13 of Suffolk's spookiest spots
PUBLISHED: 14:05 21 October 2014 | UPDATED: 14:05 21 October 2014
Archant Ã‚Â© 2005
As you light up your Hallowe'en lantern ponder on these creepy county legends . . .
Headless horseman rides again
Roos Hall in Beccles is a 16th century manor house full of ghostly encounters and a window that can never be kept shut.
A headless horseman has been seen roaming the grounds on a clattering coach, while the pale face of a small girl has been spotted peering out from the topmost window. An old twisted oak tree stands in the grounds of Roos Hall, which used to be the scene of hangings. It is said to still be haunted by the victims’ souls.
The Legend of Black Shuck, Blythburgh
Black Shuck, the ghostly black dog that is said to roam East Anglia, is famous along the Suffolk Coast. According to folklore, Black Shuck is seven foot tall, has flaming red eyes and shaggy black fur. The beast’s most celebrated attack happened at Holy Trinity Church in Blythburgh, where it ran through the congregation, killing a man and boy and causing the church steeple to fall through the roof. Scorch marks, said to have come from Black Shuck’s claws, are still visible on the church doors.
The Witchfinder General, Mistley
Self-appointed witchfinder Matthew Hopkins was said to have been responsible for the deaths of 300 women between 1644 and 1646. Today he still appears as a ghostly apparition in the Mistley area, particularly on Friday nights and has been spooted in his distinctive 17th dress at Mistley pond, the Mistley Thorn Hotel and Hopping Bridge, where the screams of a tortured witch are also said to have been heard.
The Abbey Ruins, Bury St Edmunds
Today the formerly magnificent abbey is nothing more than a collection of eerie walls. According to local legend, ghostly monks have been seen walking around the ruins of The Abbey and in the shops along Abbeygate Street. They either glide or stand silently by the old gatehouse – acknowledged to be one of the most spiritually charged locations in England.
In a Nutshell
The Nutshell in Bury St Edmunds is said to be the tiniest pub in Britain. However, this ancient building still has room for a number of phantoms. A young boy, who was murdered in the building, has been seen darting up and down the stairs near closing time, while the cellar houses the ghosts of a monk and a nun, who were believed to have had an affair.
Murder in the moat at Rushbrooke Hall
During the 16th century, an unknown lady was murdered and thrown through a window into the moat below. In more recent times a group of visitors were looking down from a window into the moat when they felt an icy draught pass over their heads. From the moat below came a dull ‘plop’ as something apparently hit and disturbed the surface of the water.
Dunwich – the town that vanished
What was once the sixth largest town in England, is now a tiny seaside village along the shoreline with stories to truly give you the chills.
During the 16th and 17th centuries, Dunwich was fiercely battered by violent storms, leaving many of the town’s striking buildings and churches crumbling into the water. Several of its most famous landmarks are believed to be haunted by its long gone town folk, and ghostly church bells can be heard on the sea breeze. Swirling shapes of long dead citizens are also seen drifting along the cliff tops.
The Ghosts of Framlingham Castle
Records of this castle go back to 1148, so it is no surprise the building is rumoured to be haunted.
Ghostly apparitions of faces, phantom footsteps and eerie screams have been reported by terrified members of staff and visitors in the old rooms of the castle.
There have also been reports of people hearing the spooky sounds of phantom children playing in the castle’s empty courtyard!
Abbas Hall in Great Cornard
Previous occupiers of the hall have reported hearing footsteps and heavy dragging noises in the bedrooms upstairs, and finding no explanation. Another visitor to the hall reported seeing the face of an old woman looking in through the window; on investigation no-one was found.
Others have been spooked by the kitchen door latch opening and heavy footsteps traipsing their way across the floor.
The Swan Hotel, Lavenham
A thriving coaching inn during the 19th century, The Swan is said to be haunted by the spirit of a former housekeeper, who committed suicide within its walls.
The story goes that she fell pregnant out of wedlock, and her partner had second thoughts about marrying her. After being left standing at the altar, she took her own life and that of her unborn child by hanging herself in room 15, which was once the housekeeping quarters.
Phantoms at the mansion
The large Tudor manor house in Christchurch Park dates back to the 16th century. It is said that pictures on the walls have been seen turning by themselves, whilst a Victorian woman has been spotted passing through a closed glass door. A much older report stated that the mansion was haunted by a maid with two children, who laughed and danced around the building.
Going off the rails . . .
Staff working in the early hours of the morning claim to have seen a woman in areas near the public toilets at Ipswich Station, while a feeling of unease is always said to be present in the upstairs corridors. The same female figure may have been seen in a mirror by cleaning staff. The sounds of children laughing have also been reported.
Ghostly monk in Ipswich
Today’s Buttermarket Shopping Centre in Ipswich was formerly CW Cowells and long ago, the site of a monastery. While the Cowell’s building stood, a number of people reported observing an old monk. On separate occasions, two women were supposed to have fainted after seeing the figure, and one man had fled during a night shift. Phantom footsteps were also heard in the factory. It is said that when under attack, the occupants of the monastery hid their treasure down a well on the site - it was never recovered.