3 Haunted Places in St Albans
Stewart | On 06, Jul 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!
Holywell Hill, St Albans
The ghost of Granny Sheldrake is said to haunt one of the houses along Holywell Hill.
Spooked witnesses have reported hearing her heavy phantom footsteps walking around the house.
It’s said that her ghostly presence becomes more prevalent when young children are in the house!
A ghostly apparition of an Elizabethan woman has been witnessed in one of the bedrooms of White Hart Cottage.
The ghost is said to be that of a former resident called Mrs Perkins.
Terrified witnesses described her as wearing a white neck ruff and a dark skull cap.
A Georgian House which stands on the hill has a cellar which is said to date back to the 12th century.
That cellar is said to be haunted!
Residents who’ve lived there have reported that the cellar had a strange presence.
The cellar lights would turn themselves on and off on their own accord.
And object within the cellar would mysteriously be moved around the place!
Another house along the hill is said to be haunted by the ghostly spirit of a nun.
She’s heard walking up and down the stairs and also moving around the house’s cellar.
In 1980, a guy called Oliver was walking up Holywell Hill during his lunch break when suddenly he became aware of an unusually dressed woman in front of him…
You see, she was wearing a wide brimmed hat with an ankle-length flowery skirt, brown boots and a woollen shawl which was draped over her shoulders.
Similar to what a Victorian lady would have worn!
She was also carrying a large wicker basket over her left arm, the type which flower sellers would have used in the 19th century.
The pavement was narrow so he waited for the traffic to clear before he stepped out on the road so that he could pass her.
Curiosity got the benefit of him and he glanced back to see what the lady’s face looked like.
To his surprise, she had totally disappeared into thin air…
He couldn’t see her anywhere on Holywell Hill!
Some people have reported hearing the sound of an armed conflict upon the hill.
Many believe it’s a paranormal replay of events which happened during the War of the Roses’ First Battle of St Albans which took place nearby in 1455.
Terrified witnesses have also seen a ghostly apparition of a coach being pulled by phantom headless horses travelling past the White Hart Hotel on the hill.
Ivy House, St Albans
Along St Peter’s Street just opposite the church you’ll find the listed Ivy House.
Today, the early 18th century three-storey house is the business premises of solicitors.
Paranormal activity seems to have quietened down of recent years but the house has got a reputation for being haunted.
In the 1970s, members of staff were scared stiff of being left alone in the building after the sun had gone down…
On a dark Friday night in 1975 one manger had to return to the building because he had forgotten some important papers.
As he entered Ivy House he was scared witless by seeing the ghostly apparition of a young blonde haired woman in a white dress standing on the first floor landing.
The ghostly woman looked at him then walked calmly up to the next floor where she disappeared into thin air.
This sighting was too much for the manager and he quickly left the building!
Another time, a couple of staff members can into the building after hours to decorate a Christmas tree.
They too witnessed the ghostly female figure by the stairwell.
They described her as looking sad!
Doors opening and closing on their own accord, taps turning themselves on, eerie noises and phantom footsteps have all been reported by members of staff and visitors alike at Ivy House.
The stairwell seemed to be the epicentre of the paranormal activity.
The phantom lady believed to haunt the house is said to be a young chambermaid called Meades from a former building on the site.
Apparently she became pregnant by a member of the household.
And as a punishment was bricked up alive behind a wall in the house!
It’s said that her spirit still performs her duties…
She’s believed to clean the handrail on the stairs and parts of the cellar!
St Albans Cathedral, St Albans
Probably the most infamous ghostly tale to come out of the cathedral was that of Basil Saville during war torn Britain.
In 1944, Basil was sixteen years old and had an important role at the cathedral as a fire-watcher.
You see, during the Second World War the German Luftwaffe dropped incendiaries devices onto UK towns and cities to start fires which would not only mark the target for later bombing raids but also cause a lot of damage by fire.
Basil’s job was to detect and put out any incendiaries devices dropped onto the cathedral.
