Durham is home to a number of spooky residents and eerie legends, read on...if you dare!
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Jimmy Allen, the Gypsy Piper
Stand on Elvet Bridge in Durham City at midnight and you might just hear the ghostly music of Northumbrian piper Jimmy Allen, who was imprisoned in the House of Correction beneath the bridge in the 18th Century. He died in the house of correction two weeks before his pardon arrived.
Pickled Parson of Sedgefield
The Pickled Parson of Sedgefield haunts Ceddesfeld Hall. Inconveniently dying just one week before the Parson’s tithe was due to be paid, his wife pickled him in brine, propped him up in the Parsonage window so it looked like he was still alive to passers-by, then collected the tithe on his behalf. Only afterwards did she announce the death of the Parson.
The Battle of Neville’s Cross
Walk three times round the shaft of the stone cross which marks the site of the Battle of Neville’s Cross in Durham City - then put your ear to the ground. Can you hear the ghostly sounds of armies clashing weapons just as they did long ago on October 17th 1346?
Crook Hall & Gardens
This Medieval hall in the heart of Durham City is rumoured to have a number of spooky residents. The hall's Jacobean room is haunted by the White Lady, said to be the niece of the fiery tempered Cuthbert Billington who inherited the manor in 1615.
The Lily of Lumley
Every self-respecting castle ought to have a ghost story and Lumley Castle at Chester-le-Street is haunted by the Lily of Lumley, the murdered wife of the castle's builder, Lord Lumley. Murdered and thrown down a well by priests reputedly in a bid to save her soul after she converted from Catholic to Protestant - you can still see the well today.
The Grey Lady of Durham Castle
Some University of Durham students have the pleasure of sharing their College with a resident ghost or two. The Black Staircase of Durham Castle is haunted by the ghost of a wife of a 19th Century Bishop of Durham who is reputed to have fallen to her death from its top most heights. Even if you don’t see the ghost, you can certainly see the staircase on a tour of the Castle led by a student guide.
The River Tees is a beautiful river flowing through the landscape of Teesdale in the Durham Dales. But beware of Peg Powler who lurks in the depths. With her green skin, long hair and sharp teeth she will grab the ankles of the unwary standing too close to the water’s edge and drag them under, never to be seen again.
Way back in the mists of time the ashes of a Bronze Age chieftain called Caryn were carried to a remote hill top in Teesdale and buried with all the dignity his tribe could give him. A stone cairn marked his last resting place. Many centuries later a copse of pine trees was planted over his grave, and according to local legend, to visit that burial site today is to stand alongside the ghost of Caryn himself.
The historic market town of Barnard Castle is a town that holds a multitude of dark, ghastly secrets.
Illicit wedding ceremonies were performed in a temporary chapel in the middle of the County Bridge by an 18thCentury bogus parson named Cuthbert Hilton. At the end of each ceremony the newly wedded pair were obliged to perform a pagan tradition by jumping over a broomstick, held by the unconventional parson, to seal the knot. With the many battles, executions and torturous activity that have taken place in Barnard Castle over the centuries, it is little wonder the town is full of ghost stories and mysteries.
The first ‘Ghost Census’ has already taken place in the town, and there is even a video here of some of the ghastly goings on, do you dare to watch? Visit www.bloodybarnardcastle.co.uk to watch it now!
The Young Lady of Crossgate
In the Crossgate area of Durham City, a ghost of a young woman has been sighted. This is said to be the ghost of a Victorian girl from a workhouse near Allergate who was murdered and then thrown down a flight of steps. Her attacker was a soldier, who later confessed to his crime.