York is considered to be one of the world’s most haunted cities. There are an estimated 500 ghosts in the city, including those of Roman soldiers. This fabulous cobbled street in York still today echoes with history and is teaming with shops and pubs around every corner. York has over 365 pubs, one (or more) for each day of the year. One of York’s most famous pubs is “The Golden Fleece”, as it is reputed to be “the most haunted” pub in the world.
This ancient building which is just across from the picturesque street “Shambles” is mentioned in the York Archives as far back as 1503. The hotel definitely looks its age and is a delightfully misshapen and almost squashed building. You can immediately tell how old the building is as soon as you step inside, as there was no such thing as building regulations back in the 1500s and so this charming building was built with a wooden frame and no foundations, making the floors, ceilings and doorways all crooked and at times, gravity-defying.
The Golden Fleece is an inn with a pub on the ground floor and four guest bedrooms above. The inn claims to be the most haunted public house in the City of York. The back yard of the inn is named “Peckitt’s Yard” after John Peckett, who owned the premises as well as being Lord Mayor of York around 1702. Many guests have reported seeing the late Lady Peckett wandering the endless corridors and staircases in the wee, small hours and, including ghostly apparitions and moving furniture. You probably have to stay over in the inn to get a chance to see her.
You can go on Ghost Tours through the city at night and they all end at this pub for a drink or two.
I went for a drink or two in the Golden Fleece and hoped that I might get a glimpse of one of the other famous ghosts haunting this place. Another of the ghosts is a Canadian airman who fell to his death from one of the upper windows of the hotel during World War II. After his untimely demise, he took up residence at the hotel as a non-paying guest.
Other ghosts include a man known as One Eyed Jack, who is often seen wearing a 16-17th century red coat, carrying a pistol, in the bottom bar of the pub. He’s joined by a grumpy old man, also regularly seen in the bottom bar, and by a young boy from Victorian times who was trampled to death by horses who is regularly seen in the top bar. Eventhough I sat at a table in full view of the bar all night I never saw a glimpse of one of these ghosts.
Roman soldiers have also been seen in the cellar of the hotel, which is where dead criminals used to be stored as a temporary measure until their relatives came to identify them. I was not going to go down into the cellar to find out if this was true. Just the thought of it already freaked me out.
Not only is York home to ghosts, Guy Fawkes was born in York, and a plaque on the wall in Stonegate commemorates his birth. The building that he was born in is now the historic Guy Fawkes Inn. I would definitely like stay over in this inn next time I’m in York.