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North Yorkshire Gazetteer

A64 between York and Norton

Traditionally haunted by the spirit of Nance, who is said to guide travellers when there are dense mists. The story goes that she was due to marry a mail-coach driver but fell for the charms of a highwayman. He turned out to be a bad choice, as he left her and their baby to die of exposure on the lonely road. Read More »

Acaster Malbis

During the medieval period in Britain the Jewish people were heavily persecuted, one of the heavy persecutions was carried out in York. A group of Jewish people fled to Acaster Mathis, and used the parish church for meeting. Some local villagers managed to trap the group inside and then set fire to the building - killing all those who were trapped inside. Read More »

All Saints Church, Nunnington and the Dragon of Loschy Wood

The following account of the legend of the Dragon of Loschy Hill was detailed in the 1888 book ‘Yorkshire Legends and Traditions’ by Rev Thomas Parkinson who quoted his source as being an article entitled Serpent Legends of Yorkshire from the Leisure Hour (May 1878). Read More »

Auld 'Opper Of Raydale House

Raydale House is a 17th century building that has been largely rebuilt during the 19th century and, it was during the 19th century that it acquired a reputation of being haunted. Read More »

Bagdale Hall

Bagdale Hall

The hall is the oldest building in Whitby built in 1516. It is now a hotel said to be haunted by Browne Bushell, a former owner who was executed for piracy. He has been seen walking up the staircase, and has also been heard in the same place.

There has been other strange phenomena associated with the hall over the years, including poltergeist activity.

Bainbridge

Associated with a 700 year old tradition of horn blowing. The horn was sounded every night during the autumn and winter months. It was once a guide to travellers, who may have become lost in the great forests that surrounded the area.

Directions: Off the A684 to the East of Hawes. Or just listen for the horn.

Brimham Rocks

The rocks are associated with a wealth of folklore, and were perhaps a place of ancient worship. They were once thought to have been carved by the druids, although their strange weathering is entirely natural. One stone is called the wishing stone, it has a hole into which you would place the fingers of your right hand and then make a wish. Read More »

Burning of the Bartle, West Witton

Famous for the Burning of the Bartle festival, when an effigy of St Bartholomew is burned in the town. The festival takes place on the nearest Saturday to the 24th of August. Read More »

Byland Abbey

William of Newburgh's Chronicle of 1290AD is said to mention the sighting of a round silvery object flying over the Byland Abbey in Yorkshire. Read More »

Cathedral Church of St Peter, York Minster

The largest gothic cathedral in northern Europe, York Minster dates from between 1220 and 1472. It is built upon the site of York's Roman Basilica and subsequently the location chosen for an early Christian Church (627AD – 640AD). Read More »

Cawood Castle

Cawood Castle was a palace of the Archbishop of York probably built upon an early Saxon fortification dating from the reign of King Athelstan (Æthelstan) 925AD - 939AD. During the English Civil War (1642–1651) Cawood was fought over several times and served as a prisoner of war camp. Read More »

Church of St Mary and St Alkelda

Church Of St Mary & St Alkelda

Dating from 1280, this is one of only two churches dedicated to St Alkeda (Alkelda,Athilda, Alcelda) (the other being in Giggleswick) and is said to be her final resting place. St Alkeda was a chaste Saxon maiden, sometimes described as a princess and a nun. Read More »

Dean Court Hotel, York

Built by the architects J.B. & W. Atkinson in 1865, the Dean Court Hotel was originally three separate houses for Clergy from the nearby York Minster. Read More »

Dobb Park Lodge

The following story is taken from ‘The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions’ of Great Britain by John Ingram (1897. 'On the southern slope of a picturesque valley, through which the Washburn pours its waters, stands the ruins of Dobb Park Lodge; a lofty, four-storied mansion of the Tudor period. Read More »

Dracula's Whitby by Ian Thompson

Dracula's Whitby

Sharpen your fangs and prepare to bite into this this new book focussing on the Whitby that Bram Stoker would have been more than familiar with. In this new book by author Ian Thompson, and published by Amberley Press, we are invited along on an exploration of old Whitby town and discover for ourselves the places and locations that Stoker, and indeed his Dracula, frequented. Read More »

Druids Temple, Ilton

Druids Temple

The Druids Temple, situated near Ilton, about 4 miles west of Masham is a folly created by William Danby of nearby Swinton Hall in 1820. The structure sits deep within a private forest and includes a large stone table, a sheltered cave and an altar stone. The temple is approximately 100 feet long and 50 feet wide, with some of the stones standing over 10 feet high. Read More »

