England can be described with its rich history. Various stories of kings, queens, princes, princesses and knights have been circulating since the ancient times. The same goes for England’s castle. However, aside from medieval stories, ghost accounts have also been associated with this remarkable place. The tragedies that happened within the walls of the castles caused not only bloodshed but left stories scary enough to linger for a long time.
Given the numerous deaths that occurred in castle of England, a number of souls were left trapped inside it. These souls could neither go to heaven nor hell. And thus, they became famous for being the castle ghosts of England.
Not all people believe in ghosts. However, some are firm believers, especially those who claim to have first-hand experience with supernatural beings. Moreover, a considerable portion of England’s population believe in ghosts. Ghosts normally haunt people, and their existence can sometimes be traced way back in history.
Paranormal manifestations are represented in various ways in England: wreaths, church grimms, chagrins, or hags of the dribble. Ghosts of England have persisted since the times of Druids until Dicken’s lifetime. Meanwhile, on the west coast of England, two castles became well-known because of the murders and strange occurrences that transpired there.
Muncaster Castle is situated near a river and valley in Cumbria, England. At present, there are accounts of eerie or odd occurrences inside the castle. Some people also witnessed quite disturbing manifestations. One prominent family that lived in the castle were the Penningtons, which were said to have lived in the premise since the 13th century. Given the unremarkable popularity of supernatural disturbances in the castle, it was not impossible that the Penningtons also gained some of the fame. As for Patrick Gordon Duff Pennington, a descendant of the family, he liked to think that his family and the ghosts belonged to each other. He had first-hand experienced with ghosts in their castle. He also claimed that people assigned to the tapestry room because their strange noises, like crying, or felt weird sensations, such as coldness.
Another common occurrence in the castle was the sound of thumping on the stairs that was heard by both guests and residents. Given the reports on supernatural events, evidence were gathered regarding paranormal activities in the castle. A group of supernaturalists went to the castle on September, 1993 and set up equipment that are meant to study scientifically any mystical events in the castle. After nightfall, members of supernatural experts noted the change in temperature in their surroundings. Then, they noticed something shaking: a vase. Things got more intense when they heard hard thumping and rapping. Meanwhile, from their room, the investigators noticed that someone just passed the door.
The reports made by the investigators contained numerous accounts of weird events that they witness that night. Thus, they were not able to form any scientific conclusion but that the castle was occupied by supernatural energies.
The weirds events in Muncaster Castle is normally considered to be the works of a malevolent spirit residing there. Meanwhile, based on history of the castle, no one was considered more malevolent than Thomas Skelton. This man was the last of jesters who served the Penningtons. He was known as Tom’s fool, and the term tom foolery was based on his character. Aside from being a jester, Skelton worked as steward of the state.
His personality seemed to inspire Shakespeare, and he was said to be model for King’s Lear’s fall. Witty but malicious and cruel, Skelton appeared to be one of the greatest trickster of all time. He was normally found sitting under a chest nut tree nearby the castle. People passing by would see him and ask for directions. When Skelton disliked the people asking him, he would give them false instructions and led them to quicksand nearby.
Aside from ghost stories, scandals were also a thing in Muncaster Castle. One particular incident involved the daughter of castle lord. In 1585, Helwise Pennington fell in love with a village carpenter though her family had greater plans for her. Though the lovers tried to hide their affair, their secret was eventually unveiled. Sir William learned about her daughter’s love affair and consulted Tom Skelton. The two men conversed under the tree known as Thomas’s tree. Sir William tasked Skelton to end everything that his daughter was doing with her lover.
Skelton proceeded to do his master’s bidding. He lured the carpenter to the castle. The carpenter went, believing that he would see his beloved there. However, once inside the castle, Skelton got him drunk with cider. In the middle of the night, while the carpenter was drunk unconscious, Skelton used the carpenter’s own tools to severe his head. After killing the carpenter, Skelton brought the severed head to Sir William. However, what Sir William did afterward remain a mystery.
Patrick Pennington thought Skelton’s story was nothing but a sinister tale. However, during the times when he had to work until early morning, he would sometimes pass the hall and heard footsteps following him. Though some people claimed that Patrick was just probably hearing his footsteps echo, he disagreed. He said to have worn different types of shoes, especially those that did not make any noise, and the same thing still happened to him.
It is said that the thumping noises in the hall of the castle was actually the sounds made by Skelton while dragging the corpse of the carpenter. Meanwhile, the crying was assumed to be Helwise, as she mourned over the death of her lover.
