Shropshire is the county where England meets Wales, a county divided into two halves. The northern part is the Shropshire Plains, the flat area with most of the large towns spread across it such as Shrewsbury and Telford. The south is more sparsely populated with its hills and river valleys as well as pine forests. This contrasting landscape has led to a wide range of ghosts and types of hauntings and here we look at a few of the haunted spots of Shropshire.
Shrewsbury is the county town of Shropshire, on the banks of the River Severn. The city dates back to ancient times and is thought to be capital of Powys, known as Pengwern. This became Scrobbesburgh to the Anglo-Saxons and eventually to Shrewsbury. It grew in importance in the late Middle Ages due to its wool trade as well as trade connections due to the Severn.
Undoubtedly the most haunted spot in the town is the Prince Rupert Hotel. There are a number of ghosts reported within its walls including a jilted bride in Room 6 who hanged herself in the room and an unconnected jilted groom in the neighbouring room who also took his own life. A film director staying there once saw a male figure disappear through a wall while a medium saw a ghostly maid, known now as Martha, who was on the Prince Rupert Suite staircase. Other incidents include pillows being taken from rooms and appearing in odd locations as well as images caught on CCTV camera.
Another haunted location is the Dun Cow, a pub that was once run by a couple called the Hayes. One evening in the 1980s, Mrs Hayes awoke to find a hooded figure standing in front of her. Unlike the normal dark and drab monks, this one was wearing a bright and colourful habit. It was also staring into her baby’s cot beside her bed. Two years later, Mrs Hayes was again woken only this time by her two-year-old daughter screaming in fear at the ‘man in her room’. Numerous pub patrons have reported seeing the monk walking through walls in the pub, though he is generally said to be harmless.
Just outside Shrewsbury is Condover Hall, famous for its bloody handprint that refuses to go away. The print is said to come from Lord Knyvett who was stabbed and fell down the basement stairs, leaving the print on the way. Attempts to clean the mark failed and the brickwork was eventually chipped away to get rid of it. The son of the lord was said to have killed his father and shifted blame to the butler, who was sentenced to death. He laid a curse on the family and as there have been no prosperous heirs since, it seems he did a good job.
Telford is another large town in Shropshire, 13 miles to the east of Shrewsbury and 30 miles west of Birmingham. It is a new town, named for civil engineer Thomas Telford who worked on many significant projects in the county. Despite its short history, it has still has a few spectral residents.
The Mercure Madeley County was formerly known as the Clarion Hotel and is a Tudor era mansion. It has its own ghostly monk seen around the grounds with his hood up. He ignores all attempts at conversation before vanishing. A Victorian era maid is seen on the top floor while the old mill on the grounds has reports of laughter and poltergeist-style activity.
The Buildwas Power Station is just outside Telford and was built on the ruins of the abbey of the same name so it is unsurprising that ghostly monks have been reported around the place. A black monk has been reported by late shift workers while another report was of a phantom woman who appeared then disappeared before a worker.
Ludlow is a market town 28 miles south of Shrewsbury and is the largest town in the south of the county. It sits on the confluence of the rivers Corve and Teme and includes a medieval walled town that was founded in the 11th century.
Ludlow Castle sits on the hill at the heart of the town and is haunted by the ghost of Marion La Bruyere, who fell in love with an enemy of the lord of the castle. She lowered a rope each time they met for him to climb up but one night, a small army used the rope and the castle was overrun. Enraged by his betrayal, she killed her lover then threw herself from the castle. Her figure is seen on the anniversary of her death though her screams can be heard at different times.
The Feathers Hotel is another location vying for the ‘most haunted’ prize for Shropshire. Room 211 is particularly well mentioned with a jealous ghost who doesn’t enjoy the company of women. One reported being pulled out of bed by her hair while staying there! She climbed back into bed only to be drenched with water, though her partner beside her remained completely dry. A Victorian era man in seen around rooms 232 and 233 along with his dog while a modern era spirit is seen in the car park, wearing a mini skirt.
One of the most famous recent ghost images was taken in Wem Town Hall. In 1995, Tony O’Railly took a picture with a 200mm lens of the burning town hall, without realising until later that he had captured something supernatural. The image of a small girl standing by the rails was investigated by a number of experts and confirmed that it had not been doctored. The hall had said to have been haunted for some years, perhaps dating back to a previous fire in 1677 when a young girl called Jane Churm dropped a candle and burned down the hall.
RAF Cosford is now a museum and home to the only true Lincoln RF398 long range heavy bomber in the country, built back in 1945. It also comes with its own ghost. One report from 1980 came when a member of staff was locking up the museum and saw someone moving in the plane. He checked around to find the person but there was no trace. A week later, a mysterious cloud appeared when a mechanic was working on the aircraft. Legend says that the ghost is that of a pilot who loved the plane so much he vowed to haunt it after his death, which happened in an aircraft near Cosford.