CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Cotswold Life today CLICK HERE

Ghostly tales from Sudeley Castle

PUBLISHED: 11:05 16 October 2018 | UPDATED: 11:05 16 October 2018

The ghostly figure of Katherine Parr is said to roam Sudeley Castle & Gardens, searching for her infant daughter

The ghostly figure of Katherine Parr is said to roam Sudeley Castle & Gardens, searching for her infant daughter

Archant

Of all the castles in the region, none have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley over its dramatic 1,000-year history. And with such a colourful and eventful past, it is easy to see why some people believe there could be spirits from bygone eras which still wander the halls and corridors to this day

There have been dozens of other-worldly sightings or unusual occurrences at Sudeley Castle over the years, ranging from a blacksmith hammering in the vaults and a dancing stick in the nursery, to a young, blonde boy playing in the garden and even a friendly, panting dog.

Other strange reports have told of items mysteriously tumbling over for no apparent reason. A number of guests staying overnight at the ancient castle have even been terrified by a heavy weight sitting on their bed in the small hours.

There are a few more insightful ghostly tales that seem to crop up quite regularly - one of Sudeley’s best-known modern resident ghosts is said to be that of a formidable Edwardian housekeeper called Janet who, after retiring to a nearby cottage in the early 1950s, returned to the castle weekly to make life hell for her successor. After she died, Janet continued to spring unexpected visits to the upstairs rooms, running her finger disapprovingly over the furniture and alarming staff and visitors alike.

An aerial view of Sudeley CastleAn aerial view of Sudeley Castle

Janet’s frowning ghostly figure, wearing a mop cap, a white blouse and long skirt, has also been seen keeping watch on the staircase, continuing her dedication towards her role of keeping the household staff in line. It is said that Janet would patrol the staircase at night to ensure no ‘after hours’ goings-on took place, and it seems that, even in death, Janet refuses to give up her duties.

Ghost hunters wanting to experience Sudeley’s supernatural side may wish to take a walk down ‘the haunted staircase’ – said to be the most haunted spot at the site, to see if they encounter ‘Janet’ for themselves.

St Mary's Church at Sudeley Castle, the final resting place of Queen Katherine ParrSt Mary's Church at Sudeley Castle, the final resting place of Queen Katherine Parr

Sudeley Castle is also believed to be home to a royal ghost, Queen Katherine Parr, the last of Henry VIII’s six wives, who lies entombed in the beautifully restored 15th century st Mary’s Church in the castle grounds. Katherine, who died five days after giving birth, is said to roam the Castle corridors looking for her infant daughter, who is believed to have died around the age of two.

In 2016 Sudeley Castle hit the headlines when an American tourist captured a ghostly figure sitting on a four-poster bed, which some claimed could have been Queen Katherine Parr.

Another much older account of a ghostly encounter with Katherine Parr was in 1860 by a worker on the estate called Fred Simmons who was asked to fix a broken blind by the then chatelaine of the castle, Emma Dent. After repairing the blind by candlelight one evening, he was returning through the Chandos Room when his candle suddenly went out. He then felt a woman rush past, her silk dress rustling. He presumed it to be Mrs Dent but on speaking to the castle housekeeper, Mrs Bayliss, discovered that no one else had been upstairs at the time.

Sudeley Castle's Dungeon Tower in fogSudeley Castle's Dungeon Tower in fog

He later confessed that some time previously he had taken a tooth from Katherine Parr’s coffin. Writing in his notebook, he said; “Could it be so, that the ghost of Katherine was permitted to roam over those old precincts – making night hideous – and to fill with awe those who had been guilty of robbing the dead!” Perhaps unsurprisingly, his wife soon urged him to return the tooth to the coffin.

The castle’s tithe barn is said to be frequented by a young girl in her 20’s, a Victorian guest at the Castle, who has long auburn hair and wears a white dress – she is playful and happy and it has been suggested that this is because she had a holiday romance at the castle and the barn is where she met her lover.

The ghost of a Victorian girl is said to frequent the Tithe barnThe ghost of a Victorian girl is said to frequent the Tithe barn

There are said to be numerous canine spirits, including a large black Labrador, hunting dogs and two King Charles spaniels. Indeed, Emma Dent’s two beloved dogs, Busy and Juno, are buried under a mulberry tree at the castle – could they be among them?

Elizabeth, Lady Ashcombe, has lived at Sudeley Castle for almost 50 years, and has yet to encounter a ghost at the historic attraction. “I have often been asked if Sudeley is haunted,” she said, “and over the years I have heard some strange and curious tales from visitors, guests and employees alike.

