GHOST hunters around here are seriously spoilt for choice, because Worcestershire is home to any number of paranormal personalities.

For example there is the ghost of a little girl who is supposed to wander through St Helen’s church on Worcester High Street, one called Old Coles who is reputed to drive a coach and four horses with fiery nostrils through the village of Leigh, near Bransford, while a third is a long deceased nun from Stanbrook Abbey, who has been seen walking along the road from Callow End to Powick on moonlit nights. The locations are many and varied.

But one of the most unlikely is the slice of real estate formerly known as Worcester Cathedral roundabout, now after a facelift more grandly called Cathedral Square.

Because the whole area used to be a graveyard and there are some seriously naughty people buried there whose souls wouldn’t think twice about a bit of mischievous haunting.

It all goes back to the 800s, when in 826AD the church of St Michael in Bedwardine was built very close to the north east side of a much smaller Worcester Cathedral.

Around the church were a number of houses which blocked up the northern façade of the cathedral, but were later removed in a demolition exercise that had echoes of something else that went on there in the 1960s.

St Michael’s was so close to the cathedral that the cathedral’s bell tower with its lofty spire stood at its western end.

St Michael’s was considered the parish church for the whole of the cathedral precincts and any marriages performed at the cathedral were entered in St Michaels’ register, the incumbent receiving the fees. Which must have been a handy income.

Its burial ground, lying the north of the church, covered the area now occupied by the south end of High Street and the entrances to Deansway and College Street.

It was considerable and had wide use. As well as locals, interred there were all the prisoners and debtors who died in the old county jail, which was part of the nearby old castle, along with most of the nearly 3,000 Scottish soldiers killed fighting for Charles II at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

The entrance to this extensive cemetery was through the Lychgate that stood a little down Lich Street and dated to the early 16th century.

When it was knocked down during the notorious “Sack of Worcester” redevelopment of that part of the city in the early 1960s, it was the only remaining lychgate of a cathedral in the country. Hence the furore.

However, that wasn’t the first time this area of Worcester had been flattened.

In 1792, the City Fathers decided a new road was needed there and the only route was straight through the graveyard.

So College Street was created to link the bottom end of High Street with Sidbury and in the process all the houses that had grown up around St Michael’s church went too. The fine terraced houses in College Yard being built at the same time.

The original church of St Michael’s was demolished in 1839 and a new one erected with an entrance and frontage to College Street and adjoining the old Lychgate. However, it was little used as the area had changed in character and closed as a church in 1907 before becoming the Diocesan Records Office.

Meanwhile most of the graves of debtors and warriors remained. So if you’re passing that way on a moonlit night and hear a blood curdling cry it could be the ghost of  ne’erdowell or maybe a Bonnie Blue Bonnet looking for a Roundhead to sort out. Alternatively, just a case of too many jars in a neighbourhood alehouse.