Ghostly Tales from Windsor Castle
Where better to look for ghosts stories than an ancient Castle dating back to the time of William the Conqueror? Berkshire historian David Nash takes us through the grim, ghastly and ghostly tales of Windsor Castle.
Windsor Castle has many ghosts.
Henry VIII haunts the deanery cloisters, where his groans and dragging footsteps are heard.
Elizabeth I haunts the Royal Library and is said to have been seen by several members of the Royal family. The sound of her high heels are heard on bare floorboards, before her imposing figure appears and passes through the library and into an inner room.
The sad face of mad King George III is seen peering from the window in the room where he was often detained.
Charles I haunts a Canon’s House in the castle precincts.
The Deanery is haunted by a young boy who shouts, “I don’t want to go riding today”. It is probably his footsteps which are heard in the same building.
The ‘Prison Room’ in the Norman Tower is haunted, possibly by a former Royalist prisoner from Civil War times. Children playing there have seen him and adults have felt him brush past.
The kitchen of one of the buildings which make up the horseshoe cloisters is haunted by a man leading a horse. They walk straight through the wall, for the cloisters were once the cavalry stables. A young girl has also been seen here, standing by a Christmas Tree.
Ghostly footsteps are heard on the staircase in the Curfew Tower and, on one occasion, the bells began to swing on their own while the temperature became distinctly chilly.
In 1873, a night-time visitor to the castle noticed an interesting new statuary group had been erected near St. George’s Chapel: three standing figures, all in black, and a fourth crouching down. The central standing character was in the act of striking with a large sword. The sentry knew nothing of this artwork and when the visitor returned to re-examine it, it had gone!
There is also the ghost of the Duke of Buckingham’s father, William of Wykeham (the building’s architect) and, of course, the famous Herne the Hunter who is more often seen in the Great Park.
Herne the Hunter became the favourite huntsman of King Richard II when he saved the monarch from being mauled to death by a cornered stag. Being wounded in the process, he was later healed through witchcraft and the wearing of the stag’s antlers. Unfortunately though, his subsequent friendship with the King and skill in the field, bred jealousy in his colleagues and he was framed for theft. Shame led him to hang himself on ‘Herne’s Oak in the Home Park and, with a Wild Hunt, his spirit has since been seen many times careering across the Great Park searching for lost souls.
The Long Walk is haunted by the ghost of a young Grenadier Guard who shot himself while on duty there in the 1920s. He was seen by at least two of his colleagues, immediately after his death.