Gloucestershire is allegedly the most haunted county in England. Perhaps all of this ghostly activity is a legacy of the geographic position and the battles that were fought here, most famously the War of the Roses and the pivotal Battle of Tewkesbury. According to the folklore, you are likely to encounter a ghost quite regularly.
The most haunted village is said to be Prestbury and more than twenty-four lost souls haunt its streets. The most famous of these is the Black Abbot whose wanderings occur on three important religious festivals Easter, Christmas, and All Saints. He is seen mostly around the church and occasionally in the High Street! Ghostly horsemen headless and otherwise, have been heard and seen in and around different areas of the village. During the War of the Roses, an enemy archer killed one of Edward IV’s men as he rode back to camp at Tewkesbury. Another ghost is a Cavalier killed by riding into a rope slung across a road and the final horseman riding by is a knight in armour. It seems quite plausible ghostly canters and the thud of hoof beats are seen and heard as only recently a skeleton was dug up during road works with an arrow between his ribs!
Young girls feature and one heart-breakingly plays a spinet at Sundial Cottage. She is heard more than seen these days it seems. The Prestbury House Hotel has the equestrians riding by too and a young girl wanders the gardens. A gaggle of ghostly old women and a white lady are seen around the village too. Beware those visitors to Cleeve Corner near the church; they report feeling as though they are being strangled. Research shows a bride was murdered in her bed there.
If you are still in the mood for ghost hunting, then Sudeley Castle is the place to see. It was once home to Lady Jane Grey and Queen Katherine Parr, after she married Sir Thomas Seymour. Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Elizabeth I, and Charles I all stayed here. Its history resonates from the walls. Despite the royal connections, the most famous ghost is Janet a former housekeeper who was devoted to the castle. Seen by several visitors, she wears a long dress and a mobcap.
The queen consort of Henry VI Margaret of Anjou reputedly haunts the romantic Tudor manor house near Dursley. She appears wearing exquisite, beautiful clothes and drifts from room to room in the house. Margaret stayed at the house just before the Battle of Tewkesbury, the defining moment in the War of the Roses. She led the Lancastrian faction in the war and when defeated at Tewkesbury she was imprisoned. She was later ransomed by Louis XI of France her cousin and went o live in France where she died. Her ghost however remained at the place of her army’s defeat and her son’s death.
This is just a taste of the haunted places waiting for discovery in “Ghostly Gloucestershire.” Whether you believe in ghosts or not, chasing spectres, looking at beautiful architecture, revelling in romantic history, and visiting places of interest are a great way to enjoy our wonderful county.