancaster. But their story- and some say actual spirits- haunt the area of Pendle Hill still. Every Halloween, large numbers of visitors climb Pendle Hill trying to experience a fragment of the supernatural spirit for which the area is famous. Witnesses claim to have glimpsed ghosts and spirits on Pendle Hill and its surrounding area. Whether the real ghosts of the accused witches haunt Pendle Hill is debatable. But this episode in the areas’ history certainly adds to the hill’s mystical reputation.

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
Culloden Moor. Google Images

Culloden Moor

Culloden Moor is the site of the last ever battle on British soil and the final nail in the coffin of the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745, which arose in response to the loss of the British crown by the Stuart dynasty. The Battle, which took place on April 16, 1746, lasted just 40 minutes. By its end, most of the supporters of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the Stuart Candidate for the British throne were dead- as was a whole way of life in Scotland.

The Highlanders supporting the would-be King were outnumbered and exhausted, having only just trekked back from Northern England where they had attempted to rally support for their cause. Conditions on the battlefield were against them as the boggy ground of the moor that did not suit the Highland style of fighting.

After just twenty minutes of being fired upon by the red coat artillery commanded by the Duke of Cumberland, most of the Jacobite forces had been wiped out. As Prince Charles himself was not on the field, the Jacobites were left without direction and in the end saw no other course of action but to charge the enemy troops.

It was a bloodbath. The redcoats cut down with sword and bayonet those Highlanders they did not manage to shoot. Retribution at the end of the battle was just as brutal. Any Jacobite found to be alive but wounded were executed where they lay. Few escaped, but the English hunted down those who did manage to flee. Culloden smashed the clans, and the Crown outlawed all emblems of the Highland way of life. Not only did the Jacobite Highlanders lose Culloden- they lost their culture.

At the time of the battle, Culloden was grazing grounds for local tenant farmers. In the years between, heather has grown on the moors, and headstones erected for the graves of each clan lost. It is a sad but peaceful place. But birds reputedly never sing about the exact site of the battle.

And every April 16th, the ghosts of Culloden’s dead are said to rise again, and visitors can hear echoes of the cries of death and the clash of steel over the moor. Many visitors have also reported seeing a tall man in tartan, his features drawn in pain stumbling about the area, murmuring ‘defeated,’ and some are said to have seen the ghosts of the severely wounded lying on the ground.

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
The Battle of Bosworth. Google Images

Bosworth Battlefield, Leicestershire

Like Culloden Moor, Bosworth Field was the scene of the final act of one of the dramas of British History: The War of the Roses. On August 22, 1485, the forces of Richard III met those of Henry Tudor in the fields surrounding Market Bosworth, Leicestershire to fight for the crown of Britain. The Battle was the last time a King of England fought in the battle on British soil.

Richard had the advantage. He had the army with the most significant number of troops-until those under the command of Sir William Stanley, who had sworn allegiance to Richard but happened to be Henry Tudor’s stepfather, deserted the King. As a result of Stanley’s treachery, Richard lost. Villagers dug pits and buried the battlefield dead. Meanwhile, Henry VII’s victorious troops took Richard’s corpse back to Leicester where they placed it on ignominious display before quietly burying it.

Historians have long debated the exact location of Richard III’s last stand. In 2009, archaeologists conclusively identified the core area of the battlefield as two miles southwest of the visitor’s center. This identification occurred because of the high concentration of cannonball, gunshot and a small silver-gilt badge in the shape of a boar- King Richard’s emblem that was given out to his followers.

However, the broader area of Bosworth Field is still acknowledged to have been a place of fighting- especially the area around Ambion Hill, where King Richard was said to have rested the night before the fight began. Visitors have also experienced the ghost of the battle. Andrew James Wright quotes one such tale in his book ‘Ghosts and Hauntings in and around Leicestershire.’

