Guest Blog by Scott Precious – Child Spirits in York

The sound of children’s laughter is a wonderful thing to hear, unless of course it’s dark, very late and there are no children in the area.

Micklegate Bar, standing proud and looking impressive is the start of our journey of alleged child spirits, the ghost of a child called Sarah is said to play and wander the walls and the halls and corridors in Micklegate Bar, Sarah was the daughter of a gatekeeper entrusted with the keys of Micklegate bar, she unfortunately lost the keys and her father who was responsible for them didn’t take the news at all well, it is said that she spent the rest of her life searching for the keys, such was the relief in her young soul that when she found the keys she reportedly dropped down dead, it is said that Sarah can be heard playing and laughing in the walls and occasionally she is accompanied by the sound of jangling keys.

If you find yourself near York Minster it is worth having a slow walk up Goodramgate…

Just off Goodramgate in York is an alleyway called Bedern, this leads to Bedern Hall, Bedern Hall has close links to the York minster and was originally part of the college of Vicars Choral, the hall itself was the communal dining room from the 1390’s to the middle of the 17th century. In the mid-17th century the hall passed into private hands and by the 1790’s the hall was divided into private tenements, which became badly overcrowded partly due to the influx of Irish immigrants following the potato famine, by the 1840’s the area was so overcrowded it became a slum area, in some records it is said to have been described as “a sad spectacle of poverty and wretchedness”.

And now as you walk down this unassuming narrow alleyway, you would never know that it used to lead to the site of 19th century York Industrial Ragged School, this was formed as an institution for orphans and children from poor families and given the circumstances in the local area plenty of children would have been gathered up and taken there. The school was at one time run by a violent drunk, he was in charge for nearly a decade, it didn’t take long for gossip and rumours to spread in the local area of children being beaten severely and some of them being killed by the drunk, to cover up his crimes it is also rumoured that he hid the bodies in a cupboard in his room. Many of the buildings that formed part of the hall have long since been demolished, the main hall remains and has been restored to the glory it is today.

It is believed that these restless child spirits are still playing and laughing in the area, people have reported hearing children laughing and occasionally getting bumped into by unseen spirits, there are also reports of people having their hands grabbed by cold hands, maybe if you’re brave enough and stay around long enough you might also feel the cold hand of a young child holding yours…

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