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York: City of Ghosts

A very good day to you, me hearties. I’ve been sitting at the bar of The Golden Fleece in York for a very long time, judging by my attire. (Ah-hem)

And, since it is approaching Halloween, I have taken over this here blog from Sandra Wagner-Wright. She don’t know nothin’ about ghosts, but I can tell you a tale or two.

The Golden Fleece where I reside has been on this very spot, near Coppergate, since 1503.

Aye, they say ‘twas the Merchant Adventurers who founded it. They were wool and fleece traders. Very lucrative it was. Bein’ as old as it is, this pub has plenty of ghosts – so many that in 2005 we were visited by the team from Most Haunted.  ‘Course, ghosts can be very shy when your lookin’ for ‘em. They prefer to arrive without an appointment, so to speak.

Our most visible ghost is Geoff Monroe. He was an airman from Canada stayin’ here 1945 or thereabouts – threw himself out the window in room 4 – some say it was an accidental fall, some say he was pushed. Can’t say, but out the window he went. Drunk probably. But, seems he couldn’t get through the ether. He comes back to his room.  Stands in uniform, he does. Now, some folks come here especially to stay in his room – and then, blow me down, if they aren’t upset when his icy finger wakes them up.

Folk be strange – why do the living want to see the unhappy dead? There’s ghost hunts here all the time – in fact there’s one coming up on Halloween itself. The landlord is decorating the rooms special so they look like a Dracula set. (Aye, you do know Dracula came ashore at Whitby, just up the coast.) Never fails. The gents and ladies swear they don’t believe in ghosts and scream up a storm when they see one – if they can find their voice, ‘a course.

My favorite ghost is the Lady Alice Peckett – lovely woman, she is. The landlord calls her our “resident spirit.” In 1700 her husband John, the Lord Mayor of York, owned this here pub. She wanders about the place. Always stops to give me a kind word.

The entire City of York is stuffed with ghosts – Roman soldiers, a beheaded earl, even the Queen Catherine Howard’s ghost can be found. Poor lass – if she had known she would be queen, I doubt she’d have given her prize to a common yokel. Ye have to think ahead. Ye say ye want to know more. Well, me jaw bone is startin’ to lag, but I been hearin’ folks talk about webs full of information. And I have an address here somewhere – there it is, under my left clavicle. The address is More stories there – and information on how you can go on a ghost hunt next time you come to town.

Well, I’ve been goin’ on awhile now. Could you spare a few bob to buy and old fella a drink? My throat is right dry. I’d love to meet ya. Come on down to the Golden Fleece any time – rent a room maybe – find a supernatural friend. The landlord would love to heare from ya. If you have one of them webs, go to

And, come visit me – I’ll be sitting here at the bar  

– a very nice bar it is too.

Author Sandra Wagner Wright

Sandra Wagner-Wright holds the doctoral degree in history and taught women’s and global history at the University of Hawai`i. Sandra travels for her research, most recently to Salem, Massachusetts, the setting of her new Salem Stories series. She also enjoys traveling for new experiences. Recent trips include Antarctica and a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel.

 Sandra particularly likes writing about strong women who make a difference. She lives in Hilo, Hawai`i with her family and writes a blog relating to history, travel, and the idiosyncrasies of life.

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