Friday, 26 September 2014

Take a ride around ghostly Lincoln

As befits a city as old as Lincoln, there are numerous phantoms haunting the streets and buildings, especially in the medieval quarters. We will visit just a few.

A pedestrian street climbs high to Lincoln's historic Bailgate quarter. The lower part is called "The Strait" and on our left we pass "The Jew's House". Here one might hear footsteps on the staircase, voices in the corridors and utensils being clattered about in the empty kitchen. 

Soon the road becomes known appropriately as "Steep Hill".  Tempted to call at Brown's Pie Shop?  Listen out for coins being counted !  Watch out for Humphrey, the young lad who sometimes runs around the shop or the young girl who is occasionally to be seen.
We might also call at the coffee shop on Steep Hill.  There's a mysterious young boy here as well as a man in a grey suit who has his own vanishing rick.

It's a relief to reach Castle Hill and level ground.  Don't feel too sorry for the malnourished lurcher dog that you might see near the Castle walls.  His owner William Clark was hanged for murder and the dog is looking for his master. Sometimes he will bark and scratch at the door of The Struggler's Inn on nearby Westgate. He has been known to sit by the bar and to brush against the legs of customers.

To our left is the Castle Hill Club. Here, the ghost takes pleasure in pinching the bottoms of visitors !

At the Castle gate just ahead, a man riding a black horse has been seen. As he approached the closed doors he called out "open the gates" before disappearing through them.

The Cathedral itself has many ghosts and a famous imp.  Lincoln's symbol is that devellish creature and legend tells us that two were sent to the city intent on making mischief. Having smashed up Cathedral furniture and tripped up the Bishop they were confronted by an angel. The braver imp retaliated by throwing rocks at the angel and for his trouble was turned to stone.  He can be seen above one of the Cathedral pillars.  The second imp hid under the broken chairs and made his escape but his presence can still be felt as he dashes around seeking his accomplice.
One could also see the holy man with a chain around his neck, a procession of monks, the re-enactment of a suicidal leap from the tower or hear a phantom peal of bells.

Within the Cathedral precinct is Queen Anne's Well. Walk around it seven times to summon the Devil.  If you then put your finger in one of the holes in the door you will feel his breath; but only if you have been good. If you are bad, he will bite it off.

Just below the Cathedral is the Edward King House, once the Bishop's Palace.  In the late 1800's the Bishop was lured from his home by some would be robbers. Some years later one of the villains confessed that he would have carried out the crime but for the large, strong man who accompanied the cleric.  Although the Bishop remembered the occassion, he declared that he had been alone that night.

Next door is the Great Hall where a woman's skull once graced the room.  When it was removed it started to scream and had to be returned. The owners bricked it up in a wall to avoid any further troubles but she continues to haunt the hall.

We are now close to Greenstone Stairs, a long flight of steps leading down the southern side of The Hill.  Ghostly monks inhabit this area as does a woman holding a baby. Worst of all of the city's ghosts must be the head that bounces down the steps knocking over all who stand in its path.

If we can tempt you to spend a night or two in Lincoln, perhaps a room at the White Hart Hotel will suit. Here is a floating light, a woman in a mob cap, a highwayman and restaurant food that jumps from the plate. We just hope your rest is not disturbed by the sound of gunfire.

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