York is one of the oldest cities in England, and one of the most haunted in the world. The city boasts a number of haunted pubs, with the oldest inn, being built very early in the 16th century. With the age and history surrounding this ancient city, its pubs have seen a lot over the many hundreds of years, making them prime locations for a good haunting.
Sit back, and enjoy our collection of some of the most haunted pubs in York.
1. The Golden Fleece, Pavement
Perhaps the most haunted pub in York, this early 16th-century inn is certainly one of the oldest, having first been documented in 1503.
It is believed that no fewer than 15 spirits haunt the Golden Fleece. The most notable of these reports is the spirit of Lady Anne Peckett, the wife of the one time mayor of York, John Peckett. Many guests and staff have reported the sighting of a woman wandering the corridors of the inn, moving things around, and walking up and down the staircase in the dead of night.
Other ghosts include a man dressed in a red coat uniform and holding a pistol. He’s known by people as One-Eyed Jack, whether this is because he has been seen to wear a patch or is missing an eye is not known. He is also joined by a grumpy old man, both of whom are often sighted in the bottom bar area. A young boy is also seen in the top bar. It’s believed he is the ghost of a boy who was trampled to death by horses outside the inn sometime during the Victorian period.
Ye Olde Starre Inne dates back to 1644, however, historians believe the cellar is much older than this. It is from this cellar that most of the activity occurs, with screams and groans often heard. It was here were Royalist soldiers were treated during the inns’ time as a temporary hospital during the Civil War.
Another frequent experience is the sighting of an old lady wearing black clothes. There isn’t much known about the identity of the woman, or how she died, but she is often seen on the staircase.
Perhaps one of the strangest hauntings in this list is the ghosts of two black cats that reportedly haunt this pub. Local legend says the cats were bricked up between the pillar between the door and the bar. On several occasions, customers have brought their dogs in with them, and whilst having their drinks the dogs have growled, snarled, and in some instances have bolted towards the pillar, with one dog knocking itself out doing so!
The tradition of burying cats in the walls is a tradition that goes back a long way throughout Yorkshire. It is believed this ritual protects the building against both fire and bad luck.
3. The Snickleway Inn
The Snickleway is one of the oldest pubs in the city, with parts of the building dating back to the 15th century. The building is believed to have not always been an inn, with evidence suggesting it was used as a brothel, as well as being the Royalist powder magazine during the Civil War.
In addition to being one of the oldest pubs in the city, it’s also one of the most haunted. No less than 5 spirits are rumoured to haunt this building. They include Mrs Tulliver and her cat, Seamus. Several customers have reported the feeling of Seamus rubbing up against their legs as they’re enjoying their beverages.
The ghost of a young girl has been witnessed sitting on the stairs. Many people believe it is the daughter of a previous landlord, who ran out into the road and was killed by a brewer’s dray. The apparition of an old man has been seen in the cellar sitting on the barrels. He is believed to also be the culprit behind tools being thrown at members of staff when they go down there.
4. The Black Swan, Peasholme Green
This solid oak 17th-century inn was originally built in 1417 and was used as a family residence. However, the pub as you see it today wasn’t built until sometime during the 17th century.
The Black Swan is certainly one of the oldest buildings in our list, and it also has some interesting reports of paranormal goings-on. One of which is the sighting of a Chaplinesque looking figure that wears a bowler hat, pacing around the rooms of the pub as if he’s waiting for someone to arrive. After a while, he normally disappears!
The ghost of a beautiful young woman with long black hair and wearing a white dress is also seen. She is often seen looking towards the fireplace as if in deep thought.
Perhaps the strangest of all the haunting at the Black Swan is the male legs that have often been seen walking around the landlord’s living quarters.
5. The Old White Swan, Goodramgate
Part of a collection of buildings dating back to the 16th century, the Old White Swan is also one of the oldest in the city, and with that comes the history and the stories of hauntings. It is believed that the pub is haunted by a group of papists who have been seen gathering around the fire in the early hours of the morning. The fire itself is often re-ignited by itself after staff have extinguished it shortly before.
Another piece of strange phenomena that occurs at this pub is the reports of furniture being moved and in some cases thrown and toppled over by unseen hands. Muffled voices are also often heard, and the sound of footsteps are a regular occurrence.
6. The Guy Fawkes Inn, Petergate
The Guy Fawkes Inn is located in the most historic area of York, just a stone’s throw from York Minster. It’s famous for being the birthplace of Guy Fawkes, hence the name, and it’s apparently haunted by a number of spirits.
The cottage where Fawkes reportedly took his first breath still stands in the beer garden of this historic location.
If you’re only staying for the ghosts, then the main building is supposedly the most haunted. In the Belfry Suite, you may witness the two ghost children who apparently died of cholera sometime in the 1700s.
The cottage (itself built in the 1500s) is available to book to stay the night, in addition to the inn’s 13 rooms.