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Chester: England's Most Haunted City

Why Chester is the Most Haunted City in England

Most Haunted City?

York, Edinburgh, and even donkey Derby all lay claim to be England's - or even Europe's - most haunted city.

Yet their claims are tenuous, at best. For each of them conveniently forgets Chester, in North-West England.

Chester can rightly and justly claim to be the most haunted city in England. Our paranormal credentials are impeccable. You could even say it's Chester that puts the super in supernatural!

Most haunted cityChester is an ancient walled city steeped in history. Some 2,000 years ago, Chester was founded as one the three main Roman legionary fortresses in the province of Britannia (along with York and Caerleon, in south Wales).

When the Romans left, Chester became home to successive waves of Celts, Vikings, Saxons and Normans. Edward I's medieval armies mustered at Chester for the war against the Welsh; English troops bound for Ireland sailed from Chester; Royalist cavaliers defended the walled city for eighteen months against their cruel Parliamentarian besiegers; Chester was a powerhouse of Victorian prosperity. In short, Chester's history is Britain's history in microcosm.

All of which means Chester has seen every high and low of human existence: joy and jubilation, famine, floods, plague and war. Even today, Chester remains a vibrant and genuinely atmospheric city.

2,000 Years of History

Haunted placeIt's hardly surprising, then, that packed within Chester's defensive walls, its narrow streets and alleyways, its crypts and cellars, are a host of well-documented ghosts, hauntings, apparitions, spooks and poltergeists from almost every century across two millennia.

So there are significant and genuine grounds for claiming that compact and ancient Chester is actually the most haunted city in England.

But don't take our word for it; listen to an expert.

Dave Sadler, of www.parascience.org.uk says:
'My belief is that Chester, for its size, has the most haunted activity in the country. Some say it's York or Derby, but I disagree. The amount of ghosts per street in Chester is phenomenal.'

A Catalogue of Ghosts

To substantiate our claim, we've begun the long process of cataloguing Chester's ghosts, poltergeists and hauntings: street by street and house by house.

Haunted innSo far, of course, the list is far from exhaustive. But, as new first hand accounts come in, the list grows longer every day. It seems Chester's venerable ghosts demand recognition.

And so the day when Chester is widely, and officially, recognised as England's most haunted city draws near. Watch this space.

