For many years York has had a reputation as one of the most haunted cities in the UK. It boasts mysterious alleyways and landmarks steeped in history – it’s easy to get lost in this city’s otherworldly aura. As a result of this status, there are a variety of ghost walks and tours in the city for visitors and residents to enjoy.
Below we run through the top five most haunted locations in York. From pubs and hotels to the Theatre Royal, there are many sites to explore. Whether you want to create your own tour or follow one of the already established walks, these locations are a must-see.
1. Lund’s Court
Formerly ‘Mad Alice Lane’ this snickelway (alleyway or lane) in York is said to be haunted by a former resident who was beaten by her husband. After killing him, she was hanged at York Castle in 1825. Visitors over the course of many years have reported seeing ‘Mad Alice’ in a window overlooking the alleyway.
2. The Treasurer’s House
Built in 1419 as a home for the treasurer of York Minster, The Treasurer’s House is the location of one of the city’s most famous ghost stories. It has been said that in the cellars a whole legion of Roman soldiers have been spotted with a carthorse. This has been experienced numerous times since the first reported occasion in 1953.
3. The Golden Fleece
The most haunted pub in York by reputation is The Golden Fleece with a reported 15 spirits spooking the punters. The Lord Mayor of York John Peckett once owned the pub back in 1701. His wife Lady Alice Peckett is said to haunt the staircases and hallways in the early hours of the morning. A Canadian Airman thought to have died falling from a window and a character known as ‘One Eyed Jack’ are among the many ghosts also spotted in this haunted hostelry.
4. The Theatre Royal
One of the many theatre’s in the world said to be haunted by spooky beings, the Theatre Royal in York has a great ghost story to tell. A ghoul nicknamed ‘The Grey Lady’ is said to have been a medieval nun. She is thought to have been bricked up alive behind the walls but there are different theories as to why. Some say she was being punished for a forbidden love affair, others say she told of a vision of angels whilst at mass and was sentenced for her lies. Rather than doing anything too menacing when she haunts, though, she tickles the necks of people in the dress circle!
5. York Minster
One of the largest and most impressive cathedrals in northern Europe is York Minster and with a history dating back to 627 it’s bound to have a plethora of haunting stories attached. Among the ghost sightings reported at the cathedral have been a dog, a man in Elizabethan dress and a former Minster worker thought to be Dean Gale. He passed away in 1702 aged just 26 and haunts his favourite pew from time to time. There’s even said to be a monk often wandering up and down the nave, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled.
During busy times of the year, you’ll notice many tour guides adorned in Victorian dress escorting tours around the city. These tours are one of the city’s most popular attractions as, for some, historical deaths are fascinating. This is why learning about haunted locations and going on ghost walks are both great ways to ignite some of those difficult conversations we all need to have.
The subject of death is unfortunately still a taboo and it shouldn’t be. The conversation about this natural part of life should be had more regularly to normalise the subject for a variety of reasons. In order to be prepared and make plans for loved ones and ourselves, we should be open to having what can sometimes be tricky discussions.
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