During the 1980s, a group of visitors were attending a steam rally, held on Bosworth Field. But as the day wore on, one of the lady visitors began to feel most unusual. Despite the bright sunshine, she felt the day was cold and grey and started to talk to her companions about ‘the hill.’, which she later identified as Ambion Hill. Becoming very distressed, the lady asked for a horse. She claimed she could hear shouting and screaming and the sounds of battle. The visitors had no particular interest in the field’s history so hadn’t noted the date. It was August 22-the anniversary of the Battle of Bosworth Field.

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
The Ancient Ram Inn, Google Images

The Ancient Ram Inn, Gloucestershire

The Ancient Ram Inn is a place that is remarkable for its age alone. The former village inn of Wotton Under Edge, Gloucestershire has survived intact for 872 years, avoiding fire, demolition, and redevelopment. It is the oldest building in Wotton. It boasts the most ancient wooden window frame in Britain- and has the oldest surviving board for the game, Nine Men’s Morris, which someone carved into its stone inglenook in 1540. However, the former pub is home not only to its elderly owner but also 20 ghosts, earning it the title of most haunted house in Britain.

The site of the inn may have been in use for thousands of years. In 1997, the ancient bone fragments of children and an iron knife were discovered under the kitchen, leading to speculation that the inn covers an old pagan burial site. However, without full archaeological investigation, there is no way of substantiating this. What is known is that the Inn was built in 1145 when William FitzRobert, heir to Lord Berkley was the first rector of Wotton. The Ancient Ram probably started life as the house of the local priest.

By the end of the reign of King John in 1216, much of Wotton had been destroyed by fire- all except the Ancient Ram. It now became a kind of hostel for artisans and labourers building the Church of St Mary the Virgin in the centre of the village. Later weavers occupied the attic, and the inn eventually became a pub.

In the twentieth century, it changed hands frequently, and by 1965 was in decline, crumbling, riddled with deathwatch beetle and fast losing customers. Declining and unprofitable, the brewery put it up for sale. It narrowly avoided being demolished as part of a road-widening scheme. But in 1968, John Humphries purchased it.

Before Mr. Humphries moved in, there are few documented accounts of hauntings. Guests who stayed in what is known as The Bishop’s Room were said to have fled the premises in terror during the night. But little more is known. However, Mr. Humphries claims to have been dragged from his bed on his very first night in the inn. His daughter also stated that she once awoke to find a chest of drawers hovering above her before she, her mother and sisters decamped to a caravan.

Since then, Humphries and assorted ghost hunters have identified the spirits of a witch, a high priestess, a murdered woman, several crying children, a monk and an incubus and succubus as sharing the premises with him. How true all of this is can only be speculated. But as one reporter said, its the history and survival of The Ancient Ram that makes it exceptional. It doesn’t need the ghosts.

The Spooky Ram Inn: Don’t let the bed bugs and randy sex demon bite!

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
Interior of Skirrid Mountain Inn, Wales-with noose. Google Images

The Skirrid Mountain Inn, Wales

One public house that is still in use and older than the Ancient Ram is the Skirrid Mountain Inn. Situated in the village of Llanvihangel Crucorney, in Wales’s Brecon Beacons, the Inn takes its name from the remote, cone-shaped mountain, which dominates the area. Legend tells how lightning struck the Skirrid at the very moment of Christ’s crucifixion. The inn’s spooky reputation, however, is all its own.

The original inn was built over 900 years ago in 1110, although the outer shell today is from the seventeenth century, making the Inn the oldest in Wales. It has a reputation for ghosts, which is unsurprising given its history. In the Middle Ages, Pilgrims flocked to the nearby Skirrid Hill, (which is also known as ‘The Holy Mountain’) every Michaelmas Eve, to bring away soil from the mount as a relic. So the inn would have been a natural stop off point for these religious comings and goings.

However, the Skirrid Mountain inn’s history became more colourful in the fifteenth century. It is credited as being one of the rallying points for Welsh hero Owain Glyndwr who led the Welsh revolt against the English between 1400 and 1415. Locals joining the rebellion gathered at the inn courtyard, where Glyndwr himself was said to have made an appearance and rallied the troops. In the seventeenth century, Judge Jefferies, ‘the hanging judge’ was reputed to have presided over trials held in the inn in the aftermath of the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685. There is, however no reliable documentary evidence for this.