102 Watergate Street, Chester Haunting. Unexplained bumps, rattlings and cold draughts make this the house where no-one will live.
13 Watergate Street, Chester Poltergeist. Regular poltergeist activity: brushes, cards, kettles and glass vases all move - sometimes witnessed by customers.
14 Dee Hills Park, Chester Haunting. Ghostly monk wakes sleepers in large Victorian gothic mansion overlooking the River Dee
40 Bridge Street, Chester Ghost. Active ghost nicknamed 'George' in cellar area, reported by staff in travel agency; formerly a wine merchant's shop.
Abbey Green, off Northgate Street, Chester Poltergeist. Regular poltergeist activity at Georgian house on Abbey Green: keys, wine bottles and solid iron stove all moved; doors inexplicably locked.
Anchorite's Cell, the Groves, Chester Poltergeist. Heavy oak doors smashed from their hinges in front of terrified owners.
Barlows/Ye Olde Vaults, Bridge Street, Chester Haunting. Old landlord groans and moans at the poor state of his pub. Now an upmarket shop.
Bear and Billet, Lower Bridge Street, Chester Ghost. Kindly old lady often greets men on the stairs with a smile.
Bingo Hall, Brook Street, Chester Ghost. 'Old George' widely held to haunt the premises. Unexplained thumps and crashes in the attic; figure in tweed jacket regularly seen on balcony but vanishes when challenged.
Bookland, Bridge Street, Chester Haunting. Apparition of Victorian apprentice boy who fell on stone stairs at rear of medieval crypt is also experienced upstairs in staff tearoom.
Boot Inn, Eastgate Row North, Chester Haunting. Once Chester's most notorious brothel, present pub still occasionally rings with female moans and laughter.
Boughton (unknown street) Haunting/Ghost. Figure of old woman emerges from cupoard, kisses two sleeping boys, and vanishes.
Boughton Heath (several streets), Chester Haunting. Running man crosses roads in front of speeding cars only to vanish on far side.
Bridge of Sighs, Northgate Street, Chester Haunting. Condemned criminals once led across 'Bridge of Sighs' from Northgate gaol to last rites in Bluecoat chapel; their sighs are sometimes heard today.
Brown Heath, Christleton, near Chester Haunting. Two ghostly figures in Civil War dress with buff greatcoats and broad-brimmed hats occasionally seen at the Brown Heath crossroads.
Castle Street, Chester Poltergeist. Electrician working in Georgian house spooked by objects being moved, and by owner's apparently calm acceptance of supernatural events.
Cestrian pub, City Road, Chester Haunting. Loud thumping heard on upstairs floor whenever a previous landlord was angry; emphatically not his wife!
Chester Cathedral Devil's mark. Record of 1906 tells of flagstone in cloisters bearing 'devil's footprint; when replaced, mark reappears next morning.
Chester Royal Infirmary site, central Chester Ghost. 'Soldier McKenzie' - a well known ghost of WWI Scottish fusilier who died of his wounds and was buried in a hospital shroud instead of his kilt; now eternally searching for his missing uniform .
Coach and Horses, Northgate Street, Chester Ghost. Modern ghost of a sad old man orders pint, books room, then vanishes; his reasons later become alarmingly clear.
Curzon Park, Chester Haunting. Sobbing woman in Elizabethan dress seen beneath a large tree with a hanged man swinging from its branches.
Dee House, Dee Banks, Chester Ghost. Apparition of old woman sometimes seen prowling top floor of this old telephone exchange and onetime convent.
Deva Psychiatric Hospital (now disused) Hauntings. Staff tell of dark forms seen on the wards and strange footsteps.
Deva pub, Watergate Rows North, Chester Haunting. Horrific scene of a Victorian boy who fell into fire occasionally replayed in this pub.
Dewa Roman Experience, Pierpoint Lane, off Bridge Street, Chester Ghost. Spectral strangler in excavated cellar; woman visitor feels invisible hands tighten around her neck.
Eastgate Clock, central Chester Premonition/vision. Three old crones seen beneath the Eastgate seemingly foretell a national disaster.
Falcon Inn, Lower Bridge Street, Chester Poltergeist. Spirit of badly treated and angry maid throws glasses and beermats around historic pub.
George and Dragon, Liverpool Road, Chester Haunting. Ancient footfalls of Roman legionary regularly heard in pub on course of Roman road leading from the Northgate, or Porta Decumana.
Greyfriars, old buttressed house alongside City Walls, Chester Haunting. Spectral apparition seen in doorway by Chester Chronicle photographer.
Grosvenor Park, central Chester Haunting. Park gates often inexplicably locked and unlocked by unseen hand.
Habitat, Pepper Street, Chester Haunting. Two cowled and black robed monks haunt area between this large store and the nearby River Dee.
Haunted Alley, near St Johns Church, Chester Ghost. Monk in dark habit occasionally accosts witnesses in 'Haunted Alley' beside St John's Church, speaking a guttural Saxon-like language.
King's Buildings, Chester Ghost. Sick woman experienced a phantom physician in old-fashioned hat and neck ruff sitting at her bedside. When he reached out and touched her forehead, she recovered shortly afterwards.
Leche House, Watergate Street, Chester Haunting. Face of an old-fashioned sailor sometimes seen at 1st floor window.
Marlbororough Arms, St John's Street, Chester Haunting. Phantom gurgles sometimes heard from beer cellar where depressed Victorian landlord slit his own throat.
Morgan's Mount, City Walls, Chester Haunting. Apparitions of Cavalier soldiers appear at this medieval tower named after a Royalist gun captain during the Civil War siege of Chester.
Nicholas Street, Chester Haunting. Ghostly coachman in carriage coat, tricorn hat, riding boots and breeches occasionally seen descending steps to Georgian terrace's old carriage house.
Northgate arch, Chester Haunting. Spectral sound of hanged men buffeted against the city walls by strong winds still heard on site of the old city gaol at the Northgate.
Old Bishop's Palace, Chester

1. Poltergeist. Spirit of cruelly treated Victorian bootboy moves shoes and boots around large Georgian house.

2. Haunting. Loud whipcracks still occasionally heard in old stableyard.

Old City Hospital, Hoole, Chester Haunting. Apparition of 'man in a brown suit' visiting his sick mother seen by several nurses in 1976; woman later tells nurses her son was killed in Second World War.
Old Dee Bridge, Chester Ghost. In 1986, ghost of dead neighbour spoke to a Handbridge woman on bridge, then vanished.
Old Fire Station (now a restaurant), Northgate Street , Chester Haunting. Bewhiskered fireman in old fashioned uniform regularly seen in old engine room.
Old Griffith's flour mill, canal towpath, near Cow Lane Bridge, Chester Smoke ghost. Grey misty figure rises from canal and advances along towpath towards witness; drowned body recovered from same spot in 1919.
Old house, Foregate Street, Chester Haunting. Repeated slow footsteps and laboured breathing of a very old person climbing stairs.
Old Leadworks (now demolished), Hoole, Chester

1. Haunting. Apparition of old lady carrying large bag vanishes in front of security guards.

2. Haunting. Figure of man in blue overalls seen during demolition; possibly spirit of drunk workman killed on nearby railway line.

