My thanks go to all those who emailed to say how much they enjoyed last weeks ‘Bygone’ ghost story.

As Halloween is here, it seems a good time to relate one of Salisbury’s most famous ghostly tales – Henry, Duke of Buckingham.

During one of her talks at Salisbury Library in 1949, Dr Elsie Smith, a lecturer at the Diocesan Training College (now Salisbury Museum) in the Cathedral Close, mentioned that the spirit of the Duke was still said to haunt the college. Dr. Stanley Baker, who had worked at the college for 31 years as lecturer, also recorded that people had seen the ghost. It is interesting to know how this legend came about.

After the Duke of Buckingham’s execution on the Blue Boar Row in 1483, his head was conveyed on a platter to the Cathedral Close, where King Richard III was staying. Whilst the King uttered those famous words immortalised by Shakespeare, “And so much for Buckingham,” the head rolled off on to the floor and stained the boards.

The room remained as it was for years, and then when Canon Stewart was Principal many years ago, and new buildings were being added, it was agreed that some of the stained board should be placed on a little landing on a new staircase.

The workmen, being neat and tidy fellows, turned the boards upside down so that the stains were underneath and out of sight.

But here is the extraordinary thing, the blood apparently flowed upwards, because the stains rose to the surface and were witnessed by a good number of people over the years.

This is just one of the stories to be found in the new book, ‘Supernatural Salisbury’ available at the Rocketship Bookshop.


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