3 Haunted Places in Canterbury
Stewart | On 03, Aug 2017
Canterbury Cathedral was first founded in 597 but was totally destroyed by fire in 1067.
It was then rebuilt under the first Norman archbishop, Lanfranc between 1070 and 1077.
The ancient cathedral has a reputation for being haunted by phantom monks.
The cloisters is the area where most of the ghostly monks are witnessed…
A cathedral security guard had an eerie experience one night in the cloisters when he came across what he thought were a bunch of schoolboys dressed up as monks.
He asked them what they were doing there and at first they didn’t reply.
Eventually they told him ‘We are to the Scriptorium!’
Satisfied with their reply the security guard carried on with his rounds.
Later he saw his supervisor and told him about his encounter with the schoolboy monks.
His boss was shocked as all the schoolboys should’ve been in bed at that time of night.
And the Scriptorium had actually burnt to the ground in 1100 resulting in the deaths of eighty monks!
The security guard isn’t the only person to have seen ghostly monks in the cloisters…
Many people have witnessed them including the prize-winning novelist Rhona Martin.
She once attended the choir school at the cathedral.
And one day she was walking through the cloisters when a monk with his head bowed in prayer walked pass her.
As he passed her she noticed the atmosphere suddenly drop in temperature.
And then she witnessed the very lifelike monk just totally vanished into thin air!
The scheduled monument and Grade I listed Westgate is an ancient medieval gatehouse which you’ll find at the end of St Dunstan’s Street in Canterbury.
Westgate dates back to 1379 and is the largest surviving city gatehouse in England.
The gatehouse has a reputation for being haunted…
Recently a ghostly figure was seen walking across the old iron bridge by a terrified passer-by.
In the distant past when the gatehouse was used as a prison, the iron bridge was often crossed by condemned men!
A council worker once had a terrifying experience in the Westgate when he was working late one night…
He heard what he thought was someone dragging a dead body down the stone steps on the right hand side of the tower.
Scared witless, he ran to the main staircase to make his escape but found it’s door to be bolted firmly shut and icy cold to the touch.
That’s when he heard the phantom footsteps of three or four people descending the staircase from the above floor and heading towards him.
Suddenly the door’s bolt freed itself and he fled the building in terror.
Since then, the Council hasn’t let anybody work after dark in the gatehouse!
The Archbishop’s Old Palace
Along Palace Street in Canterbury you’ll find a large flint and stone building which is known as the Archbishop’s Old Palace.
The Grade I listed building is believed to be one of the places where the knights Reginald FitzUrse, Hugh de Moreville, William de Tracy and Richard le Breton met in 1170 before they went off to murder Thomas à Becket in Canterbury Cathedral.
It’s said that on the anniversary of the murder of Thomas à Becket the ghost of Reginald FitzUrse appears in the hall of the Old Palace.
A couple of years ago a security guard was in the process of locking the doors of the hall for the night when he suddenly witnessed the apparition of a medieval knight.
Apparently the ghostly knight was wearing a knight’s tabard and carrying a large sword.
The apparition ran towards the street entrance of the Old Palace and disappeared into the night!
John Hippisley (2013) Haunted Canterbury. The History Press