After the death of the man she loved, Helwise went to a nunnery and became mad not long after. Meanwhile, Skelton continued roaming free despite the crimes he committed. However, justice still caught after him. The jester drowned in river Esk, and his presence is said to linger. Seemingly, his soul still wants to play some trick.
Two hundred years had passed, and river Esk did not stop claiming lives. In return, more accounts of apparitions were recorded. Grace Simmons, an employee of Muncaster Castle, made claims regarding having seen ghosts. According to her, she was out in October 1985 when she a lady leaning against the castle while she was driving on a certain road leading to the castle. Grace went back to check on the girl but the she was gone already from the road shoulder.
People started seeing the women that Grace saw after a horrific murder in 1992. And this murder seemed to be preceded by another love affair. There was a woman named Mary Bragg who was working as a servant in a nearby village. She was in love in Muncaster Castle’s steward at that time. However, the housekeeper also had feelings for the steward.
One night, the housekeeper could not contain her jealousy anymore, and it transformed into an action only associated with rage. Not expecting anyone, Mary found two Russians knocking on her door. The men told her that the steward had fallen ill at currently needing her aid. Extremely worried about the man she loved, Mary did not hesitate to accompany the two men. Unfortunately, Mary never got to her destination.
In the woods near Muncaster, Mary was dragged by the two Russians to a tree before ramming a pistol on her mouth and shooting her. Not only did the Russians kill her, the men also brought Mary’s body to a field to feed it to the castle dogs. When that plan failed, they searched for another place to stash the body. Mary’s corpse then ended up in the waters of River Esk.
However, Mary’s body did not remain underwater for so long. After a few months, the decaying body of Mary Bragg was washed upon the river banks. The corpse was retrieved for autopsy but the coroner was unable to determine the cause of death. However, there were claims that the man was paid to say nothing about Mary’s murder.
On the other hand, the men who killed Mary could not escape their sins. And their fates ended under unnatural circumstances. One of the two Russians first went made, whereas the other hand was sentenced to hand for being a highway robber. Meanwhile, the housekeeper heard about the deaths of the men she hired to get rid of Mary. Circulating rumors led to the housekeeper’s banishment to a remote village, where she was deemed to be a murderess. On the other hand, the coroner also drowned in River Esk. His corpse was found not too far from where Mary’s body was discovered.
After more than a century, in 1993, the tree where Mary was murdered was cut down. However, rumor has it that the timber made from the cut-tree was cursed. There were reports indicating that the blood started pouring off the logs as soon as the trunk of the tree was cut into pieces. No one in the locality wanted to use the woods. The timbers were shipped and sold in London.
The spot on the road where a woman in white was normally seen was said to be the exact place where the tree under which she was murdered stood. It seems like Mary’s ghost is still lingering and searching for justice for her death.
Sudeley Castle is located in southwest of England. The castle was built during the Saxon period; it was situated in a wooded valley among the hills of Gloucestershire. At present, the grounds surrounding the castle are filled with oak trees and royal park lands. Sudely Castle was given as a wedding present in the 10th century. A series of kings led the castle; some of them include Richard III and Henry VIII.
Undoubtedly, the castle boasts of magnificence and beauty. However, it is not free from unnatural events. For example, it was there that a preserved corpse of a queen was discovered. There were rumors indicating that such kind of instances originated from specific incident, which led to an apparition that still plagues the castle at this very moment.
The recent housekeeper of Sudeley believed that the castle is indeed haunted. Even employees and other members of the staff witnessed supernatural events within the walls of the castle. Some experienced smelling apple-scented perfume even when no one was around, whereas others claim having heard a sobbing child. Possibly, one of the most bizarre story of the castle is the apparition of a tall woman clad in beautiful green dress.
The story of the woman green dress was said to be the center of all the supernatural events occurring in Sudely castle. Though it appears to be calm, the nursery of the castle is where most paranormal occurrences in Sudeley transpire. Hanging in one of the walls of the nursery is a portrait of Queen Catherine Parr. The queen was known for her tall figure, wits, and talent for the arts. She was Henry VII sixth and last wife. After the king’s death, Katherine married Thomas Seymour, a man who always wanted a placed among the royals.
A few months after marrying Seymour, Queen Catherine became pregnant at the age of 35. This quite miraculous pregnancy brought the castle into its feet, and all people became busy preparing for the arrival of a new royal-blooded child. However, all the festivities died down when Katherine gave birth to Mary. A week after giving birth, the queen died.
