3 Haunted Places in Colchester
Stewart | On 13, Mar 2017
Siege House, Colchester
75 East Street, Colchester CO1 2TS
In 1648 the English Civil War reignited in several parts of Britain.
The town of Colchester was one of those flash points…
The Royalist army were travelling throughout East Anglia trying to drum up support for the King’s army.
At Colchester, a parliamentarian town, they were quickly attacked by a parliamentary force lead by Lord-General Thomas Fairfax.
In the past he’d been successful against the Royalist at Maidstone in Kent by launching a quick full scale attack.
He tried the same tactics at Colchester but the Royalist retreated behind the town’s walls.
This was the beginning of the siege of Colchester!
Now, on East Street in Colchester there’s an old building called Siege House.
Well Siege House is located near the town’s eastern bridge which crosses over the River Colne…
This area saw fierce fighting in the early days of the siege.
Even today you can still see the old musket ball holes in the timbered west and south sides of Siege House.
With such a violent history you’ll probably won’t be too surprised if I told you that Siege House and the surrounding area is said to be haunted by soldiers from the English Civil War!
In the 1990s a ghostly apparition of a cavalier was seen by terrified witnesses walking down East Street and vanishing into thin air when he reached the Siege House.
It’s not only phantom cavaliers which have been seen in this area but apparitions of puritan soldiers have also been witnessed.
One of the rooms in Siege House is said to be so haunted that the restaurant’s members of staff refuse to work in the room on their own…
They always work in pairs!
Colchester Castle, Colchester
Castle Park, Colchester CO1 1TJ
The Grade I listed Colchester Castle is a fine example of a complete Norman castle.
The castle was ordered to be constructed by William the Conqueror in 1069.
It’s built on the foundations of the Roman temple of Claudius which dates back to AD 60!
Now, you would think with its Norman and Roman roots, that the castle’s ghostly tale would be from one of those eras…
In fact, the castle’s ghost story involves a Quaker!
In 1656 a Quaker called James Parnell was arrested and imprisoned in Colchester Castle for an incident which happened in Coggleshall Church…
You see at this time in history Colchester Castle was used as a county prison.
Well, the story goes that James was praying in Coggleshall Church when a commotion ensued resulting in him being arrested for blasphemy and other offences.
He was acquitted of the charges but the Magistrate still fined him £40.
Now, this is where it starts to turn from bad to worse for poor James.
He refused to pay the fine which resulted in him being returned to the prison at Colchester Castle.
Nicholas Roberts was the gaoler at the castle at the time and he was a nasty piece of work.
He was infamous for his cruelty to the prisoners put in his care.
And poor James was no exception!
He forced him to climb a rope to get his food.
Well, one day the inevitable happen.
James fell from the rope and was badly injured.
For then on he couldn’t climb the rope to get his food resulting in his health deteriorating quickly.
On 10th April 1656 he tragically died.
It’s now said that his poor tormented ghost haunts the castle to this very day!
In the 1930s a local man took on a foolish bet for £200 that he couldn’t stay the whole night locked in the haunted Colchester Castle…
The bet was that he would be locked in the castle from 8.00pm until 8.00am the next morning.
At 8.00pm he was locked in the castle and left alone to spend the night there.
A couple of hours later a passer-by noticed a distressed man running around on top of the castle’s roof trying to get attention.
The fire brigade were called and the man was brought down in one piece.
The poor man was a total gibbering wreck!
In fact, he was in such a distressed state that a doctor was quickly called to sedate him.
He was taken to Severalls psychiatric hospital where he sadly died a few months later.
Holytrees Museum, Colchester
Castle Road, Colchester CO1 1UG
You’ll find Holytrees Museum next to Colchester Castle.
The Hollytrees Museum is situated in a huge stunning brick 18th century house.
In the museum hangs a portrait of Miss Anne Lisle.
People have presumed that she’s the ghost that haunts the museum because some people have reported feeling an eerie presence behind them when viewing her portrait.
The ghost of Hollytrees Museum is called the White Lady.
Phantom footsteps are often heard running in or near the museum’s gun room by spooked witnesses.
On one occasion a strong smell of old fashioned perfumed lingered in the gun room for days on end.
In the costume room a little girl visiting the museum got upset because she didn’t like the look of the strange lady standing next to her daddy…
Nobody else in the room could see the strange lady!
Other visitors have reported severe temperature drops in the museum.
On some occasions guests have remarked on the beautiful piano music being played in the building…
There’s no piano in the museum!
Not everybody thinks the ghost at the museum is that of Anne Lisle.
Some shocked witnesses have seen a ghostly apparition of a nun.
Others have seen an apparition of a woman in a brown dress.
It’s said that she’s a murder victim from the 18th century.
If you’re ever in the gardens at the back of the museum at twilight, take a look up at the windows…
As some people have reported seeing eerie faces looking down at them!
Carmel King (2009) Haunted Essex. The History Press
Jason Day (2011) Paranormal Essex. The History Press