Filey Brigg

Filey Brigg is a long ridge of rocks jutting into the North Sea, associated with folklore concerning the Devil and a dragon. Read More »

Fountains Abbey

The abbey was founded in 1132 by the Benedictines, but was destroyed 30 years later, and then reconstructed. The abbey became one of the wealthiest in Britain due to the booming medieval wool trade. Its wealth was also to be its downfall, and it was one of the first abbeys to be crushed under the dissolution of the monasteries in 1540. Read More »

Giggleswick

The ebbing and flowing well: legend tells how a nymph was being chased by a satyr who was overcome with lust. The nymph prayed to the gods and was saved by being turned into a well - famous for healing. The only thing that remained of the nymph was her eternal breath that causes the well to ebb and flow like the tides. Read More »

Gormire Lake & White Mare Crag

Surrounded by the dense Garbutt Wood, Gormire Lake is the result of glacial activity and is one of the few natural lakes in Yorkshire. Gormire Lake has a few little known gems of folklore attached it. One tale involves a witch who was being chased across the moor. Read More »

Grassington Bargest

The following story was published in ‘English Fairy and Other Folk Tales’ by Edwin Sidney Hartland [1890], under the title ‘Billy B---‘s Adventure’ and Robert Hunt’s 'Popular Romances of the West of England' was cited. Read More »

Hairy Bob's Cave

Hairy Bob's Cave

On the seafront at the foot of the cliffs around Scarborough Castle, a hole in the cliff, about a metre deep can be found - this is known as Hairy Bob's Cave. It is clearly man-made and little more than a hole in the rock but, the origins and reasons behind its existence have been the source of legend and folklore in the town for over a century. Read More »

Hob Hole, Runswick Bay

The haunt of a goblin, Hob, which is a generic term for a brownie of boggle in Yorkshire. This hob was unusual in that the was thought to be able to cure whooping cough, and parents would bring their afflicted child to the cave and recite a rhyme in the hope of a cure.

Directions: Runswick Bay reached via a minor road off the A174 to the Northwest of Whitby.

Holy Trinity Church, Coverham

Coverham Church

This church dates from the 13th century. Read More »

Holy Trinity Church, York

Although much of the exterior dates from the 17th and 18th centuries, Holy Trinity Church sits on a site that has been used for a church since the Doomsday Book. Holy Trinty itself dates from between the 13th and 15th century, boasting some fine examples of medieval stained glass. It is supposed to be haunted by a phantom nun, and two other ghosts.

Ivelet Bridge Black Dog

The single span Ivelet Bridge over the River Swale dates from 1687 and was an important crossing point on the 16 mile Corpse Way from Muker to the Churchyard at Grinton, which was once the only consecrated burial ground in the dale. Read More »

Kettleness Black Dog

A phantom Black Dog is said to haunt Kettleness near Whitby. In Marc Alexander’s ‘To Anger the Devil’ which is a biography of the exorcist Reverend Dr Donald Omand, he describes how in the 1950s Rev Omand received letter from a schoolmaster detailing his experience with the dog and requesting an exorcism. Read More »

Kilburn White Horse

The Kilburn White Horse was finished on 4th November 1857 and is believed to be the most northern and possibly the largest White Horse in Britain, being 318’ long and 220’ high (though it was designed to be 314’ long and 228’ high). It faces south-south-west and is situated near Roulston Scar, to the south of Sutton Bank. Read More »

Kilgram Bridge

The site of Kilgram Bridge has been used for thousands of years to cross the River Ure. This Norman bridge prossibly dates from 1145AD (certainly standing by 1301 AD) and was built by the monks from the Cistercian Jervaulx Abbey. It was built upon the remains of an early Roman paved ford, the well preserved remains of which were used as the bridge's foundations. Read More »

Knaresborough

Knaresborough is most famous for its connections with the prophetess Mother Shipton. She is said to have been born in a cave now known as Mother Shipton's cave, now a popular tourist attraction. Read More »

Malt Shovel Public House, Oswaldkirk

The Malt Shovel is a Grade II listed building and according Sir Nikolaus Pevsner (born 30 January 1902 – died 18 August 1983) dates from around 1720. Originally built as a house by William Moore, the Malt Shovel has a reputation of being haunted. Read More »

Marks & Spencer, York

An article by Joanna Moorhead in The Guardian on 26 October 2011 tells us that 'Over at Coppergate Shopping Centre, site of a Viking fort, it seems an archaeological dig has disturbed spirits that had been lying dormant for centuries. Read More »

Marston Moor

On a minor road between the A59 and the B1224, a major battle of the civil war was fought on the 2nd July 1644. In 1968 some tourist were lost on the road when they came across a group of men dressed as 17th century soldiers. They thought that they were people in fancy dress, although the men looked worn out. They later discovered that they had been on the road through the battle site. Read More »

Middleham Castle

Middleham Castle

The castle is reputed to be the site of a buried hoard of treasure, to find it you must run a round the castle three times, and where you stop the treasure will be found. Unfortunately there is no indication of where you should start.

