Explore some of Nottinghamshire’s haunted buildings
I have recently been delving into the past of some of Nottinghamshire’s most haunted buildings to find out more about its ghostly residents. As Halloween approaches, here’s my pick of spine tingling must visits so read on . . . if you dare!
Nottingham’s old Courthouse and Gaol – recently voted as one of the most haunted venues in the world by the Most Haunted.
The Galleries of Justice Museum is said to be home to the most active poltergeist in the UK. In fact, just recently, paranormal enthusiast, James Pykett, captured an image of what he believes is a guard. If you’re looking for a fright, the Museum’s popular Ghost Tours and Terror Tours are designed to give the visitor a haunted yet enjoyable experience.
The dark past of Nottingham Castle
The site of Nottingham Castle dates back to 1067, and its history is quite eventful, with plenty of sieges and murders. Not many sightings have been noted, but I was told by members of staff that sometime in the 50s, two museum staff were closing up the galleries and with them they had a dog. Apparently, when climbing the north stairs to the first floor, the dog in panic refused to proceed so they left him behind. When in the Long Gallery they were confronted by a column of light which contained the outline of a person.
The jinx of Newstead and the white lady of Wollaton and Rufford
Wollaton Hall is a grand Elizabethan house in the suburbs of Nottingham. Built between 1580 and 1588, there are many stories of ghost residences. One story which gave me the chills in particular was the ghost of Lady Middleton. Following a serious accident on her 18th birthday, she was confined to room 19, now called the Fossil gallery – the room that she haunts. There are also reports that at the top of the steps to the main reception area, people claim to have been tapped on the shoulder, only to find no one present. Apparently, this phenomenon generally occurs at quiet times, and most often in the winter months.
Newstead Abbey was originally built in the 12th century as a priory for Augustine monks, and belonged to King Henry VIII before being bought by Sir John Byron, who turned it into a mansion and remained in the family for 300 years. It belonged to the famous romantic poet Lord Byron from 1808 – 1814. Newstead’s most notable ghost is a tall dark monk called the Black Friar. This spirit is considered an omen and is supposed to appear just before something bad happens. He was reputedly seen by Lord Byron just before he married Anne Milbanke – which turned out to be a disaster, lasting only one year. Byron’s pet dog, Boatswain, also haunts Newstead. His ghost is supposedly seen wandering the property because he is looking for his master.
Head out into rural Nottinghamshire and you won’t escape things going bump in the night. Historic Rufford Abbey has many haunted tales, with the most prominent being the White Lady of Rufford Abbey. The white misty figure has been reported on numerous occasions and according to legend, is the spirit of the unhappy Arbella Stuart whose parents secretly married at the Abbey. Through royal connections she could have been Queen of England after the death of Elizabeth I, however she eventually died a prisoner in the Tower of London.
Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem is home to the Cursed Galleon, a small wooden model of a ship. Allegedly, people who have cleaned it have all met a mysterious death. Landlords have refused anyone to clean the ship over the years, allowing inches of thick grime to build up on it. Also on-site, it is claimed that any woman who sits on the antique chair will increase her chances of becoming pregnant.
The Salutation Inn is reputedly home to a young orphan girl, commonly known as Rosie, who haunts the caves beneath the pub and many people have seen and heard her giggling.
General Manager at The Salutation Inn, Terry Webster, also told me about another resident ghost.
He said: “In the beer cellar there is a man who walks past me whilst I am attending the beer casks. One night I heard his footsteps approach me. There are heavy doors to the entrance that are held shut by a bungee rope. The left-hand door opened wide, and remained open for a minute or two before closing again. No-one was in the passage and there needed to be a hurricane to open the door. Research shows that it could possibly be a landlord called John Green who died in 1820. He was using arsenic to keep the rat population down and it got into his bag of oatmeal. The whole family was poisoned but only he died.”
Of course, you can experience a fright this Halloween with the Nottingham Ghost Walk which coincidently starts at Ye Olde Salutation before exploring the shadows of the Castle, a graveyard and deep underground in ancient sandstone caves. Tours normally take place every Saturday evening, should you not be around on Halloween itself.