As Halloween approaches Paul Harding, of Discover History, looks at some of Worcester's haunted legends


THE summer sun is now a distant memory, the cool canopy of leaves that shaded the socially distanced picnics begin to fall and we look forward to mugs of steaming hot chocolate and dark walks home from work and schools!

However Worcester is a city for all seasons and this month many people are already looking forward to Halloween; a chance to watch a scary movie on TV. A chance to make a pumpkin doorstep decoration or turn the pages of a good ghost story whilst hiding beneath a big warm blanket.

The city of Worcester began in the Bronze Age and has seen every chapter in the history of Britain and in some cases, chapters from world history.

Before the Bronze Age Farmers began to plough the flood plains, groups of hunters searched for reindeer and woolly mammoth herds in a very different landscape to what we have today.

Worcester News:

Worcester has literally thousands of years of history and many people believe our ancestors still walk amongst us in the 21st century – from wandering monks and suspected witches to vicious dancing bears and lost children!

Worcester is said to have numerous spectres and spooks and the tales that are told are recorded in numerous books. Some of the stories are also laid down in local folklore.

Read more: Enjoy Halloween half-term fun in Worcester

A great many ghosts that are seen in the shadows of Friar Street and New Street are described as looking like soldiers from the time of the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

Charles, who was later known as the Merry Monarch, saw his army annihilated on September 3.

Thousands of Scottish soldiers were killed in the streets that we walk around without thinking about it. One brave Royalist is often seen on a dark night near Nash’s Passage. This barefooted man is reputed to be that of Lord Melville who tried to protect his King as he escaped the fighting.

Poor Lord Melville lost everything in that battle, including his boots. He will make himself known to the person who has what he requires!

In the shadow of our beautiful cathedral, the very ancient heart of Worcester, people have been known to feel the sensation of past events, such as when an angry mob reacted to a raider who passed up the river from a far-off land and got left behind!

The tale is often linked to the real events of the early medieval period when Viking raiders attacked the small settlement and did a great deal of damage.

Worcester News:

Every December before Covid-19 a large number of people gather in the Cornmarket to ride or watch the spectacular illuminated carousel during the Victorian Christmas Fayre.

However if you stand and listen carefully on a crisp October evening you may hear the bloodcurdling screams of a poor man who was murdered whilst undergoing 16th-century justice in the stocks.

The city stocks, pillory and whipping post once stood where the carousel is annually set up.

The biggest problem with this form of punishment is that your enemies can do as they wish when no one is around and you cannot run away or get help!

Many people will say ghostly activity becomes stronger close to Halloween and if this is true or not we will never really know.

Today we often think Halloween is an American celebration however the celebration has strong origins in our Pagan past.

It’s a day which can be traced back to the Festival of Samhain where it was said the boundary between the living and the dead was blurred. A time that coincided with the crossing of autumn and winter too.

Coronavirus will make this Halloween a little bit different, but there are still lots of things that we can do to enjoy the season.

This includes playing traditional games in the home such as apple bobbing, carving a pumpkin (or more traditionally, a turnip) or having a fancy dress party in your household, writing or reading a ghost story. And why not book a place on a Discover History Ghost Walk around Worcester?

• Discover History runs 36 Walking Tours of Worcester and are available all year round.  When they reach this time of the year, the Spooky Story walking tour is usually booked up by people who want to know what apparitions are said to still walk the ancient streets.

The walking tours are currently limited to five people and any members from different households must stay socially distant from each other.

You can also scan Discover History's QR Code to allow for Test and Trace. The tours are all outside and an up-to-date risk assessment is available upon request at the time of booking.

Tours can be booked at a time to suit and cost £7.50 per person.

For more details, go to