Ghosts of Norwich

There are many places in Norwich that have ghosts but a lot of these places will not allow experienced paranormal groups to investigate in these locations, I am guessing it might be because the experienced groups might actually dismiss some of the so called hauntings, anyway back to the ghosts.

Magdalen Street, number 19, has a female spirit called Sarah a Victorian murder victim from the late nineteenth century.  During the 1980’s, staff in the shop heard footsteps in the empty part of shop, drafts and cold spots were felt and a shadowy figure seen on the staircase along with poltergeist activity.  The shop use to be the Key Merchants Arms, used for drinking downstairs and adult pastimes upstairs.  Sarah was drinking and a man got the wrong idea, he tried to take her upstairs, but he killed her when she struggled.  The man was later executed at Norwich Jail.  Sarah still thinks she is alive, according to information which came through during a séance and some people think this explains the activity.

Bishopgate area, a spirit man named William Sewart has been seen “He usually either has a bucket with him or is carrying a decapitated head”. William and his wife Martha were not happily married (1842).  Martha went away and he didn’t know when she would return.  Not long after for five nights, body parts were found in the city.  The body parts made up a whole body, up to the neck.  William then announced he was going to join Martha. Seventeen years later (1859), William turned himself in to an east end police station.  He confessed when he came back to Norwich, they had an argument, Martha fell and hit her head, and he had to lie as everyone knew he beat Martha.  He cut Martha into pieces, boiled her on the stove and cut the pieces smaller and proceeded to put parts around Norwich.  Martha’s head is still missing and he never confessed to where he put her head.

Lollards pits are where the Lollards pub is on Riverside (formerly known as The Bridge House).  This was a chalk pit, which built the foundations of the cathedral. It later became a pit where people were buried during the 15th and 16th century.  Many people were burnt to death because of their religious beliefs, which differed from the norm.  The prisoners were made to walk the streets, over Bishopgate Bridge to their death, while people lined the streets to watch them.  The number of people burnt to death is unclear but during Queen bloody Mary’s reign there was thought to be about 50. It is said the screams of the people are still heard and witches can be seen crossing the bridge. The Bridge House pub, Riverside Road, was built over holding cells (16th century).

Norwich Railway station, this is a little different to other hauntings, this entity forms into a rat like creature with bad breath and large teeth.

The Adam and Eve is thought to be the oldest pub in Norwich.  The earliest date is 1249; the monks from the Great Hospital owned it and used it as a Brew house.  It is well known for its hauntings since 1549.  Staff have reported the sensation of someone running their fingers through their hair, tapping people on their shoulders, hot and cold spots, the bell in the pub would ring by itself, footsteps have been heard and Tankards on hooks would dance in the downstairs bar.  During 2006 a man while sitting in the car park, saw a ghostly hand holding a head.  I was in the Adam and Eve during September 2012 and I had my haired pulled, this was by the toilets, i could find no logically explanation to why my hair was pulled.  The ghost is thought to be Lord Sheffield to Norwich.  During Robert Kett’s rebellion, Lord Sheffield was sent to deal with the rebellion.  He had 500 troops but he faced 15,000 of Ketts men at Bishopgate and he lost his nerve and surrendered by stepping of his horse and taking off his helmet.  Ketts men were not aware of this ritual and he was whacked with a cleaver by Foulkes, a butcher from Cromer.  Lord Sheffield was taken to the Adam and Eve and later died.

An anonymous personal account at the Adam and Eve:  I worked in the Kitchens there for 4 years from the age of 14 to 18, many strange things happened there, in the cellars or the lower bar, ash trays falling from the bar when the pub was closed on a Sunday afternoon and no one was there. The customer toilets also had a strange feeling to them, things would turn themselves on and off, things moved of their own accord in the cellar, we all knew of ‘ Sam’ we were never scared as he was part of the staff.

Tombland, Father Tunstall’s ghost has been seen after he was hung drawn and quartered in the 17th century for his religious beliefs.

Augustine Steward House, Tombland Alley.  During the plague the entire occupants of this household fell victim to this disease, it killed the occupants and the house was boarded up with a red cross put onto the door.  Four weeks after the house was boarded up the grave diggers went to collect the bodies they found one of the daughters tried to survive by attempting to eat her family, leaving bite marks.  She sadly choked to death.  Her ghost is seen in the house at Tombland Alley, St George’s church and Edith Cavell pub.

Cathedral Close, while builder were in, breaking up an old stone staircase to create more space in the basement.  Things started to move and items moved upstairs, tools start sliding across the floor.  Several floors up, It was reported that a door on a cupboard opened and shut, paperclips raising in the air, a clock on the wall moved on its own.  The activity decreased when church officials were asked to investigate.

A personal account from a former cleaner of this building, it was occupied a few years back by a firm of accountants.  They started getting serious poltergeist activity with staplers being thrown, chairs moving on their own and small objects being hidden.  They asked for church officials to come and help as the activity was worse in the basement and none of the staff would go down there.  The priest went down and after a couple of minutes ran back up with a look of terror on his face and would never discuss what happened whilst he was down there.  This building is now empty of occupants – which given the high rental value of the offices is one to contemplate.

