Monday 16 September 2019

20 of the most haunted places in Gloucestershire

From a deposed king to a scowling monk, Gloucestershire is home to some of the most haunted places in England – with 20 making this most harrowing hot list.

Gloucestershire’s royal ghosts, bumps in the night, headless horsemen and railway children are just some of the spooky encounters making SoGlos’s harrowing most haunted hot list. Visit all 20 if you dare…

1. Prestbury Village

A photo posted by Liz (@threeshires) on

The most notorious ghost of Prestbury is the Black Abbot. He used to walk the aisles of St. Mary’s Church, but since it was exorcised, he is now said to be restricted to roam the churchyard.

Prestbury is also said to be home to The Charging Horseman who appears riding his white horse at Easter and Christmas, and who was rumoured to have been killed by a Lancastrian arrow during the War of the Roses. Learn more about the spooky goings-on in the village by heading off on Cotswold Ghost Tours’ Prestbury tour.

2. Woodchester Mansion

This Victorian and gothic mansion house near Stroud looks like it could be the setting for any thriller, and has reportedly become the impressive home to a number of the ghosts and ghouls.

Sightings include a phantom horseman, an aggressive female and a floating head. Visitors have ‘collapsed in fear’ and been ‘attacked’ by these ghouls, so the mansion’s overnight ghost hunt is not for the faint hearted.

3. Berkeley Castle

Berkeley Castle infamously witnessed what has to be one of the most horrific deaths in history. When, following months of imprisonment in the castle dungeons, the deposed King Edward II was ordered to death by Queen Isabella – with a red-hot poker said to be the murder weapon!

It has said that his agonising screams can be heard throughout the castle, near Stroud, on the anniversary of his death, with the room in which this gruesome royal murder was carried out still visited by the public today.

4. The Morton Case in Cheltenham

Famed for its Regency heritage, Cheltenham also has a most spooky history as the location of renowned haunting, ‘The Morton Case’. The first major investigation by the Society of Paranormal Research and one of the most detailed of the late 19th century, the haunting involved a figure adorned in typical Victorian mourning attire.

The woman’s figure was seen by various people in the Pittville area of Cheltenham from the 1880s, with curious ghost hunters able to learn more about The Morton Case on Cotswold Ghost Tours’ Creeps, Crimes and Curious Tales Ghost Tour, along with terrifying tales of a spectral maid at one of the town’s major hotels, and a murderous butler.

5. The Ancient Ram in Wotton-under-Edge

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Said to be the home of two demons and a ghostly witch, The Ancient Ram in Wotton-under-Edge has been called one of the most haunted places in Britain, and is said to have witnessed black magic rituals, child sacrifices and was even the hideout of a highwayman.

Owner John Humphries shares this spooky house with the ghosts, and opens the doors to ghost hunters and enthusiasts, including TV’s Most Haunted crew, who said they had ‘never been to a scarier place.’

6. St. Briavels

St. Briavels Castle in the Forest of Dean witnessed many a murder during its heyday in the 12th Century, and it is thought that many tormented souls never left – which is why it has been dubbed ‘the most haunted castle in England’ and has become a magnet for ghost hunters.

Paranormal Investigation nights at the castle are said to have witnessed the pitiful cries of an unseen baby, invisible hands tugging at clothes and the sensation of someone gripping at a visitor’s throat. It’s no wonder that some guests have left in the dead of night!

7. Tudor House Hotel

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This black-and-white-timbered hotel in Tewkesbury is steeped in history, and offers 25 en-suite rooms. However, some guests stay a bit longer than others, almost 500 years in fact…

Local legend has it that a maid, treated unkindly by her mistress, jumped from a window and killed herself, and is now known as the grey lady, forever wandering the corridors. Other sightings include the ghostly apparition of a black Labrador, and the small drummer boy, who has woken many guests with the sound of his kettle drum.

8. The Old Bell

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This 17th Century building in Gloucester was once used as a local assize court house that dished out the death penalty more than once – and the pub is now thought to be haunted by several innocent men who were unjustly sent to the gallows.

Local ghost expert, Lyn Cinderey, visits The Old Bell on her popular ghost walks, tours and overnight paranormal investigations around the city of Gloucester.

9. Ragged Cot Inn

The Ragged Cot Inn in Minchinhampton has a dark and morbid history. Diz White writes about the tale of ex-landlord, Bill Clavers, in his book, Haunted Cotswolds, who attempted to drunkenly rob a midnight stagecoach. His wife, with their child in her arms attempted to stop him, but Bill pushed her aside, causing her and their child to fall down the stairs to their deaths.

