3 Haunted Places in Bedfordshire
Stewart | On 27, Mar 2017
AMBERLY CASTLE: A Haunted Castle You Can Actually Stay the Night In!
The Grade I listed 12th century Amberley Castle Hotel is located in the picturesque village of Amberley.
Today, the castle has been transferred into an amazing luxury hotel.
It's said to be haunted by the ghost of a young girl called Emily who committed suicide at the castle.
Her ghostly apparition has been seen by terrified witnesses in and around the Herstmonceux Room!
Chicksands Priory, Chicksands
It was of the Gilbertine Order which was formed by Gilbert of Sempringham.
The priory was unusual because it housed both nuns and canons.
By the 13th century it became one of the wealthiest and largest Gilbertine houses in the country.
In the 16th century the priory was passed onto the Snowe family after the Dissolution of the Monasteries.
In 1576 the Osborn family took possession of the property and it remained in their family for over four hundred years.
In 1936 the Crown Commissioners bought the Grade I listed priory which was later used by the Royal Navy, the RAF and the United States Air Force.
Today the priory has been renovated and is open to the public by appointment a couple of times a year.
The main ghost at the priory is said to be that of a 16th century nun called Berta Rosata.
Local legend says that she had a relationship with a canon at the priory and fell pregnant.
For her sins she was made to watch her lover be executed by being beheaded.
And then she was walled up alive in the priory!
It’s said that on the 17th of every month she wanders the priory looking for the body of her decapitated lover.
Some witnesses describe her as being dressed in white with a long train behind her whilst others say she is wearing a nun’s habit.
She’s also said to have long black hair which covers her face.
Many different ghostly female figures have been witnessed at the priory which is why many believe that Berta isn’t the only ghost to haunt the property.
In fact, some say that the priory is haunted by up to nine different ghosts!
The spirits of a young boy and girl are said to haunt the area around the kitchen which at one time was a nursery when the Osborn family lived at the priory.
Recently the chef and a Canadian officer heard the children laughing and playing in the area.
A cleaner at the priory saw the ghost of the little boy and girl in the quadrangle garden.
A monk-like figure has also been seen walking around the priory in the middle of the night.
As well as a ghostly nun who’s believed to be a former prioress.
A ghost of an old lady who some say was Lady Sarah Osborn has also been witnessed.
During the Second World War a RAF officer wanted to play a joke on his female colleagues so he dressed up as a ghost one night and waited outside the King James Room for a victim.
In due time a young lady walked past and he scared the living daylights out of her…
She ran off screaming and he went back to his room to change.
All the screaming caused another officer to investigate what was happening.
And he witnessed a real ghost who quickly vacated the scene by walking through a wall!
He described the ghostly lady as having an old wrinkled face, untidy hair and being dressed in black.
Another war time sighting happen when a young lady working at the base was asked to take a message to a RAF officer at the priory.
As she entered the Entrance Hall she saw a ghostly female figure dressed in old fashioned clothing standing on the staircase.
A RAF officer was scared witless one night after seeing the ghostly apparition of a female servant carrying a notepad at the foot of his bed.
Apparently she had untidy hair, a ruddy face and was wearing a dark dress with a white lace collar!
Three years later an Air Force Lieutenant was sleeping in the officers’ quarters when he was suddenly woken by a ghost of a young woman clawing and pulling at his left side.
He said she had a friendly smiling face and was looking at him in an intimate manner!
In 1955 an American serviceman witnessed a misty figure suddenly appear in front of him by the gazebo in the priory grounds.
The ghostly apparition of a tall woman dressed in white and the ghost of Sir Danvers Osborn have also been seen at the priory.
A phantom harpsichord has been heard playing Gregorian tunes in the music room even when the building has been totally empty.
Terrified witnesses have also reported hearing phantom footsteps walking around the priory’s cellar.
Higgins Art Gallery and Museum, Bedford
In 1998 members of staff at the museum came into work one morning to discover that a picture that was once hanging on the shop wall had fallen down and landed face up with smashed glass…
At first they didn’t think that it was too strange until they found that the nail which the picture had been hanging from in the wall had been moved down and nailed into the wall just above the skirting board!
In the same year another member of staff walked past the bottom of the stairs on her way to the kitchen when she saw a man dressed in a dark suit standing there.
Not taking too much notice of him and thinking that he was one of her male colleagues she just nodded at him and continued to the kitchen.
When she entered the kitchen she was flabbergasted to find both of her male colleagues already in the kitchen…
So who was the man in the man in the dark suit by the stairs?
In 2000 another member of staff saw a dark figure walk around the bottom of the stairs but when she reached the area the figure had totally disappeared into thin air!