On Christmas Eve he turned up for his night’s vigil only to find that his fire-watching colleagues hadn’t arrived yet and he was all alone.
He decided to start his round without them but had the uneasy feeling that somebody was watching him…
When he reached the Saint’s Chapel which houses the shrine of the martyr Alban his feeling of being watched grew.
As he glanced around he thought he saw two hooded figures watching him but put it down to an overactive imagination because he’d just witnessed two discarded monk’s habits of the chapel’s stone floor!
Carrying on with his tour he entered the 12th century Lady Chapel.
As he climbed the belfry he suddenly heard the bells start to slowly ring out…
This totally confused him as he knew that the bells had been removed from the tower to stop them from being damaged in a bombing raid.
As he opened the belfry door the bells fell silent and he discovered that the room was totally empty with no bells in sight!
At this time, Basil was starting to get unnerved and decided to return to the ground floor and wait for his fire-watching colleagues to turn up.
As he descended the tower stairs he started to hear organ music.
Heading towards the organ he saw what he thought was a lit candle.
Mindful of the blackout rules he shouted out for the candle to be put out.
The request was ignored by whoever was playing the organ.
As he got nearer to the organ he got the shock of his life…
The organ’s keys were being played and the pages of the music book were slowly being turned on their own accord.
It looked like somebody invisible was sitting there and playing the organ!
Suddenly the sound of singing voices rang out from the high altar.
As he approached the high altar the organ music and singing fell silent.
And he then witnessed a very solid looking abbot and a procession of monks walk through the screen doors into the Saints Chapel.
Following the procession, Basil found that the screen doors were actually locked and upon opening them he discovered a dark and empty chapel with no sight or sound of the ghostly monks and abbot.
Returning to the organ he found the spent candle and a music book titled Albanus Mass by Robert Fayrfax.
Robert Fayrfax was a former organist and director of the abbey choir who died in 1521.
In fact, his body is actually buried in the abbey crypt!
Basil returned to the vestry to discover that his fire-watcher colleagues had turned up.
He told them about his paranormal experiences but they hadn’t seen or heard anything unusual.
Together with another fire-watcher Basil retraced his steps but the spent candle at the organ and the discarded monk’s habits had mysteriously disappeared.
It later came to light that in the 1930s the Canon George Glossop heard music coming from the locked cathedral late one night…
That music was the Albanus Mass by Robert Fayrfax!
The daughter of Canon Glossop has her own ghostly tale to tell…
One night she had a young relative staying over at the house.
She got up out of bed in the middle of the night to fetch a glass of water for her young relative.
As she got up she heard men singing in the street outside her house.
Looking out of her window she couldn’t see who was singing so she went to fetch her father who was working late in his study.
They both went outside to investigate and heard a phantom procession of invisible singers pass them, go through the locked Abbey gate, then pass through the main door and enter the Abbey!
In the morning of All Souls’ Day in 1931 the abbey verger opened up the building to prepare for the day’s first service.
He was scared witless when a ghostly procession of Benedictine monks glided silently towards him!
The monks then proceeded to disappear into thin air right in front of him.
This isn’t the only time ghostly Benedictine monks have been seen at the Abbey…
A group of very tall phantom monks were seen walking near the Great Gateway one September evening.
They were in pairs and swaying side by side as though they were carrying a heavy coffin!
Ghostly monks have also been seen in the Watching Gallery, by the shrine of the martyr Alban and in the Hudson Library.
People have also reported the very strong smell of incense in the south side of the building.
Many people have heard heavenly music coming from the Abbey late at night…
One summer’s evening a woman passing by the cathedral heard the sound of music and a choir singing coming from the building.
She decided to sneak in the back door to listen to them some more but as soon as she touched the door handle the music and choir suddenly stopped.
In 1938, a young girl was passing the building with a friend when they too heard some lovely music coming from it.
They went to the Abbey and looked inside only find that the music had stopped and the building was totally empty and in pitch darkness!
Paul Adams (2013) Haunted St Albans. The History Press