An anonymous personal account for Cathedral Close.  My father told of a ghost in the cathedral close, he was walking home one early evening from town towards Pulls Ferry.  In front was an elderly woman walking, nothing unusual there, but she just faded before his eyes and disappeared. When I used to cycle home late at night through the close, as a teenager finishing work in the city, I used to witness shapes standing in the doorways of some of the houses near the cloister. They never worried me; they were part of the close, like people waiting on their door steps.

Elm Hill, Father Ignatius founded a monastery in the 1800’s. If anyone opposed him, he cursed them with eternal damnation.  The locals forced him out of the city.  He is seen walking along the hill, cursing passer-byers with bible in hand.

The Strangers Club, Elm Hill, mayor Augustine Steward rebuilt the house during 1400’s. It was once the home to the Paston family during the 15th century. During 1507 a family were trapped upstairs by fire.  The husband perished but did manage to lower his children and wife from the window.  Footsteps are heard upstairs.

Personal accounts on Elm Hill, footsteps have been heard on the street, on more than one occasion,sounding like something is being thrown. Faces have been seen in the old monastery. Strange noises heard and feelings of being watched.

The Maids Head Hotel has a former maid that dresses in grey, she walks around with a lavender smell that follows her.  A former mayor has been seen shaking his head while walking around the courtyard.

The oldest Ghost of Norwich Castle, is said to be King Gurgunt, it is thought during roman times he built a castle here, when he died the mound that the castle is now on was built for him and it is thought that he still sits on the mound, with a sword in hand and next to a table piled with silver and gold.

Robert Kett’s ghost is reported to have been seen hanging from the top of the castle, rotting in a swinging cage.

Norwich Castle, the most popular and most sighted ghost of the castle is of a woman, wearing a black dress.  The First recorded sighting was in 1820 by several prisoners who were scared half to death.  She is thought to be wearing Victoria clothing and wanders around the art exhibition area of the museum, she turns the corner and vanishes (this area was once part of the Gaol).  The same woman has been seen in the grounds of the castle, floating around.

The Black Lady is thought to be Martha Alden, she lived at Attleborough with her husband and on the 18th July 1807, she murdered her husband by cutting off his head with a billbrook.  She then proceeded to take her husband’s body to a dry ditch in the garden with help from Mary Orvice.  Two days later, they both moved his body to a pond on a nearby common and the body was soon recovered.  Martha’s defence for killing her husband was that she was a battered wife and he had threatened to kill her and he was drinking away their inheritance.  Martha’s hanging took place on the 31st July 1807 to a rowdy Attlebrough crowd, on a hurdle and this represented a mark of shame.  Once she had died her body was handed over for dissection.  The rowdy Attleborough crowd burnt the cottage down that she once lived in, but a few days later a ghostly figure was seen on the castle hill and it was identified as Martha.

Npeg did a charity public investigation at the Castle mall (which is built on part of the old castle grounds), we had access to the castle bridge and decided to do psycometry, the information picked up was black flies, a jeering crowd, images of hands being seen, one was skeletal but in a green lights, someone’s head became fuzzy and heavy, they felt like they had wobbly legs. Could these experiences be the energy picked up of the hangings that took place on the bridge? I will leave you to make your own minds up on this.  Sadly we did not see Robert Kett hanging from the Castle or the Lady floating around the grounds and I was told it was a white lady! (click here for history on castle).

It is surprising that there are not more Ghost sighting at Norwich Castle considering the Castle was used as a Gaol for 900 years; I have heard the dungeons are haunted but have found no evidence as yet to suggest this.

Coachmakers Arms pub earliest date is 1802.  Bottles and glasses fall from the shelves, a woman in black has been seen walking down the stairs and a figure that looks like a highwayman stands at the end of the bar.

Cupit (Curat) House, City Centre.  A former Rabbi, Mr Issac’s ghost has been seen since a building extension. It is thought that he may have killed his wife.

The Maddermarket, the original building had the old Roman Catholic chapel confession boxes.  A director during a rehearsal saw a figure of a monk walk from a confession box across the stage, the box was checked and no-one was in it.  The ghost has been felt and seen several times since.  The monk also has been seen in the alleyway beside the theatre, the building and the courtyard, he has been accused of opening and closing door, hiding wigs and moving costumes.  The monk has saved a young actress from falling lights and when an actor forgot his lines, the monk hugged him.

The Wild Man pub on Bedford Street, there are claims that it was an asylum, it is supposed to be haunted by a wild German boy, he has been seen running across the bar area and then he disappeared.  Barrels are heard moving across the floor of the cellar. It is thought he died in the cellar fire.  But upon further research I have found that George I (1660-1727) found ‘Peter the wild boy’ while hunting in Hameling, he brought Peter back to England with him.  Peter escaped when he was in Thomas Fenns care, in Berkhamstead.  Peter was found at Rackheath, Norwich.  He was put into Bridewell prison and later moved into the Guildhall after a fire at the Bridewell.  Peter was recognized and returned to Thomas Fenns and lived until he was 73, so the folklore story of the pub is not true!

