Haunted Churches and other Myths & Legends

Headless Woman

Location: Ruswarp (Yorkshire) - Churchyard wall, Prospect Hill
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This headless phantom sits upon an old wall here.

Misty Horseman

Location: Ruyton (Shropshire) - Church
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Midnight (reoccurring)
Further Comments: Sometimes, around midnight, a thick mist rolls into the churchyard. Soon after, a headless horseman rides in, vanishing into the mist, heading towards an old castle keep.

Mrs de Freville, Wearing a Black Dress with a White Face

Location: Saffron Walden (Essex) - Hinxton Churchyard, square stone vault
Type: Post-Mortem Manifestation
Date / Time: Friday 8 May 1885
Further Comments: Shortly after her death, Mrs de Freville was spotted by a gardener standing by her husband's grave. The gardener was unaware of the lady's death at the time of the sighting.


Location: Salford (Lancashire) - Church of Saint Thomas, locally called Pendleton Church
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1950s onwards?
Further Comments: This church is reputedly haunted by a policeman who died ringing the bells on the Queen's coronation.

Grey Lady

Location: Salisbury (Wiltshire) - St Thomas's Church
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1980s?
Further Comments: When last seen, this tearful woman in grey looked so real that the witness approached her to see what was wrong - the figure promptly vanished.

Anne Boleyn

Location: Salle (Norfolk) - Salle Church
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The former queen sometimes returns to this church, where local legend says she was laid to rest after her body was clandestinely removed from the Tower of London.

Jangling Keys

Location: Sandford Orcas (Dorset) - Church
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The church is said to be home to the phantom sounds of running feet and the jangling of keys.

Abraham Crichton

Location: Sanquhar (Dumfries and Galloway) - Churchyard and district
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The area was shunned by locals, as Crichton's shade would try to grab anyone who came too near. The ghost was finally exorcised by a preacher armed with Bible and a sword.

The Old Brick Mover

Location: Sarratt (Hertfordshire) - Church
Type: Legend - Old Nick
Date / Time: Eleventh century
Further Comments: The Devil was said to have moved the bricks from the church's original build site just as quick as the builders could lay them. The builders finally gave up and constructed the church where it stands today.

The Future Dead

Location: Scarborough (Yorkshire) - St Mary's Churchyard
Type: Manifestation of the Living
Date / Time: 24 April (St Marks Eve) (reoccurring)
Further Comments: All those who will die between this date and next year's St Mark's Eve appear in this graveyard on the stroke of midnight and walk into the church.

Monks and Priests

Location: Scattery Island (Inis Cathaig) (County Clare) - Church of St. Mary near the Round Tower
Type: Environmental Manifestation
Date / Time: Nineteenth century
Further Comments: A fisherman caught in a storm sought shelter on the island and went to pray at a ruined church. He encountered a large number of monks and priests within the building, although when he closed his eyes and opened them, the figures had vanished and the church once more appeared ruined..

Thuds and Bangs

Location: SE18 (Greater London) - Presbytery and church, Plumstead
Type: Poltergeist
Date / Time: 1918
Further Comments: These buildings were home to a poltergeist which created footfalls around the living quarters at the dead of night, and made sounds as if someone was trying to break into the church (both day and night).

A Knock and a Ring

Location: Seaton (Cumbria) - Camerton Church
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1970s
Further Comments: Mr H T Graham was dared to knock on the door of this empty church late one night - the moment he did so, the bells began to toll.

Gilbert White

Location: Selborne (Hampshire) - White's Church, and other parts of the village
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Monk seen 1976
Further Comments: The naturalist Gilbert White has popped up in many places in the village, despite dying in the 1700s. Monks have also been reported in the village - a priory once stood here, and though the building has long since gone, its former occupants are less reluctant to leave.

Dead Man's Shoes

Location: Selkirk (Borders) - Shoemakers (no longer standing) and unknown churchyard
Type: Other
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: A shoemaker in the town once made a pair of shoes for a stranger donned in a black cape. As the mystery man paid, the shoemaker noticed maggots in the purse, and decided to follow him. The figure walked into the local churchyard and vanished into a grave. The shoemaker returned later with some friends and dug the grave up, discovering a rotting corpse wearing a brand new pair of shoes...


Location: Selsey (Sussex) - Church car park, western edge of Pagham Harbour, Church Norton
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: October or November 2001, 23:30h
Further Comments: Two teenagers hanging out at this car park at night witnessed a flash, quickly followed by a bang. From within their car they could hear loud moaning approaching the car, but no footsteps could be heard on the gravel. Nothing could be seen as the teenagers drove off, and many years later one of the witnesses read about a Civil War ghost reputed to haunt the area

Gabriel Hounds

Location: Sheffield (Yorkshire) - Area around parish church
Type: Shuck
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: These hounds are said to have the faces of men, and have been heard passing the church on dark, still nights.

Man on Fire

Location: Shelfanger (Norfolk) - Wash Lane, near the church and ford
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: 1990s
Further Comments: A ten year old girl travelling with her mother in a car was horrified by the appearance of a burning man who ran in front of the car.

Traffic Deadlock

Location: Shocklach (Cheshire) - Area around the church
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: Once a year, the Brereton family return from the grave to rendezvous at this church - their phantom coaches are reported to create tailbacks!


Location: Silton (Dorset) - Church
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: This phantom holy man has been watched as he moves from the altar to the vestry.

Cowled Monk

Location: Skelton cum Newby (Yorkshire) - Church of Christ the Consoler
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Summer 1954
Further Comments: Reverend K F Lord accidentally snapped an image of a cowled monk on the altar of this church - dressed in black robes with an elongated, skull-like face, this picture frequently appears in ghost literature.


Location: Skidbrooke (Lincolnshire) - St Botolph's Church
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Summer 2003
Further Comments: The church is said to be haunted by phantom monks. When the Bassetlaw Ghost Research Group visited in 2004, they did not encounter anyone who had previously lived the monastic lifestyle, though they did report picking up flying 'rods' on night vision cameras.


Location: Slapton (Buckinghamshire) - Churchyard
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: Unknown
Further Comments: The buckles on a pair of shoes belonging to a former rector are said to glint in in the night as his ghost runs to attend a long forgotten incident.

Communication from Henry Barnard

Location: Snettisham (Norfolk) - St Mary's Church, grave of Robert Cobb
Type: Unknown Ghost Type
Date / Time: October 1893
Further Comments: Mrs Goodeve, while visiting friends in the West Country, was visited at night by ghostly apparition calling itself Henry Barnard. Barnard asked Mrs Goodeve to travel to Snettisham church and wait by the grave of Robert Cobb. This she did, and at one o'clock in the morning, Mrs Goodeve was given a message by a tall dark figure who manifested by the tombstone. The message was taken to Barnard's surviving descendant at Cobb Hall, though what was said has never been told to anyone else.

Praying Man

Location: South Mimms (Hertfordshire) - Church and vicarage
Type: Haunting Manifestation
Date / Time: 1920s
Further Comments: A man seen praying in the church stood up and walked through a closed door leading to the vestry. The Reverent Allen Hay also reported that he would often wake at 3am and felt a presence in the vicarage, though he was convinced the ghost was friendly.

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