Meanwhile, Thomas Seymour chose to leave the new-born Mary alone as soon as her mother died. This man, even when his wife had just died, when to Queen Elizabeth and proposed a marriage. For the second time at that period, Queen Elizabeth refused to be Seymour’s wife. Not wanting to lose any link to the royal family, Seymour then asked for Queen Elizabeth’s half-sister’s, Mary, hand in marriage. It was not long before Seymour’s greediness led him to his death. He was beheaded for treason.
Queen Catherine was buried in the chapel of Sudeley Castle. However, in the civil war, the chapel was looted and even the caskets were taken by the robbers. Then, after another century, a farmer accidentally dug up a casket containing perfectly preserved body of a woman. Almost all the features of the lady were still distinguishable, from her skin to her hair. However, only a few minutes after the casket was opened, the corpse started disintegrating and turned into dust within moments. Shocked, the farmer laid the casket again upon the ground.
After another century, a new chapel was built in Sudeley Castle, and it was only then that Catherine was properly buried.
However, only Catherine’s casket was laid to rest. Her soul did not. Margaret Parker, one of the long-time employees of the castle, was one of the people who witnessed Katherine’s apparition. One winter, the castle was in complete locked down, and only a few guests were staying in the castle. One of the guests was lady artist, and thus, Margaret did not mind much when she saw a woman standing near a window. However, the artist had just come down from the nursery.
Still, even with that weird encounter with lady in green, Margaret was not frightened. Unlike other ghosts, the soul of Catherine seems to be want to be on her own. Meanwhile, the people living and taking care of the castle considers her a good friend.
After Queen Catherine died, her only daughter vanished. History did not record what happened to the poor orphan. One may surmise that the souls of Queen Catherine and Mary are still searching for each other until today.
After lying in ruins for 180 years, Sudeley Castle became notable again in 19th century. However, as new people start living within its walls, one resident appeared to be originated from the spirit world.
In the Victorian era, people became interested with ghosts, which at that time, seemed to be manifesting themselves everywhere. These spirits were remnants of people who had moved on to another world. With regard to this, the haunting in Sudeley Castle in the Victorian era still persists today.
The current hotelier and owner of the castle, Lady Elizabeth Ashcombe, originally lived in the US. The castle was an inheritance from her late husband, Mark Dent-Brocklehurst. At present, there still seems to be a form of modern ghost haunting happening in the castle.
The ghost is named Janet, who served as Sudeley Castle’s housekeeper for 50 years. Janet first set foot in the castle in 1896. Lady Elizabeth recalls her husband telling his experiences around Janet when he was still young. It appears that almost everyone in the castle was afraid of her and her rules. Lady Elizabeth believes that Janet’s ghost is still lingering in the castle because she does not want to give up her authority.
Meanwhile, the upkeep of Victorian homes back then a squad of armies and servants, and all of these people were provided with their own position. And the same went for Janet. Compared with other servants, she held a superior position. She worked with the butler in running the castle strictly by the rules. Janet and the butler made sure that everything in the castle was performed accordingly and as instructed by the lady of the house.
However, Janet’s strictness did not end with just running the castle. She also made sure that all female housekeepers remained uncorrupted while working for the royal family. Janet served as the guardians of the young female maids, who came from South Wales. Thus, boys were unable to initiate interaction with these girls.
Story has it that Janet used to watch the castle from the stop of the stairs at night time to protect the innocence of her young girls. And at present, Janet’s authority still strongly takes hold of the castle. Young girls who arrive at the castle seem catch the attention of the old housekeeper. One teenage guest learned about this in summer of 1993. The girl was part of a group of tourists visiting the castle. It was said that while inside the castle, the girl was overwhelmed with a strange feeling. The girl was drawn toward the staircase, and there she saw the ghost of Janet.
When asked whether she already met the ghost of the housekeeper, Lady Elizabeth seemed relieved to say that she had not seen the apparition yet. In addition, despite the ghost stories surrounding Sudeley Castle, she feels at ease staying in it, especially when she’s in the garden, where she can feel the timelessness of the place. She also believes that all the people lived in the castle left something behind, and their presence in the castle does not entirely vanish.
THE TOWER OF LONDON
The Tower of London is surrounded by stories of battles and bloodshed, and these appear to be the origins of ghost haunting in the place. The tower has been the center of English history for almost two thousand years. Leadership of the tower had always been associated with great power. The Tower of London is the oldest and largest occupied fortress in Europe, measuring 18 acres. Around 200 years were needed before the castle could be completely established.
