October 08th 2019

Spooky Stories of Northumberland

With Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night all in the space of one week, some would say this is the most spooky week of the entire year. To celebrate all things scary, we’ve uncovered Northumberland’s weird and wonderful tales of the county’s creepiest haunts.
Here are some of our favourites…

Winters Gibbet

Located 2.5 miles from Elsdon and just 12 miles from Rothbury, the Gibbet is a large wooden pole located on the edge of the forest used as an execution pole. As there are no signs for it, it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. The lone gallows remain to remind visitors of the grisly story behind the structure.

William Winter was a notorious hardened criminal, who in 1792 alongside two female accomplices, killed an innocent lady called Margaret Crozier, two miles south of Elsdon. William and the two women were apprehended & hung in Newcastle for their crimes. The bodies were taken to be hung from the Gibbet to make an example of them. Whilst the women’s bodies were soon taken by local physicians, Williams body was left hanging until his clothes rotted off. Once his body was cut down, the gibbet remained until the weather and local custom destroyed the wood. The gibbet has been remade a few times since the original stood, and it’s said that the silver from the original gibbet was sought after by locals as a cure for toothache.

Most recently, there have been reports of William wandering around the gibbet late at night. Take a trip to the Gibbet yourself by booking a break at Coquet Cottage and see if you can spot the hanging head.

Video sourced from: Dead Air via YouTube

The Alnwick Castle Vampire Legend

Visit any castle and you are sure to be met with a haunting story. The gruesome history of a castle can be too much for some but for others, the mystery is thrilling. One of the most famous legends at the thousand-year-old Alnwick Castle is that the castle once spawned its own vampire.

The strange tale of the hunchback vampire is that he wanders the castle grounds bringing terror in its wake and was most famously recorded by a medieval chronicler, William de Newburgh. The figure was seen rising nightly from a grave and wreaking havoc on the local peasantry.

The grave was dug up and the body exhumed, and it’s said that upon opening the coffin the body was found fresh and full of blood, which seemed to prove that the rogue rotter had been feasting on the blood of the living. The villages then burnt the body and from that day forward no further murders were reported.

If you visit Alnwick Castle on a particularly quiet day, take a moment and stand in silence as it has been reported that you can hear the breathing of the monster and the footsteps from the tallest tower. Book your stay at Tom’s Cottage and explore more ancient and spooky tales.

Alnwick Castle in Northumberland

Alnwick Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle

High upon the cliffs along the North Sea in Northumberland, reside the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. Dunstanburgh was once the largest castle in Northumberland, but today only fragments of it remain.

The castle was built in 1313 by Thomas Plantagenet, Second Earl of Lancaster and was fortified in the 1380s. The castle saw plenty of action during the Wars of the Roses as it changed hands at least five times. Each time it was besieged with cannon fire and in the end, little was left of the castle.

Thomas Plantagenet fell into disfavor with his cousin King Edward II who had him executed for treason in 1322. The executioner must have had a bad day because it took him 11 strokes to ultimately decapitate Thomas. The Earl’s ghost has been spotted around the castle carrying his mangled head, with a facial expression still bearing the pain and horror he suffered before the final blow when executioner took his life. The ghost of Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI, has also been spotted wandering the castle grounds.

You can walk to Dunstanburgh Castle from Crabcake Cottage in Craster.

Dunstanburgh Castle in NorthumberlandDunstanburgh Castle

We hope you have enjoyed reading these spooky stories and we hope you have a great Halloween and Guy Fawkes Night. If you have your own spooky stories, please share them on our Facebook Page.

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