In 2001 when the museum was closed to the public the security were walking through the shop and were stunned to see the chair behind the counter moving as though someone had just vacated it…
You see, there shouldn’t have been any staff or public in the shop at the time as the museum was closed!
So who had caused the chair to move?
Sudden temperature drops and strange mist have also been reported by spooked members of staff who’ve been standing near the shop counter at the time.
Strange events also happen on the stairs…
Members of staff have heard a phantom person walk up the stairs as well as the eerie sound of invisible people mumbling and chatting amongst themselves.
Some staff members feel as though they are being watched by something unseen from the landing on the top flight of stairs when they ascend them!
One witness was spooked one day when she saw a figure standing by the bed in the Burges Room.
When she returned to the room she discovered that it was totally empty.
Witnesses in or near the Drawing Room have often reported being touched or tapped on the shoulder by something unseen!
In 2004 a security guard got the shock of his life when he entered the Drawing Room…
You see, he witnessed an open book which had been left on the shelve lift up in the air, close itself and then place itself back on the shelf!
The Library is said to be haunted by the ghostly apparition of a man…
His been seen sitting at a table and as a reflection in a cabinet mirror.
A startled member of the public reported seeing the glass front of the clock in the Library open by itself.
And a female member of staff reported being grabbed by the ankle one day by an icy cold hand!
One member of staff was terrified when she saw the heavy sliding door of the toilet shut on its own accord.
The Nursery is also said to be haunted…
One poor witness felt an invisible blow to her stomach as she entered the room.
And just after the spooky assault took place a member of staff who followed her into the room felt something rush straight through her!
As you can imagine, members of staff don’t like being alone in this room.
Spooked visitors to the museum have reported seeing the Nursery cupboard doors close on their own accord.
The ghostly apparition of a young woman in a blue dress with white lace trim has been seen by witnesses in the Guest Bedroom too.
In 1994 a member of staff got the shock of their life in the Conservation Room when the photocopier lid lifted by itself and the paper storage drawers shot out!
Phantom footsteps have been reported hurrying along the stone back steps even though that area has been blocked off.
The Kitchen is another room which is said to be haunted…
A witness was terrified one day when the kettle suddenly switched itself on and started to boil some water!
Members of staff have heard eerie whispering and whistling coming from the back lobby even though it was empty at the time.
Another member of staff saw a dark figure exit the back lobby and enter the locker room.
She followed the figure and checked the locker room but nobody was there.
Just at that moment the back doorbell rang twice so she went towards the door to open it.
As she did so she heard somebody behind her mimic the double ring of the doorbell…
She opened the door and found that nobody was there!
Terrified witnesses in the General Office saw the electric typewriter start typing by itself.
And in 2004 a ghostly apparition of a stocky man was seen walking pass the door by the stunned curator…
Apparently he was wearing a white shirt and grey trousers!
His not the only ghostly apparition to have been seen at the Higgins…
The apparition of a stable boy has been seen in the Library and witnesses have also seen a ghostly figure of a 1930s man wearing a bowler hat!
One of the museum curators arrive first thing in the morning one day to discover that the ladder which she had been using the night before had been moved from its original position and was now blocking the fire exit.
And spookily, a set of manikins were now displayed in a straight line down the gallery.
You can now see why the Higgins Art Gallery & Museum has got a reputation for being the most haunted venue in Bedford!
Woburn Abbey, Woburn
The origins of the magnificent Georgian Woburn Abbey country house dates back to 1145 when it was founded as a Cistercian abbey.
In 1547, Henry VIII confiscated it during the reformation and gave it to the 1st Earl of Bedford Lord John Russell.
Since then it became the seat of the Russell family and the main family home of the Duke of Bedford.
Over the centuries the Russell family demolished most of the abbey.
The remaining buildings were remodelled into the Georgian Woburn Abbey you can visit today.
Now Woburn Abbey is said to have the odd ghost or two knocking about its walls…
One of the oldest ghosts associated with the house was that of the Abbot of Woburn.
He was hung from an oak tree which at one time stood next to the church for calling Henry VIII a heretic.
Since the hanging, the Abbot’s ghost was often seen standing by the oak tree by terrified witnesses.
Unfortunately the old oak tree died and it was felled resulting in the ghostly abbot disappearing too!
The ghostly apparition of the 6th Duchess of Bedford is often seen by shocked witnesses in one of the public reception rooms of the house.
Whilst in the private chambers of Woburn Abbey an unknown spirit is said to walk through the lounge…
Doors mysteriously open on their own accord accompanied by phantom footsteps!
Witnesses have been scared witless after seeing a ghostly apparition in the house’s Butler’s Pantry.
Some describe the apparition as a monk whilst others believe it a former servant of the house.
William H King (2012) Haunted Bedford. The History Press
Damien O’Dell (2013) Paranormal Bedfordshire. Amberley