“Although I have never actually come face to face with a ghost, I have had unnerving experiences at other places and so I have an open mind on the subject. An encounter with some unexplained apparition or energy can be most alarming and deserves a sympathetic ear.

Victorian ladies enjoying a picnic by the Queens' garden at Sudeley CastleVictorian ladies enjoying a picnic by the Queens' garden at Sudeley Castle

“However, since the major renovations here in the 1980s, I have not been too worried about staying here alone or walking the corridors at night. The plumbers, electricians, carpenters and decorators saw off the creaking floorboards and draughty passages, the noisy Victorian lead pipes, the ill-light corners and musty damp rooms of my early days at Sudeley. Now the only spectres that seem to remain are the murderous screams of the peacocks at the crack of dawn.”

Whether fact or fiction, imagination or reality, people love sharing ghost stories, particularly at this time of year. Indeed, castles are a popular location for unusual sightings and mysterious happenings. It seems there is a ghostly tale at almost every corner of Sudeley – some sad, some happy, some unexplained, but there is certainly more than meets the eye at this beautiful, historic place. Who knows whether some of those who spent their lives at Sudeley Castle still linger on...?

Don’t miss...

If ghost-hunting isn’t for you, there is plenty to keep you occupied on a visit to the castle and its 10 award-winning gardens which are ablaze with autumn colour at this time of year.

Until the end of October families can take part in an autumn trail around the grounds, finding out about some of the creatures that call our countryside home. Younger visitors can also play on the new fun fort at the attraction.

Half term will also see a Halloween-themed children’s fun day at the castle on Wednesday October 24. Children will be able to take part in gruesome archaeological activities to help unravel the secrets of a series of ‘bone boxes’, as well as taking part in devilishly crafty arts and crafts activities. Denzel the animatronic dinosaur will also be meeting visitors on the day. Entry to the Halloween events, fun fort and the wildlife trail are free with admission tickets.

Sudeley Castle has extended its opening season for the first time this year, and will be open daily until December 21, 2018, with a host of events throughout the year. For more information visit sudeleycastle.co.uk or phone 01242 602 308.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Cotswold Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Cotswold Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Cotswold Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & about

Yesterday, 11:05

I send this postcard from Cirencester, complete with the discoveries and viewpoints from four members of my family – both the young and not so young

Read more
Yesterday, 11:05

Of all the castles in the region, none have seen as much war, romance and royalty as Sudeley over its dramatic 1,000-year history. And with such a colourful and eventful past, it is easy to see why some people believe there could be spirits from bygone eras which still wander the halls and corridors to this day

Read more

What started as a business ploy by one Cotswold firm has developed into an inspirational garden

Read more
Thursday, October 11, 2018

It’s that wonderful time of year again when we warm ourselves by roaring bonfires and enjoy dazzling firework displays that light up the skies. Gather your loved ones, wrap up warm and enjoy an evening of Guy Fawkes celebrations in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

If a bit of English eccentricity is your thing, spend an enjoyable afternoon exploring the delightful follies of Faringdon

Read more
Monday, October 8, 2018

From an all-boy, all boarding prep school for just 30 pupils, to the quietly trailblazing yet still traditional school it is today – here is a snapshot of Beaudesert over its 110-year history

Read more
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

After something to entertain the kids during half-term? Or are you counting down the days to enjoy the thrills and spills of Halloween? Here are 20 ways to celebrate the spookiest time of year in the Cotswolds

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

Visitors to the village of Bourton-on-the-Water can now escape the well-trodden tourist trail at Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust’s beautiful Greystones nature reserve and its newly opened visitor centre

Read more
Thursday, September 27, 2018

Stephen Roberts walks in the footsteps of the Oxford scholar who enjoyed attending parties dressed as a polar bear, and once chased a neighbour while dressed as an axe-wielding Anglo-Saxon

Read more
Thursday, September 27, 2018

If you’re looking for things to do in the Cotswolds this month, we have gathered plenty of events for you to pop in your diary

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

No pain, no gain? Walking, cycling and horse riding make getting fit a lot more enjoyable than that

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

On a crisp, autumnal day, there is nothing better than gathering the family for a stroll amongst some of the most colourful woodland and countryside the Cotswolds has to offer. We’ve accumulated a list of our favourite places to catch the majority of this season’s golden hues

Read more
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

‘For me, Wick Court is a special place because it marks the beginning of the Henson family journey in rare breeds conservation’

Read more
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Tracy Spiers takes Emily, daughter number two, who shares her love for anything historical, to this vibrant place and get lost in a heady mix of wild bears, Middle Age punishing devices, timber-framed buildings and live bees

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory A+ Education

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Local Business Directory

Property Search