Chillingham castle is an impressive and majestic 1344c. stronghold that adorns the Northumberland countryside. Though it is surrounded by soft, serene green hills and stunning gardens the fortress itself holds many dark secrets that have spilled out all over its grounds. Its gruesome history has tainted Chillingham Castle, leaving many to believe that it is in fact the most haunted castle in England.
Chillingham Castle Ghosts: History of Hauntings
Lying so close to the borders of England and Scotland, Chillingham Castle has seen its fair share of war and battles. Add to this, the castle’s history and strong connections to torture and executions and the perfect mix for paranormal activity is created. There are many ghost stories that center throughout the castle.
Though there are plenty of dark aspects to Chillingham Castle’s history, few compare to its history of torture. It is rumored that Chillingham Castle had the worst torturer to ever work within England. This sadistic man, known as John Sage, literally killed thousands of unfortunate souls in the worst possible ways within Chillingham and its surrounding grounds. Many still believe his ghost lurks within the castle. Some believe that it is the malevolent, dark presence which has been known to cause harm to visitors, whilst others believe that particular presence to be something even darker. It is also thought that some of his torture victims continue to live out their agonized final moments within the castle. Cries and screams of pain are commonly heard, as well as the popping and snapping of joints, bones and ligaments thought to be from those being stretched out on the infamous torture device, the rack.
Though many have claimed to experience this phenomena within Chillingham’s torture chamber display, this is not the original place of torture. The original chamber is actually sealed up and lies roughly underneath the ground of the tea room. Supposedly, the actual torture chamber is filled with human remains and was sealed off to the public after a seance was conducted within, that ended in some terrifying results.
The Blue Boy
Perhaps the most famous ghost to haunt Chillingham Castle is known as the Blue Boy. This ghost is said to haunt one of the castle’s bedrooms called the Pink Room. Legend states that the apparition of a young boy, illuminated by blue light, would appear from a wall inside of this room. Blue orbs of light and the cries of a child could also often be heard escaping through the same area of the room’s wall. Sometime in the 20th century the skeletal remains of a young boy with fragments of blue clothing were discovered hidden behind that wall. Many believe he was walled up alive, as his finger bones and nails were wore down and broken from trying to escape his tomb.
Lady Mary Berkely’s Ghost
A former lady of the castle is also thought to roam its halls. Lady Mary Berkely is said to have lived out her life within Chillingham Castle in great sadness. This was after her husband, Lord Grey Of Wark and Chillingham, left her for her own sister. She is commonly reported within her former living quarters and has been seen gazing out of the upper floor windows.
One of the more ghastly acts to have occurred at the castle came towards the end of the English and Scottish war. An excess of prisoners that required ‘disposal’ at Chillingham Castle were ushered into the courtyard, where the were separated. Men and women on one side and children on the other. It is said that the men and women were burned alive. The already traumatized children who were made to watch their parents burn, were then taken upstairs into the King Edward Bedroom. Here, they were all then killed, being hacked to pieces. To this day, many claim to sight apparitions and hear disembodied cries within the courtyard. The bedroom where the children were killed is also an extremely active place for paranormal activity within the castle. It is told that a dark, sinister presence dwells in this room, commonly attacking people who dare to enter.
The Haunted Chapel
Even Chillingham Castle’s Chapel isn’t safe from ghostly goings on. Within this room two skeletons were located underneath the ground in a vault. A further skeleton, believed to be unrelated to the first two was also located underneath the ground a short distance away. This one was the skeleton of a young girl, many believe to have been hiding, but from who or why remains unknown. Her ghost is said to haunt the chapel, usually communicating with female visitors, playing with their hair and filling the atmosphere within the corner her body was found with feelings of great sadness.
The Pantry Ghost
Another of the most well known ghosts of Chillingham Castle is known as the pantry ghost. This ghost appears in the White Pantry, dressed in white, looking very pale and sickly. Allegedly one night, a guard who had locked himself inside of this room, protecting the silver stored there, was confronted by this woman who was begging him for water. He acted on instinct, turning to help this woman with her request before remembering he was locked inside the room alone. He turned back around to look at the woman who had since disappeared. It is rumored that this woman was actually poisoned, dying within the castle but still continuing to look for help and water to this day.
Adding to the creepiness of the pantry room is the adjoining dungeon, which was uncovered after being bricked up. This small, claustrophobic space still retains its prisoner graffiti upon the walls and human skeletal remains are still present when looking down a trap door where humans were dropped through.
The Hanging Trees
Though the inside of the Castle contains many ghosts and gruesome stories, so do its surrounding grounds. Just a short walk through the wood lands of Chillingham’s grounds reveals three gnarled, sinister looking trees. Only one remains standing, the other two lie on their sides. These are known as the Hanging Trees. Supposedly, many hanging executions took place at Chillingham Castle. Some of these were meant to inflict slow, painful deaths and saw victims hanged by their feet. Bodies weren’t removed after death but left to rot, fall to pieces and slowly make their way into the ground (remains are still being uncovered today). One grizzly story from this area tells of some monks who discovered and helped hanging victims from these trees while collecting water. Unfortunately, they were caught and also hanged. Many now claim to sight ghostly monks roaming this area. The presence of light anomalies, disembodied footsteps and voices are also common in this area of the woods.
Even the front drive way into the grounds of Chillingham Castle have been soaked in blood. This section of the grounds has been appropriately nicknamed the Devil’s Walk. Similarly to the area near the hanging trees, the ground here is littered with human bones, due to many other people being hanged and left to slowly rot and decay into the earth. This is also thought to be a paranormal hotspot with more light anomalies and footsteps commonly heard when there is no one around.
Visiting Haunted Chillingham Castle
Chillingham Castle is a truly fascinating piece of dark history. Visitors can explore the castle for a small fee and even pay for accommodation to spend the night. I was able to stay the night in the Guard’d Room (sleeps two) for a small price. There are many other room options available, which sleep up to 6 people. Night vigils and ghost tours are also available to book through the venue.
Looking for other unique haunted places in England? I recommend checking out the Ancient Ram Inn.
Thanks for reading!