9 Haunted Places in Suffolk
Stewart | On 18, Mar 2017
Landguard Fort, Felixstowe
Decades ago, terrified children playing near Landguard Fort reported seeing the ghostly apparition of a phantom coach being pulled by a team of horses cross the ditch and then vanish into the fort.
The phantom coach had crossed the ditch where an old drawbridge had once existed hundreds of years ago!
When the Dutch Marines attacked the fort back in 1667 it’s believed that up to ten Dutch soldiers were killed and one English soldier…
It’s said that the ghostly figure of the dead English soldier was witnessed patrolling the Kings Bastion by shocked soldiers who were stationed at the fort during the Second World War.
He’s said to be on a constant look out for the next Dutch attack!
One of the fort’s shop staff got the shock of her life one afternoon when a ghostly figure of a Victorian Artilleryman walked out of the shop’s wall, smiled at her and then turned around and disappeared back into the shop’s solid wall…
Now poltergeist activity had been reported in the past at the shop.
You see, items had been witnessed flying of the display shelves on their own accord by a spooked member of staff!
During the Georgian era it’s said that a young soldier had returned from a tour of duty in the Far East back to Landguard Fort.
Unfortunately for him, he had contracted a tropical disease which had symptoms similar to that of the plague!
The medical officers at the fort had decided to quarantine him in a darken room near the courtyard.
Sadly the young soldier went on to die a painful death from the terrible disease he had contracted overseas.
It’s now said that his agonising screams can occasionally be heard cutting through the air on a quiet night at the fort.
Maria was a young Portuguese woman who was married to one of the fort’s paymaster sergeant back in the 18th century.
Apparently the other soldier’s wives didn’t like Maria too much…
One day she was quickly blamed for the theft of a silk handkerchief which went missing.
The paymaster sergeant left the fort to get help to prove his wife’s innocence.
But unfortunately for him he was accused of desertion when he returned days later.
In those days desertion was a capital offence.
He was quickly put up against a wall and executed by firing squad!
Maria was so devastated by her husband’s death that she committed suicide by jumping off the fort’s ramparts.
Today, members of staff and guests at the fort have reported hearing the eerie sounds of a woman sobbing and whispering in a foreign language…
Many believe it’s the broken ghostly spirit of Maria!
The bathrooms at the fort are rumoured to be haunted by a First World War soldier…
Some say that the soldier was brutally murdered by his angry colleagues when they caught him stealing their possessions!
It’s said that one of the First World War soldiers who brutally murdered his colleague in the bathrooms couldn’t live with himself…
Apparently he entered the magazine room racked with guilt and hanged himself!
And it’s now said that his ghostly spirit haunts the fort’s magazine room to this very day.
But he’s not the only suicidal soldier to haunt the fort.
Terrified witnesses have also seen a ghostly apparition of a white figure dangling from ceiling in one of the other rooms at the fort too!
A common ghostly apparition often witnessed by visitors to the fort is that of the phantom sailor…
He’s often seen peering out of one of the forts windows!
Spooky lights at night are also often reported at the fort by spooked witnesses.
Some visitors to the fort have even reported the feeling of being pushed by an unknown entity when they were visiting the top floor of the fort.
Leiston Abbey, Leiston
Leiston Abbey was originally called St Mary’s Abbey which was founded in 1182 just north of Leiston on the marshes at Minsmere.
The abbey was abandoned in 1363 and moved to Leiston due to the risk of flooding on the Minsmere Level…
If you visit Minsmere today, you’ll still find some old ruins at the old abbey site!
After the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536, Leiston Abbey became a farm with a farmhouse being built into the actual ruins of the abbey.
Today, the abbey ruins are in the care of English Heritage.
Now it’s said that Leiston Abbey is haunted by surprise, surprise… ghostly monks!
Potsford Wood, Wickham Market
Just west of Wickham Market along the B1078 is a spooky wooded area called Potsford Wood.
Potsford Wood is infamous in this part of Suffolk for having the remains of a 17th century gibbet within it.
If you visit the wood you’ll find the old gibbet marked with a plaque.
Upon the plaque you’ll find these words…
REMAINS OF POTSFORD GIBBET
IN USE AT THE END OF 17TH CENTURY
LAST KNOWN HANGING APRIL 14TH 1699
So what’s the story behind the last man to be hung at the gibbet?
Well, back in 1690s there was a double murder at the water mill in Letheringham.
The miller, John Bullard and his son were working on their accounts at the mill when their servant Jonah Snell attacked them…
He brutally killed them in cold blood with an axe!
He then hung their blood drenched bodies from a wooden beam within the water mill.
Jonah was arrested shortly afterwards… he still had the bloodied axe in his possession!
Subsequently, he was hanged at Potsford Wood on the 14th April 1699.
His corpse was displayed in an iron-cage gibbet in the wood as a deterrent.
Today, Potsford Wood is said to be a very active place for paranormal activity…
People driving pass the woods often report seeing mysterious lights hovering near the gibbet.
In the 1980s, a desperate lorry driver stopped for a call of nature at the woods.
Curiosity led him to read the gibbet plaque which subsequently led him to get one of the biggest shocks of his life.
He suddenly felt an icy tap on his shoulder, quickly turning around he came face to face with skeletal figure in a dark hooded robe.
As you can imagine, he didn’t stick around too long!
This skeletal ghostly figure is a common apparition seen by terrified witnesses at Potsford Woods.
In 1997, a young couple’s car unfortunately broke down late at night right next to the woods…
Whilst they were checking over their car, they heard an eerie moaning noise coming from the direction of the gibbet.