The smallest tower in this great castle is the Bloody Tower. Story has it that two young boys were seen playing in this tower. However, they were not real people but were instead believed to be ghosts of two princes, Richard and Edward, who was an heir to the throne. Unfortunately, the boys met their end not only at very young age but also in quite horrifying manner.
Richard and Edward were nephews of Richard III, England’s most prominent villain. Richard III could only be described as a malevolent, detestable, constantly jealous, and crooked-back figure. Even half-century after his death, the name of the man was still whispered in various corners of London. People believed that Richard III was the mind behind a series of treacherous murders though some people vouched for his innocence.
However, it was true, that after his father, King Edward IV, died, he was given the duty of taking care of the two young boys. Some people believed that this arrangement was like signing the death sentence of the two boys, as they were the only ones that served as obstacle to Richard III in having the crown for himself. Thus, what Richard III did was declared his nephews illegitimate to make them unqualified for the throne. Then, the boys were sent to the tower, with claims of only preserving their safety.
The boys were normally seen playing on the tower for months. Then, in autumn 1483, Richard and Edward were suddenly nowhere to be found. At present, everything surrounding the boys’ disappearance remains unclear. However, losing the boys paved the way for Richard III to be England’s king.
After 40 years, Sir Thomas More was executed at the top of the tower. More supposedly described in his book what could have possibly happened with the boys. According to him, Richard III sent his men to the tower in the middle of the night, and as the boys soundly slept, the two men smothered them to death. Supposedly, the boys were buried under a great mound of stone.
Meanwhile, in 1674, some workmen discovered a chest near the tower. The chest contained skeletons of two children. The identities of these skeletons were scientifically proven in 1933 based on bone formation and teeth structure. The skeletons were indeed those of a twelve- and nine-year old boys, the same age as Richard and Edward were before their disappearance.
The skeletons were interred at Westminster Abbey but their souls refused from departing the bloody tower.
On another matter, a separate particular ghost haunts another section of the Tower of London.
Most who are learned regarding England’s history know about Anne Boleyn, one of the most controversial royal figures. Others think of her as more modern depiction of a woman, with her strength and intelligence. However, for her enemies, Anne was nothing but a person full of schemes. Her strong character caught the eyes of King Henry VIII. This event would prove to have great significance in England’s history.
Before he met Anne, King Henry VIII was married to Queen Catherine. However, 22 years of marriage did not provide him with his desired heir. Anne then took advantage of the situation and seduced the king. Not long afterward, Anne became pregnant with King Henry VIII’s child.
Thinking that he had already a successor along the way, King Henry VIII had his marriage with Catherine annulled. This annulment separated England from Rome, and Protestantism started prevailing in the country. Meanwhile, Anne Boleyn finally became queen.
However, things spiraled downward when Anne gave birth to a baby girl, who would grow up to be Queen Elizabeth I. Anne became pregnant for the second time. She gave birth to a boy, but the baby was still born.
Given Anne’s failure to give him a son, King Henry VIII turned his attention to Jane Seymour. In return, Anne’s status was turned upside down. She was considered a hindrance to King Henry VIII, and a number of people of the court despised her. Rumors started circulating, indicating that Anne was involved in witchcraft, adultery, and incest with her brother. King Henry VIII used these scandals against Anne and had her arrested. Anne was brought to the tower, tried for various crimes, and sentenced to death.
Before her execution, Anne manifested erratic behaviors. For her own beheading, she requested to the king to use a sword instead of an axe.
On May 19, 1536, Anne was brought to the courtyard for her execution. According to Major General Jeffrey Field, the majesty’s governor of Tower of London, after Anne’s beheading, the executioner retrieved Anne’s head and showed to the crowd who came to witness her death. As claimed by witnesses, the eyes and lips of the head continued moving for some moments. The rest of the body was placed in a chest, and the head was tucked under the corpse’s arm. Anne Boleyn was then buried in the Chapel of St. Peter ad Vincula.
Within 24 hours of Anne’s burial, King Henry proceeded to marry Jane Seymour.
However, it seems that Anne, in the form of her spirit, still lingered even after her death. A ghost of a woman was seen in site near the place where Anne was executed. Employees of the tower in 1864 claimed to have been overwhelmed with cold sensation before seeing the apparition of a woman. The workers watched but they were astounded to see that the apparition had no face.