Directions: Off the A6108 to the South of Leyburn.

Image Gallery

Middleham Moor

Haunted by the ghost of a lady in a black dress. Peat cutters are reputed to have discovered a body dressed in the rotting remains of a black shawl. She was meant to have been murdered by one of her admirers after he discovered she was to run away with another man.

Mrs. Birkbeck's Apparition (1739)

The following account of a crisis apparition was published in 'The Haunted Homes and Family Traditions of Great Britain' (1897)by John Ingram. 'In April, 1876, the following very curious account of an apparition that was seen by three children at once was communicated to the Psychological Society by Mr. Hensleigh Wedgwood. The documentary story, written by Mrs. S. H. Read More »

Newby Church near Ripon

Newby Church Monk

In 1963 the vicar of Newby Church, the Reverend K. F. Lord, took photographs of the church interior. When developed one had a strange hooded figure in it. In all probability this is a fake picture although now hard to verify without further research. Read More »

Ravensworth Big Cat (2010)

Jennifer Bell published the following story entitled 'North Yorkshire big cat fears after sheep is savaged' in The York Press on 1st December 2010.

A BIG cat is feared to be on the prowl in North Yorkshire after a sheep was savaged and killed. Read More »

Richmond Castle

The castle is one of many sites associated with Arthur and his sleeping knights, ready to stir from their slumber in a cave under the castle in times of need. A potter called Thompson once found his way into the cavern (or was shown into the cavern by a stranger) via a tunnel from the castle. Read More »

Scarborough

Scarborugh Castle

Scarborough also has a Robin Hood legend. On one of his adventures he joined the small fishing fleet, but turned out to be a useless fisherman, as he forgot to bait the hooks. Read More »

Scarborough Castle

Scarborugh Castle 1

The castle is said to be haunted by the headless phantom of Piers Gaveston, the favourite of Edward II. Read More »

Semer Water

Associated with a legend about a vanished town, drowned because of its indifference to a beggar. One day a beggar came to the proud and rich town asking for shelter, but was turned away at every door. He eventually came to a cottage on a hill at the edge of the town where an old couple allowed him to stay. Read More »

Spofforth Castle

A holding of William de Percy, one of the early supporters of William the Conquer, who was given vast tracts of land in Yorkshire for his brave service. Read More »

St Alkelda's Well, Middleham

St Alkeda was a chaste Saxon maiden, sometimes described as a princess, noble woman or a nun. On 28th March 800AD, somewhere close to the site of St Mary’s and St Alkelda’s Church, she was strangled to death for her faith by two Danish women involved in a Viking raid. It has been suggested that they killed her by twisting a napkin around her neck. Read More »

St Simon's Well

According to Edmund Bogg in “From Eden Vale to the plains of York or A Thousand Miles in the Valleys of the Nidd and Yore" (1894) ”In the township of East Scrafton is a spring of water known as St. Simon's Well. Near it once stood an oratory called St. Simon's Chapel; not a vestige of this remains. The well was formerly used as a bath. Tradition says that St. Read More »

Stokesley

The Wise man of a stokesley a man called Wrightson is reputed to have been a great seer and healer. The 7th son of a 7th daughter he was especially famed for healing cattle and his far sight. He died in the 1900s. Many villages had such wise men and women famed for their powers.

Swinsty Hall

Swinsty Hall dates from the 16th Century and can be found on the banks of Swinsty Reservoir (built 1874). Read More »

Tadcaster Tiger (2006)

In 2006 there was a tiger scare in North Yorkshire around Tadcaster. The following article appeared on the BBC News Website [23 June 2006] entitled 'Police alert over 'tiger' reports' and includes details of a sighting on the B1223, also known as Boggart Lane. Read More »

Tancred Hospital

In the village of Whixley is a large house that once belonged to the Tancred family. The last heir to this family stated in his Will that he was not to be buried underground and instead that he was to be interred in the family home, which he was. His coffin became a point of local interest and speculation arose that his ghost must haunt the house, though there is no evidence of this. Read More »

The Blinded Giant, Dalton

The following tale of a North Yorkshire giant appeared in 'English Fairy and Other Folk Tales' by Edwin Sidney Hartland [1890] who cited 'Notes on the Folk-Lore of the Northern Counties of England and the Borders.' Read More »



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