Old Militia Buildings, Chester - (originally on site of Chester Police HQ; now demolished) Hauntings. Ghostly apparitions often seen at windows and in doorway to old schoolyard. in the 1950s.
Old Rectory, St Mary's Hill, Chester Haunting. Several former employees attest to inexplicable chills, draughts and slamming doors in small room at top of house.
Old Swinnerton's cafe, (now a shop) the Cross, Chester Haunting. The top room, scene of a grisly suicide, has been abandoned for decades.
Pemberton's Parlour, City Walls, Chester Haunting. Cavaliers and their ladies said to promenade along the city walls near this ancient medieval tower.
Pepper Gate, beside the Newgate, Chester Haunting. Ghostly horse's hooves in the night connected with elopement of Tudor couple.
Pied Bull, Northgate Street, Chester Haunting. Pub landlord swears his old pub is haunted.
Queen's School, City Walls Road, Chester Poltergeist/ghost? Doors open and close by themselves in school Music Room.
Red Lion, Northgate Street, Chester Haunting. Former landlady claims cellar is 'definitely haunted'.
Roman Watchtower, Newgate, Chester Haunting. Ancient figure of Roman legionary in Decurion's officer's armour still clear after 1,900 years.
Rowton Lane, just south of Chester city Haunting and poltergeists. New house in Rowton Lane haunted by apparitions probably associated with Civil War Battle of Rowton Moor. Voices; objects moved and disappeared. Woman saw 'ghost' in house in 1960s, according to local journalist.
Saltney Junction Station, outskirts of Chester Haunting. Old man on squeaky bicycle manifests early on winter mornings; said to have hanged himself in station shed.
St Anne's Street, Chester Haunting. Phantom footsteps on the stairs, and burning books experienced in terraced house over a century ago.
St John's Church, Chester Haunting. Schoolboys experienced dark image of monk on spiral staircase leading to belltower.
St John's Churchyard, Chester Haunting. Spectral nun, with a 'beautiful face' and dressed in a 'bluish habit' seen by various witnesses in old churchyard.
St Mary's Hill, Chester Haunting. A herd of spectral cattle sometimes heard lowing in early morning at foot of this steep cobbled street.
St Werburgh's Street, Chester Haunting. Spectral Cavalier and Roundhead Civil War horsemen have been seen battling in this street close to strategic Eastgate.
Stanley Palace, Lower Watergate Street, Chester

1. Haunting. Curious 'photographic negative' apparition of beheaded 7th Earl of Stanley haunts ground floor rooms.

2. Haunting. Grey lady in 17th-century dress haunts Gallery and Queen Anne Room.

Thornton's, Eastgate Street , Chester

1. Poltergeist. 'Sarah', jilted on her wedding day, is best known spirit in 'Chester's most haunted house'. Moves objects, shoves people on the stairs.

2. Haunting. Large jovial man in apron.

3. Haunting. Insubstantial, almost invisible male spirit.

Town Hall, Townhall Square, Chester Haunting. Unseen spirit haunts tiny storeroom beneath grand external stairs.
Tudor House, Lower bridge Street, Chester

1. Haunting. Headless apparition on upper storey said to belong to Cavalier gentleman who lost his head to stray cannonball during Civil war siege.

2. Haunting. Grey lady seen pacing landing.

3. Haunting. Recurring heavy footsteps and rattling locks on top floor.

Unnamed café, Bridge Street, Chester Poltergeist. Spirit of an unhappy 12 year-old Victorian orphan girl who hung herself still haunts area of old bakehouse; unlocked doors are mischievously locked, etc.
Unnamed shop, Frodsham Street, Chester Haunting. 'Little old lady' regularly encountered on shop stairs or first floor landing.
Watergate Row, Chester Ghost. Faceless cowled monk seen separately and on several occasions by mother and daughter in old house in Watergate Street.
Watergate Street, Chester Haunting. Young girl dressed in 17th century clothes; unspecified location.
Watergate Street, Chester Haunting. Ghostly monk; area is close to 13th century friaries.
Watergate Street, Chester Haunting. Ghostly sailor searches cobbled street but vanishes in front of helpful passersby.
Watergates Crypt, Watergate Street, Chester Haunting. Another spectral seaman crosses this wine bar's magnificent medieval stone undercroft with sailor's rolling gait.
WH Samuels, Foregate Street, Chester Ghost. Originally Bear's Paw Inn; staff at this jeweller's claim building is haunted by a ghost called 'George'.
Ye Olde King's Head, Lower Bridge Street, Chester

1. Haunting. Phantom child roams pub, especially bedroom No. 4.

2. Haunting/poltergeist. Messages appear on mirror in bedroom No. 4; items disappear in bedroom No. 6.

3. Ghost. Woman experienced 'shadowy watcher' at foot of her bed in bedroom No. 6.

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