One of the country’s best preserved medieval castles is shedding light on the ghostly occurrences within its walls next week.
Bolton Castle, in Wensleydale – known for being the site of Mary, Queen of Scots’ imprisonment in the 16th century – has played host to all manner of guests in its 614 year history, including many reports of “uninvited visitors” to the estate over the years.
Among these are the sightings of “The Lady in the Dark Cloak”, who has recently been seen by the current Lord Bolton, a former caretaker and twice by a villager.
Sightings of this mysterious woman are also recorded at the castle in old books and on the internet, frequently claiming it to be the ghost of Mary, Queen of Scots,
Bolton Castle General Manager Katie Boggis said:
The tale of the lady in the dark cloak is well known to the staff here at the estate.
One evening Lord Bolton was locking up at about 5.30pm when he saw a lady across the courtyard. She was going into the East Curtain in what he thought was a dark coat.
Thinking that it was a visitor still looking round, he waited outside for five minutes for the lady to finish her tour, but still there was no sign of her.
He went into the east curtain to see what she was doing and found no-one there. There is only one entrance/exit to the east curtain, which he had been standing by throughout.
Exactly the same thing happened, but this time in the chapel, a couple of years later.
Another of the spine-tingling stories from the castle’s recent history is the four-poster bed in Mary, Queen of Scots’ Bedchamber.
The bed is a combination of an eighteenth and nineteenth century bed that was gifted to the castle, as the last four people to own it had all had vivid hallucinations and nightmares when trying to sleep in it.
Two exorcisms were attempted, both of which went wrong. As the estate was looking for furniture to fill the castles rooms, the current Lord Bolton decided to pick it up from its home on the Isle of Man in a horsebox.
On returning to the castle, it was re-assembled in Mary, Queen of Scots’ bedchamber and nothing more was thought about it.
That was until the next time Lord Bolton’s dogs came into the castle and went into her bed chamber. They went berserk, barking and snarling at the bed.
To this day nobody has dared to sleep in the haunted bed!
Miss Boggis added:
These are just two of the ghostly happenings reported at the castle, there are many, many more!
Between Monday, October 28 and Friday, November 1, there will be a “Spooky Children’s Trail”, where young visitors can learn more about the ghosts in the castle.
Photograph: Sleep Fright! Bolton Castle General Manager Katie Boggis on the bed in Mary, Queen of Scots’ Bedchamber