York Pubs are known as some of the most haunted inns in England. Little wonder considering York itself is an ancient, medieval city. Here are seven of York’s most haunted pubs for you to visit and enjoy a spirit or two…
The Golden Fleece, York
16 Pavement, York YO1 9UP
Among the most haunted and indeed oldest of the pubs in York, The Golden Fleece is a true piece of history – established at least as early as 1503, and probably earlier. Locals report at least 15 lost spirits wandering the pub’s rooms and corridors, though only a few with any regularity.
The most famous of the spirits that haunt the pub is that of the Lady of the House, Alice Peckett. In life, she was the wife of John Peckett, Lord Mayor of the whole city in 1701-2. She has been seen wandering silently through the halls and up the stairs – and even moves furniture if she disagrees with the arrangement.
Other spirits often seen include the apparition of a man in full Canadian Airman uniform – many such men were stationed in York during WWII.
Ye Olde Starre Inne, York
40 Stonegate, York YO1 8AS
Though possibly not as old as The Golden Fleece, Ye Olde Starre Inne is not at all lacking in paranormal occurrences. Dating back to at least 1644, though possibly earlier, the focal point of ghostly activity in this pub is the cellar, believed to be much older than 1644.
During the English Civil War, in the 17th Century, the pub was used as a makeshift hospital wounded soldiers. Often, their agonised groans and screams are heard coming up from the cellar.
There also seems to be a heavy association with the colour black. An unknown woman, clad in all black, is frequently seen – though next to nothing is known about her.
In an even stranger turn, it is also believed the ghosts of two black cats that were trapped in the wall still linger in the pub, driving visiting dogs into a raged frenzy.
The Snickleway Inn, York
47 Goodramgate, York YO1 7LS
The building that houses The Snickleway, older even than The Golden Fleece, has been in York since at least the 15th Century. Though it has not always been a pub, parts of the building date back at least this far. It has been used for a variety of purposes over the years, including as ammunition storage during the Civil War.
Unsurprisingly, as one of the oldest, it is also again one of the most haunted. At least 5 spirits are regularly seen on its premises. Sightings of a certain Mrs Tulliver, and her phantom cat rubbing itself against the legs of the clientele, is a common occurrence. For something more malevolent, we again look to the cellar – The Snickleway is unique for allegedly housing a malevolent spirit in the cellar.
A young girl is also commonly sighted on the stairs, believed to be the daughter of a previous landlord who was killed by a horse and cart. An old man, sitting on the barrels, has also been known to throw tools at staff members.
The Black Swan, York
23 Peasholme Green, York YO1 7PR
The Black Swan that we see today dates back to sometime in the 1600s. However, there have been residents on the site since at least 1417, when it was used as land for a private residence.
Ghostly apparitions are common, and take a great variety of forms. One of the stranger common sightings is of a man in Edwardian dress, pacing around the pub in his bowler hat. He typically disappears after a while, though no one is sure of his identity. Others often report the spirit of a black-haired young woman with deep set eyes, staring towards the fireplace in contemplation.
Perhaps the most unsettling common sighting on this whole list, one apparition that frequents The Black Swan is a pair of disembodied legs that have been seen wandering around upstairs. Again, no one is quite sure who this would be, except that the legs are male.
The Old White Swan, York
80 Goodramgate, York YO1 7LF
The Old White Swan is one of a few buildings in Goodramgate that were first built in the 16th Century. A group of huddled spirits are often seen gathered around the fire chattering away, and it is believed these were Catholics from before the dissolution of the monasteries. They are typically seen in the early hours of the morning. On occasion, staff have reported the fire starting back up on its own, after having been extinguished.
The Old White Swan is no stranger to more classic ghostly phenomena – muffled voices, footsteps in the night, even furniture being moved around and pushed over. Why the spirits here seem so restless, no one can really say.
The Hole in the Wall, York
High Petergate, York YO1 7EH
An unassuming, even modern looking pub tucked away in High Petergate, The Hole in the Wall has a storied history. What you need to know, however, is what was found in 1816. During some routine work at the pub, an entire dungeon was excavated beneath the floor.
In this dungeon was found chains and manacles which hung from the wall. Though nothing is known about the dungeon itself, many reports of cries and groans have been reported coming from below the ground.
A tunnel was also found when the dungeon was unearthed, but was bricked up. Supposedly the work of a superstitious builder, who heard footsteps from the blackness.
The Windmill Inn, York
14-16 Blossom St, York YO24 1AJ
A gorgeous white building with a red tile roof, The Windmill Inn is again a very unassuming establishment from the outside. Lurking inside, though, is far from the ordinary pub.
In the past, inns would employ an ostler to take care of patrons’ horses while they were there. The one-time ostler’s ghost is very frequently seen, along with another young girl tragically killed by horses outside the pub in the 1800s. In recent years, a chef employed at the Windmill Inn has reported seeing the jet-black figure of a young girl on several occasions.
Disembodied boots have been seen walking up the stairs, echoing against hard wood throughout the pub – except that the stairs are carpeted today. There is no bare wood to stand on.
Finally, and undoubtedly most strangely, an icy mist, 6 feet high and 3 feet wide, was seen expanding along a corridor upstairs. What this means is anyone’s guess—but we can all agree icy mists do not appear from thin air!