What is certain however is that the inn acted as a court- and people were executed on the premises. The first floor of the Inn served as a courtroom and what is now a storeroom was used as a holding cell. Those convicted of capital crimes were hung from an oak beam over the staircase just outside the courtroom. Markings from the ropes biting into the wood of the beam are still visible today. Reputedly 180-200 people were convicted and hung on the inn’s premises.

So it’s unsurprising the Skirrid Inn is haunted. Ghosts include at least one of those convicted on the premises, a John Crowther who was hung for sheep stealing. Felons aside, the inn still hosts the spirit of a former hangman, the friendly spectre of a former local clergyman, Henry Vaughn and Fanny Price, an eighteenth-century servant who died of consumption on the premises when she was 35. The spirits manifest in sudden bursts of perfume, rustles of clothing, shadowy sightings- and flying glasses. Some visitors complain that they feel as though they are being strangled and feel nauseous and dizzy just being in the inn.

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
The Hellfire Cave, High Wycombe. Google Images

The Hellfire Caves

The hellfire caves of Wycombe in Buckinghamshire may have started as a natural formation. However, they were reshaped and extended in the eighteenth century by Sir Francis Dashwood, Chancellor of the Exchequer, rake, and Hellfire club member. In the late 1740s, after a series of bad harvests, Dashwood decided to quarry into the caves and so provide employment for local men, surfacing materials for the new London road- and to bring his pet project of an underground temple to fruition.

Dashwood had recently returned from a grand tour, when, besides becoming a Freemason, he had been introduced to the concept of the Eleusinian mysteries. The caves were his interpretation of an Eleusinian cavern of initiation. A long tunnel, with small rooms branching off opened onto a cavernous banqueting room. After passing over an artificial “River Styx,’ the revellers entered into the inner temple- which lay 300 feet below the local St. Lawrence’s church.

Once the work was over in 1752, the caves became a meeting place for Sir Francis’s ‘Order of the Friars of St Francis of Wycombe.’ This club was either a branch of the Hellfire Club, (a gentleman’s club for pleasure-seeking rakes) or a freemasons temple- depending on sources or viewpoints. Here Dashwood was joined by other notables such as Lord Sandwich and even Benjamin Franklin for meetings and ‘ceremonies.’ Whatever the truth of the activities in the caves, they aroused the suspicions of the locals. Tales spread of drunken debauchery and occult activity.

After Dashwood’s time, the caves fell into disuse. By the twentieth century, the caves were in neglect and disrepair. But a subsequent Sir Francis Dashwood renovated them after the Second World War. It was then the caves developed their spooky reputation. At their reopening, a local vicar, Father Allen told a journalist that his stomach wobbled ‘like jelly ‘ every time he passed the entrance. He later gave a sermon about the evil influence of the caves

The ghosts of the caves are varied and reflect their history. Besides mysterious orbs of light, unseen growls and gravel throwing, the spirit of the poet Paul Whitehead whose heart was buried in the caves until its theft by soldier 150 years ago, reputedly wanders the caverns searching for his lost heart. A Victorian ghost called Suki also haunts the caves. A chambermaid at the village pub, she was lured to the caves and murdered by local youths angry that she had spurned them.

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
St Nicholas Church, Pluckley, Kent. Google Images


The small village of Pluckley in Kent was first mentioned in the Domesday Book. The village has been at the centre of no significant events in its history and its most notable claim to fame in recent years has been as the setting for British TV series “The Darling Buds of May.” However, this picturesque village has a sinister reputation as Britain’s most haunted village, with no less than twelve and possibly fourteen ghosts haunting its wooded lanes and historic buildings.

