Released: September 2013
Publisher: Bradwell Books
Size: 180 x 110mm
Be frightened; be very frightened!
Discover the extraordinary haunted heritage of Cumbria. Learn about the Calgarth skulls, the phantom women of the falls, Carlisle’s Castle and Cathedral, The Croglin Vampire and more.
The modern county of Cumbria is made up of the ancient counties of Cumberland and Westmorland and incorporates a chunk of northern Lancashire. It is widely regarded as one of the most scenically beautiful counties in England, thanks to its dramatic mountain landscape punctuated by its celebrated lakes. The Lake District is a National Park attracting millions of visitors a year.
The Lake District was first made famous in the early days of British tourism by the Cumbrian poet William Wordsworth. Wordsworth’s glorious evocations of the countryside he loved coincided with a growing appreciation of scenery and a vogue for the picturesque. His poems helped to attract hundreds and in time thousands of visitors to the Lake District, a fact which gave him anything but satisfaction: he considered the crowds of tourists unsightly and vulgar.
Cumbria is such a wild county, however, that even today in the height of summer there are many quiet and untrodden places to be found where its grandeur and romance seem unaffected. Some of these places are haunted by more than just the curlew and the buzzard.
Cumbria is also a historic county. It has been fought over by Romans and Ancient Britons, English and Scots, medieval kings and warlords, and Cavaliers and Roundheads. Among the remnants of all this border warfare are simple, square medieval fortifications known locally as ‘pele towers’. A remarkable number of these have survived because they form the oldest parts of houses which have developed from them. Cumbria boasts more than its share of medieval manor houses, and many of these, too, are haunted.
All this history is guaranteed to inspire ghost stories and there are ghosts galore in Cumbria. They include celebrities such as Mary, Queen of Scots, several kings and Tom Skelton, one of England’s most famous jesters, who may well have added the word ‘tomfoolery’ to the dictionary. Then there are the more anonymous spooks: murderers or their victims, soldiers, brides, miners, gypsies, cottagers, lords and numerous ladies known by the colour of their gowns, be they white, black, pink or grey. Some are very strange: animal ghosts; headless ghosts; disembodied screams and cries; the ‘Radiant Boy’ and the ‘Cauld Lad’; shadowy armies on the mountain tops; and skulls that just won’t stay buried. There is even a tale of a Cumbrian vampire.
The ghost stories of so many of Cumbria’s lakes, mountains and stately homes add a dimension of mystery to this most romantic of counties.