This is when they both witnessed a black shapeless apparition hovering within the wood staring at them!
St Andrew’s Church, Walberswick
In the churchyard of St Andrew’s in Walberswick, there are some old creepy medieval ruins.
In the late warm afternoon of July 1931 the author George Orwell was amongst these ruins carrying out some research for a book of his.
It was here amongst the medieval ruins that he witnessed the apparition of a figure.
He wrote this to his friend about his ghostly encounter…
Above is W’wick church as well as I can remember it.
At about 5.20 pm on 27.7.31 I was sitting at the spot marked*, looking out in the direction of the dotted arrow.
I happened to glance over my shoulder, & saw a figure pass along the line of the other arrow, disappearing behind the masonry & presumably emerging into the churchyard.
I wasn’t looking directly at it & so couldn’t make out more than that it was a man’s figure, small & stooping, & dressed in lightish brown; I should have said a workman.
I had the impression that it glanced towards me in passing, but I made out nothing of the features.
At the moment of its passing I thought nothing, but a few seconds later it struck me that the figure had made no noise, & I followed it out into the churchyard.
There was no one in the churchyard & no one within possible distance along the road—this was about 20 seconds after I had seen it; & in any case there were only 2 people in the road, & neither at all resembled the figure.
I looked into the church.
The only people there were the vicar, dressed in black, & a workman who, as far as I remember, had been sawing the whole time. In any case he was too tall for the figure.
The figure had therefore vanished. Presumably an hallucination.
Now, many locals have witnessed this mysterious figure both before and after Orwell’s ghostly encounter…
Those witnesses, described the ghost as a Victorian gentlemen or churchwarden.
Greyfriars Priory, Bungay
Attached to St Mary’s Church you’ll find the ruins of Greyfriars Priory…
Terrified locals have reported hearing the ghostly sound of phantom monks chanting in Latin whilst ringing bells coming from the priory ruins in the middle of the night.
In fact, the locals are so frightened of the old priory site that they tend to give the whole area a wide berth after the sun has gone down!
The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds
The Nutshell on the corner of the Traverse is one of the smallest pubs in England.
The building dates back to the 1800s and it has a few ghostly tales to tell…
The upstairs is said to be haunted by a little boy who’s been witnessed sitting on his tod in the room.
Local legend says the little boy died in the premises in mysterious circumstances.
A lot of the poltergeist activity which happens within the building is blamed on this poor little boy!
A phantom monk is also said to haunt the building and members of staff have often smelt the smell of an old fashion perfume within the pub after it has been closed to the public.
Framlingham Castle, Framlingham
There’s been a castle at Framlingham since 1148.
The original castle was a Norman construction but this was totally destroyed by Henry II after the revolt of 1173-74.
Soon afterwards, the powerful Earl of Norfolk Roger Bigod built a replacement castle on the original castle site.
During the First Baron’s War in 1215, King John took the castle from Roger Bigod without a fight.
The castle was then later returned to the Bigod family but was passed onto the Crown after the death of the 5th Earl in 1306.
During the 15th and 16th centuries the castle was owned by the powerful Mowbray and Howard families.
In 1636, the castle was given to Pembroke College who built a poorhouse within the site.
They later gave the castle to the Commissioner of Works in 1913.
Today, the scheduled monument and a Grade I listed castle is owned by English Heritage.
I’m glad to report that English Heritage has opened the castle to the paying public.
Now with such a long history, it probably won’t be too much of a surprise to you that the castle is rumoured to be haunted…
Phantom footsteps, spooky screams and ghostly apparitions of faces have been reported by terrified members of staff and visitors alike in the old rooms of the castle.
In 2013, shocked visitors to the castle reported hearing the eerie sounds of phantom children playing in the castle’s empty courtyard!
Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich
Situated in Ipswich’s Christchurch Park is the splendid Christchurch Mansion…
Today, this Grade I listed Tudor mansion is a museum which is well known for its collection of Constable and Gainsborough paintings.
But the collection of art isn’t the only things from the past which are resident in this old house…
There are few ghosts too!
In the upstairs picture gallery many amused witnesses have described seeing a ghostly apparition of a young happy Edwardian lady dancing and laughing with a couple of young children.
Downstairs in the mansion, shocked witnesses have seen an apparition of a grey lady in a full length gown swishing pass them.
The mansion is also reported to be haunted by a young servant girl who was said to have died in mysterious circumstances!
St Gregory’s Church, Sudbury
Back in the late 1300s one of the Sudbury’s citizens, the Archbishop of Canterbury Simon Sudbury, came a cropper at the Tower of London.
You see, at the time the Archbishop wasn’t too popular with the masses due to his involvement in the introduction of the poll tax.
During the Peasants Revolt in June 1381 a group of rebellious peasants from Kent and Essex forced their way into the Tower of London and came across the much hated Archbishop.
They dragged him to Tower Hill where rough justice was quickly meted out… THEY CUT HIS HEAD OFF!
After his murder, his headless body was buried at Canterbury Cathedral with pomp and ceremony but his decapitated head was taken to the St Gregory’s Church in Sudbury.
And you know what…
His gruesome decapitated head is kept inside the church to this very day!
So with all this past violence, you probably won’t be too surprised if I told you that the ghostly apparition of Archbishop Simon has been witnessed within St. Gregory’s Church.
Unexplained phantom footsteps have also been heard in the dead of night at the medieval church…
Locals say that they belong to Simon!
Pete Jennings (2011) Haunted Ipswich. The History Press
Alan Murdie (2013) Haunted Bury St Edmunds. The History Press
Pete Jennings (2010) Haunted Suffolk. The History Press