Some of Pluckley’s ghosts are relatively standard for a rural village. There are the ‘Screaming Woods‘ where the spirits of Pluckley’s anonymous deceased make their presence known to the living-loudly. Then there is the phantom coach and horses, which roams Pluckley’s lanes and the White Lady, who was buried in 7 coffins and an oak sarcophagus inside St Nicholas Church. Outside, a ghostly Red Lady and a small dog haunt the churchyard. Then there is the inevitable ghost of the lovelorn, in Pluckley’s case, ‘The Lady of Rose Court’ who poisoned herself after becoming involved in a love triangle.

Other ghosts have more particular tales, such as the highwayman who was killed during an altercation by being pinned by to the oak tree, at the appropriately known “Fright Corner,” by a sword. The highwayman lurks here still, as a sinister, shadowy figure. Then there is the sad ghost of the Watercress Woman, a gipsy who sat on a bridge crossing the village brook selling her wares. The Watercress Woman had a liking for gin and once, when inebriated, managed to soak herself in it and set herself alight when trying to light her pipe.

Her ghost, when visible, can be seen sitting on the bridge, smoking her pipe and drinking the gin that caused her death. Finally, there is the tragic case of a man who was smothered in a wall of clay at the local brickworks.

Not all of Pluckley’s past residents were happy in the village, as at least two hung themselves- only to find themselves stranded in Pluckley for eternity. One was the nineteenth-century schoolmaster who hung himself and was discovered by the children he taught. His ghost, dressed in striped trousers and his favorite jacket still haunts the fields in the school grounds. Likewise, in Park Woods, there is the ghost of a former colonel who also hung himself.

Take a Quick Look Around Pluckley: England’s Most Haunted Village.

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
The Tower of London. Google Images

The Tower of London

The Tower of London is known as one of the most haunted places in Britain. This accolade is no small wonder, for, from the moment its first stone building, the White Tower was constructed at the behest of William the Conqueror in 1078; it has been in constant use. In its time The Tower has been a military stronghold, royal palace, zoo, treasury and a political prison. It has a range of ghosts to match each one of its functions.

The tower was a royal residence right from its inception- and still boasts the ghosts of some of its Royal Residents. Henry VI, who died in his chapel in the Wakefield Tower in 1471 is just one. Some claim he died of a broken heart when the Yorkist king Edward IV took his throne. It is more likely, however, that he was stabbed to death while at prayer. Every May 21st, the anniversary of his death, he is said to appear on the spot he died- and disappear at midnight.

The tower also had a zoo from the 1200s to house a range of exotic animals such as lions, kangaroos, ostriches, elephants and polar bears which were all presented as gifts to various monarchs. In 1835, the zoo closed and the animals moved to the new London Zoo in Regents Park. But one resident remains- in spirit at least. Visitors claim to have seen the ghost of a grizzly bear roaming the precincts of the former menagerie.

The tower is most famous as a prison for traitors and political prisoners- and the spot of many executions. Over the years, over 100 executions have occurred within the Tower precincts, including 93 beheadings and 11 deaths by firing squad. Many of those souls remained within the confines of the tower after death. Amongst them are Henry VIII’s wives Ann Boleyn and Catherine Howard.

Ann quietly haunts her grave in the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula., while Catherine’s spirit can be heard screaming in the room she occupied before her execution. Nine days queen Lady Jane Grey is said to haunt the battlements, and the weeping spirit of her husband, Gilford Dudley is still found in his room.

Some of the hauntings, however, are strange and inexplicable. One evening in the nineteenth century, the crown Jewel keeper E L Swifte was having dinner with his family when his wife spotted a cylindrical object, somewhat like a test tube filled with bubbling blue fluid, moving towards her unaided. The cylinder lurched at her before vanishing into thin air.

Continue Reading: Mysterious Skeletons of Woman and Girl Discovered in Lost Tower of London Chapel.

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
The Brocade Slippers of the Ghost of Papillon Hall, Leicestershire. Google Images

Papillion Hall, Leicestershire

Papillon Hall used to be a mile west of Lubenhall near Lutterworth before its’ demolition in the 1950s. But the legend of its ghost- and maybe the restless spirit itself- remains. The Papillon family built the hall in 1622 on the site of a holy well once belonging to Leicester Abbey. But its sinister reputation dates back to the time of the great-grandson of the original builder, David Papillon, or ‘Pamps.’

