Explore Shrewsbury's Best Ghost Tales for October nights
Bloody Jack (Shrewsbury Castle)
'Bloudie’ or ‘Bloody’ Jack is just one of many keepers who have come and gone from Shrewsbury Castle over the centuries, but no other left as gruesome a legacy as he did. Legend has it that Jack was one of Britain’s earliest serial killers, who lured young women to the castle with the promise of marriage before brutally murdering them, keeping their severed fingers and toes as souvenirs.
His reign of terror was ended when the sister of one of his victims spied him dragging her poor sister’s body across the castle grounds after dark. Jack was quickly captured, hung, drawn and quartered, and his head was later displayed on a pole at Wyle Cop.
His restless ghost seems to have lingered, as many townsfolk have seen him stalking the Castle grounds since – often accompanied by blood-curdling screams and a sense of dread.
Fallen Soldiers of Bosworth (Henry Tudor House)
In Barracks Passage linger the ghosts of Henry Tudor's soldiers, killed at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. They stopped in Shrewsbury on the way to battle in 1485 – in fact, the passage is said to have been named for the barracks they stayed in.
People visiting Henry Tudor House may see the shadowy figures of soldiers milling about, as if awaiting their marching orders, and people passing the pub may glimpse pale faces peering out of the windows.
Cursed Milk Seller (Smithfield Road / Raven Meadow)
Folklore has it that a milk-seller in the old Raven Meadow area boosted her profits by selling watered down milk to her neighbours – while charging them the full price. It’s not known exactly when this crime occurred, but when her deceit was uncovered, the furious townsfolk saw to it that a curse was placed on the woman, fating her to walk the area for eternity after death, reciting her confession: ‘Weight and Measure Sold I Never, Milk and Water Sold I Ever.’
The harsh punishment seems to have been effective, as townsfolk report seeing her to this day, wandering aimlessly about the area and repeating the same old rhyme.
Buried Alive (St Julian’s Churchyard)
Local legend has it that a guest of The Lion Hotel was mistakenly buried alive in St Julian's churchyard after falling into a sleep he couldn’t be roused from. Thinking he was dead, the town guard accused the hotelier of poisoning him for failing to settle his dues, arresting one poor man and burying the other.
Later, groans were heard from beneath the earth of the fresh grave, and the townsfolk finally demanded the man be dug up, fearing his body was possessed – but on raising the coffin, they found something even more horrifying – scratch-marks on the inside of the coffin lid, and the victim’s nails bloodied and torn.
Passing the churchyard at night, townsfolk still sometimes hear groans from under the earth.
Jilted Lovers (Prince Rupert Hotel)
The Prince Rupert Hotel is one of Shrewsbury’s ghostly hotspots – its conference suite, once the Prince Philip Suite, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a bride who hanged herself when her new husband left her on her wedding night. Room 7, meanwhile, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young man who killed himself on discovering his fiancée had eloped with his best friend.
Perhaps someone should make an introduction?
Another spectre takes the form of a man in a nightshirt, who appeared in a hallway and just as quickly vanished before the eyes of the Director of Photography on A Christmas Carol (1984) when he stayed in the hotel during filming.
Infirmary Ghosts (The Parade)
Before it was a shopping centre, the Parade was the Royal Salop Infirmary – a hospital in operation from 1744 to 1977.
Two ghosts regularly spook shop workers and building staff. One, a poltergeist, has been known to throw shop displays, goods, and furniture on the floor overnight when the building is unoccupied.
Another, the White Lady, haunts the rooms which used to be the operating theatres. Some believe her appearance signals that someone is about to die.
Mischievous Emily (Ten & Six)
Mardol’s name means ‘The Devil’s End’ and some of its timber-framed buildings date back to the 13th century – no surprise to find ghoulish goings on here!
Occupying one of the street’s oldest buildings, quirky tearoom and champagne bar Ten & Six is said to be haunted by a ghost called Emily who plays tricks by moving things around, knocking glasses and cups over and banging on doors.
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