October 30th 2017
Spooky Stories of Northumberland
Halloween and Guy Faulkes night all in one week; this is the spookiest week of the year
But for those who enjoy creepy stories and murder mysteries, Northumberland is steeped full of history with some weird and wonderful tales from the county’s creepiest haunts.
Here are some of our favourites…
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 passers by 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 body’s were all taken to be hung from the Gibbet to make an example of them, but 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 number of times since the original stood, and no matter how many times the excecutioners pole has been stolen or destroyed, it is always rebuilt.
Most recently there are reports of William wandering around the gibbet late at night (not sure who plans on visiting in the evening, but take a torch!). Go visit for yourself by booking a break at Coquet Cottage and see if you can spot the head hanging.
The Alnwick Castle Vampire Legend
Visit any castle and you are sure to be met with a ghost story or two. The creepy and gruesome history can be too much for some but for others, the mystery and horror is a playground. Perhaps the most famous legend at the thousand-year-old Alnwick Castle – now home to the Percy family – is that the castle spawned it’s own vampire.
The strange tale of the hunchback vampire is that he wanders the castle grounds bringing terror and disease in its wake and was most famously recorded by a medieval chronicler named William de Newburgh.
This figure was seen rising nightly from a grave and reeking havoc and violence on the local peasantry. According to Newburgh, on Palm Sunday, the priest seized with a Van Helsing-like zeal, entrolled a pitchfork-wielding mob and successfully uncovered the lair of the unruly ‘vampire’. The grave was dug up and the body exhumed, although 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 Toms Cottage and explore more ancient and mysterious tales.
High upon the cliffs along the North Sea in Northumberland, England, 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. The castle is still home to its builder and a few others…
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 of the executioner finally 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.