Pamps was a handsome man with a sinister reputation. He was believed to have destructive hypnotic powers. He also reputedly kept a Spanish mistress imprisoned in the attic of the house. This mistress is said to have died in 1715 although no one ever recorded her burial. Soon afterward, Pamps married and left the area. He left behind a portrait of himself and a pair of lady’s dancing shoes, with strict instructions that neither were to be removed from the hall.

All was well at the Hall as long as the objects remained in place-as future occupants discovered to their costs. When the Bosworth family sold the hall, they broke the covenant, bequeathing the contents- including painting and shoes- to one of their daughters. Unexpected knockings and misfortunes began to plague the new owner, Lord Hopeton and his household. Events culminated in one terrifying night in 1866 when the entire household gathered in the lobby while they listened to the sounds of furniture being thrown violently around the empty drawing-room. On investigation, everything remained in its right place.

The shoes and portrait were traced and reinstated. But history repeated itself several times when the shoes left the premise. Finally, it was decided to fix them to the hall in a wall safe. But during alterations to the Hall in 1903, the shoes were removed again. A worker was subsequently killed by a falling brick, while the owner, Lord Bellville was hurt in a pony and trap accident. During these same renovations, the skeleton of a woman was found encased in the walls. Could this be the mysterious Spanish lady whose death was never recorded?

On the hall’s demolition, the shoes were reclaimed by a Papillon descendant and gifted to the Leicester museum, and the grounds became a farm. But it seems that even though the house has gone, a presence remains. The Hughes family who owns the farm have heard strange noises around the old stable blocks, which still survive, as well as an eerie feeling of a presence about the land.

Haunted History: 12 of the Creepiest Places in Britain
Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon. Google Images

Berry Pomeroy Castle, Devon

Henry de Pomeroy completed Berry Pomeroy castle in Devon in 1305. But its lands had been in the de Pomeroy family for much longer. In 1066, they were gifted by William the Conqueror to Ralph de Pomeroy, for his loyalty and support. The de Pomeroy’s held the castle through war and rebellion. However, in the 1540s, the castle caught the eye of Sir Edward Seymour, brother to Jane Seymour, the third wife of Henry VIII.

It would have been dangerous to refuse a man in his position. So in 1547, Sir Thomas Pomeroy sold the castle, park, and manor of Berry Pomeroy to Edward Seymour.

Seymour only lived to enjoy his new acquisition for five years. In 1552, he was spectacularly ousted as the Lord protector of his nephew Edward V and executed in the Tower of London. The castle remained in Seymour’s hands. However, the family abandoned it in 1688; their cophers depleted from backing the royalist cause in the English Civil War. By Victorian times, the castle had crumbled into a picturesque ruin, until its salvation by English Heritage in the 1970s.

The unknown history of the castle is kept alive by its many ghosts. A variety of servants, guardsmen and even snarling dogs from the past still haunt the ruin. They include the sad figure of a little kitchen girl, searching for her murdered mother and two de Pomeroy brothers who jumped off the castle battlements after a siege rather than submit to the enemy. A friendly cavalier also lurks. If he catches the eye of a visitor, he will explain he is just off to the pub!

However, the castle’s two most notable ghosts, the white and the blue ladies are de Pomperoys. The White Lady is Margaret Pomeroy. Margaret was so beautiful that her elder sister, Eleanor imprisoned her in the cells of St Margaret’s Tower and eventually left her to starve to death. She haunts the dungeons still, leaving behind an air of evil and malice in her wake.

The Blue Lady’s name is not known. Legend tells that she was the daughter of one of the early Norman lords. Raped by her father, she fell pregnant. Her father strangled the child at birth. The Blue Lady reputedly targets men, luring them to dangerous parts of the castle by calling out for help. But despite being a de Pomeroy, the Blue Lady has affiliated herself to the Seymours who took over the castle from her family- by becoming their death portent.