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The Ghosts of Keep Castle: A Glimpse Into the Haunted History of a Medieval Citadel


The North East of England is home to a number of haunted places that are rumored to be visited by ghosts, spirits, and other supernatural entities. These places are often rich in history and are said to have witnessed significant events or tragedies in the past. As a result, they are believed to be particularly prone to supernatural activity.

Some of the most famous haunted places in the North East of England include haunted castles, such as Chillingham Castle and Bamburgh Castle, as well as haunted houses and public buildings, such as the Old Vicarage in Rothbury and the Green Lady of Tynemouth Priory. These locations are popular among paranormal enthusiasts and are often the subject of ghost tours, investigations, and other events.

There are also many legends and folklore associated with haunted places in the North East of England, including tales of ghostly apparitions, unexplained noises, and eerie lights. Despite the lack of concrete evidence to support these claims, many people remain convinced of the existence of supernatural entities in these locations and continue to visit them in search of a glimpse into the beyond.

Newcastle Castle Keep has seen its fair share of tragedy and despair. Standing tall and proud since 1080, it has served as a site of strategic importance since the days of the Romans and their fort, Pons Aelius. Evidence of even earlier settlements has been unearthed, with flint implements and stone axes being found on the site dating back 2000 years.

In 1066, the Normans invaded and built their first wooden motte and bailey castle on the current site. Nearly 100 years later, Henry II had it rebuilt in stone. The 13th Century saw more towers and walls added, enclosing the town, but eventually leading to its deterioration. In 1589, Queen Elizabeth I first mentioned the ruin, and by this time the bottom floor had been turned into a gaol for prisoners. People were chained to iron rings in the walls, standing in filthy water as the Keep was without a roof and had no toilets. Women, men, and even children were held here, facing horrific conditions.

The English Civil War in 1642 sparked the Mayor of Newcastle to repair and rebuild the Keep, in fear of Scottish invasions. His fears were well founded and in the same year the castle was besieged by Scottish troops, who remained for three months before the English garrison surrendered.

Over time, the Keep has become the oldest building in Newcastle and the only one standing in the heart of the major city. It is also the best preserved Keep in the UK. Tales of hauntings have become something of legend over the years. Passers-by have reported hearing disembodied voices and footsteps, with a strange mist and shadowy figures known to have been seen. Even the young flower girl, named the ‘Poppy Girl’, is said to haunt the Keep. It is believed that she was held prisoner for owing money before being brutally murdered by fellow inmates. Visitors have told of being pushed by an unseen force and the smell of sweet flowers accompanies the spirit of the young girl on the stairs.

The Keep also saw tragedy with the executions of 10 men who had surrendered after a long crime spree in 1649. Charged with ‘March Treason’ for taking refuge in Scotland, they were hung, drawn and quartered, with their heads placed on spikes around the wall. The only survivor was 12-year-old Humphrey Lisle, who was pardoned by the Earl of Northumberland.

In addition to this, the plague of 1636/7 almost killed off half of Newcastle’s population, and the cemetery dating back to the Roman fort had to be disturbed for the building of the Castle. It is no wonder that the ancient walls of Newcastle Castle Keep are said to be haunted.

Throughout its long and turbulent history, Newcastle Castle Keep has stood witness to much sadness, horror, and despair. Its thick walls and towers are forever imprinted with the stories of those who lived and died within them. The stories may have been dark, but the Keep still stands tall and proud, continuing to be a symbol of the strength and resilience of Newcastle.