St. Wilfrid’s Parish Church, Calverley
St. Wilfrid’s Parish Church is a Grade II listed building, the earliest parts of which date from the 11th or 12th century, though there may have been an earlier structure on the site. During Christmas time in 1904 an apparition was reported by the churchyard which has before associated with Walter Calverley of Calverley Old Hall.
‘Spirit of a bad Knight in a Yorkshire village. Yorkshire has provided a good ghost story for this year’s Christmas festivities. The ghost is one with a pedigree, it is true; but it recalls such a wealth of romance that its re-appearance is as welcome as seasonable fiction in a highly-coloured Christmas number.
The setting is all that could be desired. An ancient manor in the quiet sleepy village of Calverley, midway between Leeds and Bradford; an adjoining burial-ground with yew trees that cast ghostly shadows; and a lonely wood as a background.
Calverley Hall was formerly the residence of Sir Hugh Calverley, who in the reign of King James was tried at York for the murder of his wife and two children, and he as pressed to death in York Castle.
From time to time Calverley’s spectre has reappeared, but during recent years the spirit of the bold bad knight has rested quietly. On Sunday last, however, it is stated to have re-appeared.
While passing the churchyard a Horsforth man heard weird sounds proceeding from the direction of the graveyard, and suddenly, without any preliminary warnings, there was a flash, and a phantom like form floated before the astonished pedestrian. He was all alone, the villagers having long since retired to bed. The apparition then disappeared, and all was quiet again.
Next day the man narrated his previous night’s experience to a friend, who happened to be well versed in the folk-lore of that part of the county. From his friend he learned of the old legend, and he firmly believes that he saw the ghost of the executed knight.’
Though the above article refers to the knight being called Sir Hugh, the Calverley who murdered his children and stabbed his wife on 23 April 1605 was Walter Calverley. He was pressed to death in York Castle later that year (5 August 1605).