Tuesday, 31 July 2012

A phantom monk in Hereford

A phantom monk has been seen often at St Peter’s Church in Hereford. This figure is tall and wears a long cloak that reaches to the floor and rises up to form a hood that hides the phantom’s face. The ghost is seen most often in December. In 1926 a pair of policeman spotted a hooded figure walking up to the door of the church, and then vanishing into thin air. Thinking that the figure was some miscreant hiding from them, the policemen searched the area thoroughly and only then accepted that they had seen the ghost.

There are two stories to explain this ghostly monk. The first is that he was a monk cut down at the altar of the church by marauding Welshmen on one of their periodic raids into England. Alternatively he is thought to be the ghost of Sir Walter de Lacy. It was de Lacy who built the church for the use of the monks back in the 13th century. de Lacy always intended that he would retire to become a monk when he reached old age, but he never lived long enough. One December he was visiting St Peter’s to confer with the abbot when he met with a tragic accident. The two men had gone up the tower so that the abbot could point out some features of the city to de Lacy, when the knight slipped on a patch of ice and fell to his death. It is said that the ghost is the shade of de Lacy returning to walk about the church in death as the monk that he never became in life.

On balance the story about de Lacy is probably to be preferred, if for no other reason than that the story of a monk killed by the Welsh is repeated in rather more detail about the ghostly monk at the cathedral.

from HAUNTED HEREFORDSHIRE by Rupert Matthews
Buy your copy HERE

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