Haunted York: Some more of the city’s spookiest ghost stories…

Stonegate, York – with ‘ghosts’. Photograph: Allan Harris on Flickr
31 Oct 2015 @ 5.51 pm
| History

Stroll with us around some of York’s most famous landmarks as we reveal the chilling ghost stories which haunt each one…

York Minster

Mysterious Minster… Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
Mysterious Minster… Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

In an age before health and safety measures, many stonemasons lost their lives maintaining the Minster.

One of these has been spotted in his medieval workman’s clothes, popping back regularly to enjoy the legacy of his life’s work which is still clearly visible today.

He is even said to have spoken to some people, proudly pointing out his handiwork.

Just think about that next time you walk past the present-day Mason’s Lodge…


Spooky Shambles… Photograph © Sebastian Mrozek on Wikipedia
Spooky Shambles… Photograph © Sebastian Mrozek on Wikipedia

Each shop claims to have its own ghost. This is unsurprising as it is one of York’s oldest streets with some buildings dating from the 14th century and some plots of land having existed since the Viking age.

One ghost appeared regularly for more than 100 years, from Victorian times until the 1940s.

Each morning when dozens of people walked up the Shambles from the slums to work, they saw a tall well-dressed gentlemen wearing a bowler hat, standing outside or in a window.

Sometimes he would smile or wave, or doff his hat to ladies. One woman witnessed this occurrence regularly from her teenage years through to her forties. When she tried to talk to him once, he disappeared.

Strangely, he has not been seen since the Second World War. Yet…

York Theatre Royal

Melodramatic… York Theatre Royal
Melodramatic… York Theatre Royal

The Georgian Theatre Royal incorporates parts of the old Hospital of St Leonard, established in the 12th century and run by a strict order of nuns. Some parts of the theatre are sections of the original crypt.

One of the nuns fell in love with a young nobleman. For breaking her vow of chastity, she was thrown into a windowless room which was immediately bricked up, forming a tomb.

Her ghost is said to haunt one particular dressing room. Many who enter the room have described an intense feeling of being watched.

Actress Marjorie Rowland saw a figure leaning over the edge of the stage box, dressed in a grey robe with a white cuff which fits the description of a novice nun.

She has also been sighted in 1965 and 1975.

York Dungeon

A ghost or an actor? Photograph: York Dungeon (it's an actor)
A ghost or an actor? Photograph: York Dungeon (it’s an actor)

While the Dungeon now makes a creepy day out, the building houses some real ghosts from a bygone age.

It was once part of a large complex of monastic buildings belonging to the Friary of the Order of Franciscans, or Greyfriars monks.

Today only an outer wall remains but the York Dungeon is said to be still haunted by three monks who walk in a line at the back of the building. This would have once been the gardens of the friary.

Witnesses have heard whispers and muffled talking, believing it to be a part of the attraction but finding no one standing there.

Other resident ghosts include a little girl called Emily, and a silent old man dressed in blue dungarees and wearing a typical Yorkshire flat cap. He’s believed to be a former caretaker who enjoyed his work so much he refuses to leave.

King’s Manor

Creepy… King's Manor. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr
Creepy… King’s Manor. Photograph © Allan Harris on Flickr

Now belonging to the University of York, King’s Manor was built in 1208 as part of St Mary’s Abbey and passed to Henry VIII during the Reformation.

In the 20th century a maid was working on the ground floor when she saw a lady in a long dress appear from a cupboard, walk across the floor, and straight through her.

The lady wore a green Tudor-style gown and carried what the maid thought was a bunch of red ribbons but which turned out to be red roses.

During archaeological excavations of the manor nearly 50 years later the original use for that part of the building was discovered to be a rose garden.

The Tudor figure’s identity has never been established, but there are two contenders, both married to Henry VIII.

The first is Anne Boleyn, who became secretly engaged to Henry Percy and met him in York long before she married Henry VIII.

The other is Anne’s cousin, Katherine Howard. She married the middle-aged Henry as a teenager and travelled with him on his visit to York in 1541.

It was while here that she is thought to have begun an affair with the young courtier Thomas Culpepper. When their affair was discovered they were both beheaded.

Could the maid have seen a vision of Katherine clutching a bunch of red roses on her way to a secret meeting?