Bill was led away by the police as a doomed man, but the ghostly apparitions of his wife and child have been spotted, forever waiting at the foot of the stairs.

10. Cafe Rene

A photo posted by Cafe Rene (@cafereneglos) on

Known for its live music and good food, revellers flock to Cafe Rene – even some of the dead ones…

The historic building’s basement used to connect underground to the St. Mary de Crypt Church, and several people have reported seeing shadowy figures and hearing monks chant from underneath the floorboards. The landlord even felt an invisible hand on him one night!

11. Sudeley Castle

This impressive 15th Century castle in Winchcombe is rich in royal heritage – playing home to Queen Katherine Parr and Lady Jane Grey, and visited by Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I and Charles I.

However, its most famous ghost is not a royal, but a former housekeeper known as Janet, who was so devoted to the castle that even death could not tear her away!

12. Snowshill Manor

Snowshill Manor near Broadway dates back to 1490, and is home to a number of ghostly figures – as well as an extraordinary and eccentric museum collection of more than 22,000 items.

Owned by the National Trust, day-trippers enjoy looking at the displays. However, one permanent resident is not so keen – with some visitors having said that a scowling monk haunts the manor, unhappy that visitors are tarnishing the religious connection that the house has lost.

13. Blackfriars Priory

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Built in 1239, Blackfriars Priory in Gloucester is one of the oldest, surviving medieval Dominican priories in Britain. And in the last 10 years, restoration work has been carried out, uncovering a dungeon.

It is thought that this discovery is linked to the appearance of a dark ghost monk, who hovers near the dungeon. With tours taking place at Blackfriars for people who want a unique ghost hunting experience.

14. Chavenage House

Chavenage House, near Tetbury, is home to the legend of Colonel Nathaniel Stephens. The legend writes that the moment Nathaniel died, a spectral black coach driven by a headless coachman drew up at the entrance, the coach door opened and the ghost of Nathaniel climbed aboard and was driven away.

It is said that every owner who has since lived at Chavenage has witnessed ghostly happenings and experienced ice-cold chills.

15. Ye Old Black Bear

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During the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, many vanquished soldiers are said to have sought solace at Ye Olde Black Bear.

Legend has it that one decapitated soldier fled to the inn with his comrades, not realising he was dead, and has stayed there ever since, rattling his chains in true ghostly fashion!

16. Littledean Hall

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To many locals Littledean Hall is simply known as ‘the haunted house.’ With a number of poltergeist incidents reported with the Blue Bedroom considered ‘too haunted’ to sleep in.

In 1997, Randolph Liebeck, a renowned American paranormal investigator, explored its ghostly confines, and dubbed it ‘the most haunted house in England’.

17. Charfield Graveyard near Wotton-Under-Edge

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At 5.30am on 13 October 1928, a Leeds to Bristol train crashed in Charfield, tragically killing 15 people. Two small bodies have remained unidentified and are buried in the graveyard with ‘two unknown’ inscribed on the gravestones.

A tale that has been passed down the generations is that a strange woman dressed in black visited the graves of the two unknown children late into the 1950s, when it is thought that she also died. And now, two lonely and lost ghostly railway children, walking hand-in-hand have been spotted hovering near the site of the crash.

18. Dick Whittington

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This 15th Century merchant’s house in Gloucester has a fascinating history; originally being built for Richard Whittington, nephew of the legendary Dick Whittington. And today’s owners were prompted into calling paranormal investigators in after a hunched figure kept reappearing.

This strange man was seen walking around in the cellar and has caused workmen to flee the building. Lights have also been seen floating over the bar, while furniture eerily moves itself around the building.

19. HM Prison Gloucester

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Before it was decommissioned in 2013, a ghost, thought to have been that of a female prisoner who was held in the cells of a nearby abbey, was said to have appeared before more modern inmates – mocking and taunting them.

She was said to have been searching for an inmate that killed her, returning every night in her quest for revenge – with ghostly activity particularly strong in cell 25 on the A3 landing.

20. Tweenbrook Avenue in Gloucester

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The cosy residential street of Tweenbrook Avenue could pass for the setting of a horror movie, with families reported to have been repeatedly driven out by paranormal forces!

Local tales include that a six-year-old boy was found by an open window that had been previously nailed shut, claiming that a mysterious lady wanted him to go with her. While another incident on the street was reported by a resident who saw a ghostly woman in an attic asking them to pray for her.

By Alice Lloyd

© SoGlos
Tuesday 04 September 2018

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