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.
The following account is extracted from ‘Haunted Churches’ (1939), Elliott O’Donnell (27 February 1872 – 8 May 1965). ‘Yorkshire abounds in hauntings of all kinds. One of the most famous, which is associated with a window in Holy Trinity church, Micklegate, York, is all the more convincing because the manifestations have been witnessed by more than one person and, sometimes, in broad daylight. The following account of it appeared in The Ripon and Richmond Chronicle. ” In the middle of the service,” writes a correspondent, ” my eyes, which had hardly once moved from the left or north side of the (East) window, were attracted by a bright light, formed like a female, robed and hooded, passing from North to South, with a rapid gliding motion, outside the church, apparently at some distance. There are four divisions in the window, all of stained glass, but at the edge of each runs a rim of plain transparent glass, about two inches wide, and adjoining the stone-work.
16th May 1876.
“Through this rim especially could be seen what looked like a form transparent, but yet thick with light. “The robe was long and trailed. About half an hour later it again passed from North to South, and having remained about ten seconds only, returned with what I believe to have been the figure of a young child, and stopped at the last pane but one and then vanished. I did not see the child again, but, a few seconds afterwards, the woman reappeared and completed the passage behind the last pane very rapidly.”
The appearances, which have been witnessed by many people, have generally taken place on Trinity Sunday, and the hooded figure has sometimes had with her, in addition to the child, another adult female, believed to be the child’s nurse.
Many accounts of the haunting have been published, and many theories and stories circulated in attempts to explain its origin.
According to one story, a party of soldiers came one day, in the reign of Henry VIII, to plunder the convent attached to the church.
Having forced their way in they were confronted by the Abbess, who told them they could only proceed further over her body, and that, if they killed her, her spirit would haunt them for the rest of their lives, and would haunt the spot too, until a new holy building sprang up in the place of the convent which they had defiled. Mocking her, they slew her in the most barbarous manner. Whether her ghost haunted them or not tradition does not say, but it haunted the convent till it was demolished, and many believe it is the hooded figure that still haunts Holy Trinity church.