Monday, 31 October 2011

A Ghost Story for Halloween

This is the entrance to The Treasurer's House adjacent to York Minster, it dates mainly to the 16th & 17th century although parts of it are much earlier. A major Roman road runs underneath the house around 3 metres below street level. It has the reputation of being one of the most haunted buildings in Europe and the cellar of this house is the scene of York's best known ghost story. 

In 1953 a young plumber called Harry Martindale was working in the cellar when he heard the sound of a trumpet. The next thing he knew the figure of a horse riden by a man in a plumed helmet came through the wall next to him. Harry stumbled back off his ladder and scrambled into a corner of the cellar where he watched terrified and amazed as a shuffling band of around 20 soldiers wearing tunics and carrying swords & shields came marching through the cellar wall, passed in front of him, and disappeared through the opposite wall. Later Harry was to describe the soldiers, their weapons, and their dress in some detail. He also noted the soldiers were visible from the knees upwards only......... which would be the case if they were marching on the old Roman road beneath the cellar.

Once the ghostly soldiers had vanished Harry couldn't get out of the cellar quick enough and as he shot up the stairs he ran straight into the curator of the house who took one look at his face and said  "You've seen the Roman's haven't you?" Clearly Harry was not the first to report ghostly goings on in this haunted house.


  1. I have never seen a ghost and although I am a skeptic on many things there are things we do not and perhaps can never understand. Love this fine old building.

  2. Beautiful building. I'd love to live in such a house, Roman ghosts and all!

  3. One lucky individual, an elderly gentleman, lived in 6 of the many rooms in the house until he sadly passed away last year. I bet he could have told a spooky tale or two.

  4. What were the other rooms used for, do you know?

  5. Originally the house was the home of the Treasurer of York Minster.

    A wealthy (and rather eccentric) industrialist called Frank Green took over the house in 1897. He was one of the most significant collectors and antiquarians of his day, and he rebuilt a part of the house to display his collection. These rooms are decorated in different historical periods from the 16th to the 19th centuries and filled with furniture and objects to match. There are Drawing rooms, Dinning rooms, Bedrooms, Kitchens etc. He gifted the house & contents to the National Trust in the 1930's and 13 rooms are currently open to view.

    I went on a candle-lit tour this time last year, a rare chance to see the house as it would have been before gas or electric light came along.

  6. I might be drooling a little.

    I'm really enjoying your blog, Deb. Thanks for the wonderful photos and information.


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