Northumberland is one of the two boarder counties of England, and can be found in the North East by the North Sea. It’s the place I’ve called home for over two decades and I still find new stories about the place.
Today I’ll be counting down the 5 most haunted places in the region.
Number 5: Holy Island
Argued as the birthplace of Christianity in the region, Holy Island or Lindisfarne as it’s also known, has quite a few ghosts sighted on the island over the centuries.
In 635 AD St Aiden founded Lindisfarne Priory and in 664 AD St Cuthburt visited the island. St Cuthburt later became Bishop in 685AD and after his death was buried on the island. Some time later (argued as being a few years after his death) his casket was reopened with his body showed no signs of decay, due to this hundreds of people began making pilgrimage to the island. But due to fears of a Viking invasion his body was moved, alongside ancient relics and artefacts to keep them safe (which is just as well as the Vikings did invade the island killing a number of monks).
To this day monks are sighted crossing the original rock causeway, which connected the island to the mainland. But it’s not just monks who are seen, St Cuthbert himself is known to make an appearance. He is seen walking around the Priory and castle grounds in his robes, as well as being seen sat on the shore making what’s known locally as ‘Cuddy’s Beads’. It’s even said that on nights where there is a full moon you can hear St Cuthbert making the beads.
There is a further apparition on the island which is that of an unknown soldier seen in the castle, thought to be from Cromwell’s time.
Number 4: Dunstanburgh Castle
Dunstanburgh Castle was once Northumberland’s largest castle enclosing 9.96 acres of land within it’s grounds. It was built in 1313 by the 2nd Earl of Lancaster, Thomas Plantagenet, and was fortified in the 1380s. Now standing in ruins it remains home to a few ghosts and one well known story.
The ghost of Thomas himself wonders the grounds, he met his end by execution (beheading) and is seen carrying his head.
Another ghost rumoured to walk the halls is that of Margaret of Anjou, who was wife of Henry VI and a knight known as Sir Guy.
His tale is one of the best known stories of the castle. According to legend, Sir Guy was once a knight who got caught in a storm finding shelter in the ruins of the castle. While taking up shelter in the gatehouse section of the ruins he saw a hideous figure dressed in white who becanned Sir Guy to follow. He was told if he followed he would be rewarded by a ‘beauty bright‘. He followed the figure up a narrow winding staircase into a room where 100 knight were sleeping along with their horses. In the centre of the room slept a beautiful maiden, on each side of her were serpent statues, one held a sword and the other horn. The figure told him the maiden would wake if he chose the correct item. He chose the horn. He blew the horn which caused all 100 knights to wake and charged at Sir Guy causing him to faint. As he was fainting the figure approached him and said ‘now shame on the coward who sounded the horn, and the knight who sheathed a sword‘. When Sir Guy awoke, he was lying back in the gatehouse. From that night on he kept searching for the maiden but never saw her again. It’s said his ghost is seen wandering the castle on a stormy night still searching for her.
Number 3: Bamburgh Castle
Bamburgh Castle, as you might guess by its name, is located in the village of Bamburgh sitting up high on rocks by the North Sea.
The castle that stands today was rebuilt around the 11th Century but there has been an important structure here since the Celtic period. There was a celtic Brittonic Fort on this site known as Din Guarie. From here it pasted a few times between the Britains and Saxons, and in 590 AD was controlled by the Anglo-Saxons. In 993 AD the Vikings invaded, with a new castle being built in its place by the Normans which forms the core of the castle that stands today.
Bamburgh Castle is rumoured to have at least 7 ghosts on site including 2 female spirits. The first of which is The Pink Lady.
Her story goes that centuries ago a young princesses father sent her beloved away to sea for 7 years as he did not approve of the relationship. Her father tried to cheer his daughter up and decided to have a dress made for her in her favourite colour pink. During her final.fitting she climbed the stairs to the highest battlements and threw herself onto the rocks below. It’s said that her spirit returns every 7 years dressed in a pink dress where she wanders the castle before repeating her final moments.
The second female spirit is that of The Green Lady, as you can tell from the name she is dressed in green. She is seen in a green shawl carrying a bundle down some steps where witnesses state they see her fall, believing her to be a real person run to her aid only to find no-one there.
Other activity includes apparitions of s knight and soldier, misty and shadowy figures, whispers, footsteps, rattling chains and the feeling of being touched by an unseen force.
Number 2: The Schooner Hotel
The Schooner Hotel is located in the Northumberland village of Alnmouth and has held the title of The Most Haunted Hotel in Britain, not once but twice.
It’s a 1600’s coaching inn believed to hold 60 individual ghosts, with over 3000 registered accounts of paranormal activity and has stories of suicide and murder, with activity on the rise.
Room 28 is said to have the most activity, thus room was once a seen to a family massacre. Guests staying in this room say they can hear children talking and crying, a women screaming and feel an overwhelming sense of fear alongside feeling an unseen force in the room.
Moving on to rooms 16 and 17, both rooms have guests reporting seeing a figure standing at the end of the beds and in the corridor outside the rooms. The figure in the corridor is reported to be a young boy who enjoys knocking on the doors.
In rooms 28, 29 and 30 knocks, bangs and whispering are heard with visitors feeling dizzy dread and sickness in these rooms.
Other activity in the Hotel includes a soldier walking the corridors and a maid who appears on the stairs.
While this is not all the witness accounts, if you’re feeling brave you could book to spend the night here and add your tales to the recorded accounts.
Number 1: Chillingham Castle
Topping this list is Chillingham Castle. Not only described as the most haunted castle in Northumberland, it also holds the title in Britain.
Chillingham Castle is a 13th Century castle known for its torture chamber and being a stronghold for English and Scottish attacks.
There are said to be around 6 ghosts haunting the castle with the most notable being The Blue Boy.
The Blue Boy himself does not seem to appear in the history books but what has been found in the castle raises some interesting questions. The Blue Boy is haunts to Pink Room where some people have seen him and others seeing s ball of blue light. His cries could be heard crying out in pain or fear at midnight with a halo of blue light seemingly to come out of the wall in this room. Interestingly in the 1920s renovation works were taking place where builders were cutting through The Tower Wall in The Pink Room and found fragments of child size bones alongside pieces of blue fabric.
There is also the White Pantry Ghost, who is seen to this day in the inner pantry abd described as a pale, frail lady dressed in white. One of the most known stories is that when the castles silver was kept in the pantry, a guard would be placed on duty to guard it. However, one day the gaurd guarding the silver was about to fall asleep when a lady appeared asking for water. Thinking she was one of the castle’s guests he obeyed her request only to realise that all the doors to the room were locked and no-one other than him could be in the room.
Other sightings include Lady Mary Berkeley, the wife of Lord Grey of Walk and Chillingham who is seen walking the halls in search of her husband.
In general visitors also report hearing disembodied voices, talking, feeling a dark and creepy sensation alongside feeling a general oppressive atmosphere. Ghost hunts and tours take place here with those attending witnessing the castle’s paranormal activity.
That’s my top five most haunted list, do you think others should have made the list?