White Woman Lane, Old Catton, Norwich, a family were travelling down this lane, via pony and trap and the pony came to a halt, a drifting mist was seen, from the left, across the field and crossed the track and disappeared, the pony continued.  The ghost is supposed to be of a girl called Gemma.  A poor coachman and Gemma fell in love.  One day he was leaving with all his stuff and she ran after him, but sadly slipped under the coach, it was their wedding day and she was wearing white.

An anonymous personal account has been given of two teenage girls who were cycling down this path and they saw a woman walking ahead in the field.  They presumed she was walking a dog.  She had a scarf on her head.  As they approached the woman they looked back at her and where her face was supposed to be there was nothing but darkness.  Needless to say they cycled home in record time.

Dragon Hall is a medieval former trading hall with an interesting history (click here for website  The hall is near to a former Augustine Friary.  Residential energy of the Monks is still felt and chanting can be heard in the lower cellars.  I have done an investigation here and will have to say on the night we were there; we came across no ghosts but were purely residential energy.

Botholph Street, Robert Watts’s ghost is seen after he was executed outside his house for murdering his wife (1701).  At the Tap and Spile on Oak Street, a former landlord murdered a prostitute and poltergeist activity and footsteps are thought to be his. 

Rosary Cemetery, two anonymous personal accounts.  Account one, what first got me interested in the paranormal in the beginning, was a Saturday afternoon in Rosary Road Cemetery, late November a few years ago. I was taking photos of the old ruined gravestones when I saw what looked like someone else wandering through between the stones coming towards me. I stood up ready to speak to them but no one there. They couldn’t have gone anywhere without me seeing, if it was a person. When got home I searched through the photos but had not caught any figure, real or spirit on any picture.

Account two, Rosary is a place for me, as a teenager my mother and I would walk there, two after I saw them, I would tell my mother and a bit about them and they would be standing beside the gravestones and some were wandering.   Mum would sense them too but we did not know if they were buried there as this was in the newer part of the grave yard. In the older part, I was drawn in the early days before we knew it like the back of our hands to a grave.  The grave of Rowen’s who died a grand old age.  There were cats in those days (no more) always cats there, we used to fuss them, talk to them, one black cat would not be fussed.  One day in front of our eyes, the cat walked through the wall beside the grave of the men who died in the train crash. The funeral train is a different start, I could see it being led down the path towards the church but not from the entrance but from straight in front of the church , it was there as real as real, horse carriage and people walking behind it.  I never told my children, we go Black-berrying there. Last year one of my boys told me at the same spot, mummy I heard a horse neighing, he will not go back to this day.

The Reindeer Pub, Dereham Road.  An anonymous personal account.  One day when we had all finished our shift we sat down for a pint. I was facing a large mirror which used to face the bar, I felt a cold breeze, like a light wind, I looked up to the mirror and noticed a screwed up piece of paper rolling across the bar, like being blown and then I noticed a white misty shape walking behind the bar the same pace as the paper was being blown. I said nothing, then my colleague sitting opposite me gasped , there’s something behind the bar, with that it went, but we would often feel the same draft/light wind other places in the bar and sometimes when the pub was shut we could hear voices of elderly men , talking and laughing around the table nearest the bar.  A few years ago, I (Tracy) went for a drink in the Reindeer and had an impression that someone had hung themselves behind the bar area, left-hand side of the bar area. The person I was with was skeptical but he decided to do some research and found that a previous landlord hung himself behind the bar, from the trapdoor leading to the cellar.

Copyrighted by Tracy Monger 2012.

I would like to say thank you to those that gave their personal experiences and special thanks to Lisa H 🙂

Click on the below picture for a short film which was filmed in Norwich.

17 responses to “Ghosts of Norwich

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  2. hi tracy, just come across your web site and have been reading your account about the goings on at the reindeer P.H. it is a very accurate account, i worked there full time from 1990-1996, i experiened exactly the same thing, however i can’t remember you. Can you remember the names of anybody who was working there at the time see if it jogs my memory?

    • Hi Paul, it was not me that worked in the reindeer, now i can see i have not made that clear enough, the account was from someone who worked there, i cant say who it is, as i promised to keep them anonymous, but i can pass your name on to them and they might contact you, if you are happy with that.

  3. Refreshing look at British Hauntings! I’ve been following ghost incidents in the South Wales area the last couple of years but have not ventured over the border ( yet ). Norwich seems like a bit of a hot spot!
    Great article

  4. Wow .I was over rosemary cemetery this Sunday as my wife said it was big and we could cut through that way and would be nice to have a look and take the boys that way

    Was very weird day and mist here and there so I thought I’d take some pics. as I was taking pics my two little boys said look at that as we looked we saw something what I can’t explain but it did dissappear just like that. We didn’t hang about after that . But when we looked on the pics .was nothing. .lovely place tho

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  8. Have you heard of a ghost in Bridewell museum in Norwich? My two year old grandson went into a room there and came out screaming saying a bad man had cut off another mans arm – the room was empty. He has had nightmare every night for a week since then. He is a tough little thug bwho is normally not bothered by anything.

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