Ghostly sightings and spooky stories from around Huntingdonshire
- Credit: Archant
With Hallowe’en just around the corner, reporter JONATHON FERRARI has been uncovering the skeletons and gathering the ghouls to find the five most haunted places in Huntingdonshire.
??? Kimbolton Castle: The castle has been the subject of many ghost stories over more than 900 years, but none involving anyone more famous than Catherine of Aragon.
Following a divorce from Henry VIII, the former queen was sent to Kimbolton Castle where she lived, partly as prisoner, in her rooms in the south-west corner, until her death on January 7, 1536.
But some say a part of her still remained at the castle, with sightings of her on the grand stairs. And her head and shoulders have been seen gliding along the floor, the ghost seemingly unaware of the changes to the original floor levels.
“Catherine of Aragon, people say, haunts the castle,” said castle historian Nora Butler. “Some dukes during the years after Catherine of Aragon wrote fanciful tales of her running up and down the stairs.”
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Mrs Butler, however, added that she has never witnessed any paranormal activities at Kimbolton.
??? The George Hotel, Buckden: Infamous highwayman Dick Turpin was said to have been a regular customer at the old coaching inn, which was originally built in the 17th century.
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Originally a butcher, he later joined a gang of deer thieves in the 1730s, soon becoming a poacher, horse thief, burglar and killer. The highwayman eluded capture for several years before his eventual execution on April 7, 1739.
Guests have claimed to have seen a black coated figure wearing a tricorn hat, while past employees have reported doors mysteriously unlocking by themselves.
??? Hinchingbrooke House: A nun, who haunts the Nun’s Bridge over Alconbury Brook, also spends some time providing some spookiness at Hinchingbrooke House, once the site of an old convent.
Legend has it that the nun was involved in a love affair with a monk, but when the affair was uncovered the pair were executed.
A married couple reported seeing ghosts on the bridge in 1965, and several reports have since emerged of similar sightings in Hinchingbrooke House, now used as a sixth form.
The added twist to the tale came just this year. Two skeletons found at the house, believed to have been the remains of Benedictine nuns, were found to be of a man and a woman from 994-1050AD. The woman was pregnant.
Other sightings include a cavalier who haunts a room in which he was killed, and a phantom woman who floats above the staircase.
??? The Old Ferry Boat Inn, Holywell: A girl, known as Juliet, is believed to haunt The Old Ferry Boat Inn, on Brick Lane, every year on March 17 – the anniversary of her death.
The young girl is said to have hanged herself from a tree after suffering the pain of unrequited love with a woodcutter around 1050AD.
Her body was prevented from being buried in consecrated ground due to suicide and was laid to rest around the same area of the pub.
It is claimed the Old Ferry Boat Inn was built on top of her grave – a stone slab can be found within, set into the floor on the south-west side of the pub.
??? The New Inn, St Neots: The pub, on the High Street, is said to be haunted by Henry Rich, Earl of Holland, who died on March 9 1649.
Holland and his troop of 400 men arrived in the town after being forced from Kingston-Upon-Thames in Surrey by Parliamentary forces.
The earl, who barricaded himself in the inn with some of his men after Roundheads followed him to St Neots, was eventually caught, put on trial and sentenced to death at the Tower of London as a traitor.
A woman reported seeing an apparition of a tall man wearing an ankle length cloak. He walked across the bar and into the yard. Thinking it was a customer who stayed after closing time, the woman went to investigate but found the back door was still locked from the inside.