Many of us love a good ghost story. Perhaps you too recall from childhood being on a sleep-over, or Scout Camp, and huddled around late at night, not daring to breathe, while someone (whether it was your brother or a friend) spoke in hushed tones of some spooky happenings nearby or within the very house you were in!
Whether you believe in them or not, tales of unexplained things seen or heard have been around for a long time. With Bath having a history dating over a thousand years, it’s no surprise there aren’t a tale or two floating around.
As Hallowe’en approaches, we thought we’d invite you to huddle up around a log fire, or in a darkened room, and as you’re sitting comfortably we’d like to tell you about some of the alleged haunted sites in the city…starting with this very Bed and Breakfast!
Bailbrook Lodge dates to 1811 and has been used over the years as a family home, part of the accommodation for a Nursing College, and as the Guest House it is today; but it’s a mystery as to why it is only Room 24, the Jane Austen Suite, that is haunted.
Both housekeeping and guests have reported doors mysteriously slamming, objects going missing and then re-appearing later in another location, plus hands have been felt to touch or stroke the necks or arms of those within the room.
The most recent report was from this month. After guests leave, a room is cleaned and all electrical items are switched off at the sockets, including the Televisions. The suite was empty for 3 days, and when one of our housekeeping staff, Becky, went in to check and clean the room before new arrivals came, she found the television to be mysteriously switched on!
The Theatre Royal
This building is in fact the second on the site, the first Theatre on this site having been built in 1805 but burning down in 1862. It appears however that this did not deter a spirit, who appears as a “Grey Lady” and can sometimes be seen in the theatre boxes or moving diagonally passing through the rows of seats.
She has been spotted by various actors and actresses over the years including the ballerina Anna Pavlova and actress Dame Anna Neagle.
It also appears she enjoys a visit to the pub next door – The Garrick’s Head too. So watch out when you’re next having a pre-theatre drink in the bar, in case you are joined by a spirit not of the alcoholic variety!
Situated between Royal Victoria Park and the city centre, this pleasant promenade is transformed when darkness falls to a rather gloomy and atmospheric pathway.
Here it is alleged a 19th Century well dressed gentleman enjoys to haunt. He has been seen brushing past, or even walking through, walkers on the path. He has been described as dressed smartly in grey with a large hat from which white hair protrudes.
One lady was walking to work on her own along this route and described how she felt aware of someone following close behind, but could not hear footsteps crunching on the gravel. She soon became aware of a figure behind her of this man who then suddenly walked straight through her and naturally scaring her in the process!
Apparently where the path dips on Gravel Walk, this spot was where judicial hangings used to take place, long ago in the past. Perhaps this man has chosen to hang around a little bit too long!
The Assembly Rooms
At the very top of Bartlett Street stands the beautiful 18th Century Assembly Rooms. Where once Jane Austen danced and Charles Dickens spoke, today it is a building owned by the National Trust and houses The Fashion Museum.
Having personally worked here in this historic building your author has heard many chilling tales from staff on site.
Not only is there supposed to be a ghostly figure of a man in a black hat and cloak that appears under a lampost near the top of the street outside the Rooms, but there are also, according to the rumours, to be many more actually inside the venue.
It was always a pleasant feeling working in the upstairs rooms, but downstairs in the Museum, especially when closing up at night, the atmosphere never felt quite right. Talking to security staff who patrolled late at night and also had to clean out of hours, some unexplained things went on.
One young security guard told me that one evening when he was alone hoovering in the central exhibition gallery downstairs, the hoover kept stopping. Whenever he went to look he saw that the plug had been pulled firmly out of the socket. Pushing the plug firmly back in he resumed his work, but again it happened. He checked that there was enough slack on the hoover’s lead, and there was, and he looked to check that he was alone, and again he was; but it just kept on happening every time he pushed the plug back in. He said strangely it only happened when he was working in that gallery, no where else in the museum.
Another guard told me of the “White Lady” that is said to haunt the historic ground floor rooms. On walking around late at night he went to look upstairs in the minstrel galleries (where musicians would once play), and on coming from the Octagon Room gallery walking back down the narrow staircase he was suddenly passed by a lady wearing a large white dress who disappeared down the stairs. She has also been seen gliding across from the Ball room to the Tea room. She has been described as wearing a ballgown of 18th Century appearance. Perhaps she enjoyed dancing so much at the Rooms she remains forever the party animal!
Abbey Green and The Crystal Palace Pub
Not too far from Bath Abbey is the lovely secluded spot of Abbey Green. Surrounded by shops and a pub, this area was originally part of the Abbey’s monastic complex before the Dissolution of the Monasteries by King Henry VIII in the 16th Century.
With such religious connections it should come as no surprise that a hooded monk has been seen wandering the area. It is particularly associated with The Crystal Palace pub which is situated in this area. Perhaps like the Theatre Royal’s “Grey Lady”, it too enjoys a spirit or two! Apparently he does like to make glasses rattle in the pub, so maybe he’s just trying to get the barmaid’s attention!
There are many more spooky tales to tell about Ghosts in the city of Bath..and many more to come we are sure.
If you have your own experiences of ghosts in the city, then do not hesitate to get in touch on our Facebook page.
If you want to book a night in our haunted Suite, then you can call us on (+44)1225 859090 and ask for Room 24. Four Poster rooms with Breakfast start from only £109 per room per night. Double rooms from £89.00 per room per night B&B.
Happy Hallowe’en everyone; and remember…don’t have nightmares!