Derby isn’t famous for many things. Old mills, maybe. Derby Rams? Absolutely. But one thing that never fails to mystify and amaze people are the sheer amount of ghost stories that come out of this sleepy British city.
Derby, the literal and figurative ‘dead’ centre of England, is famous for being one of the country’s most haunted cities. If you ever find yourself in this ghost-filled city, try taking one of the many ghost walks available, around the city centre, Darley Abbey, the old jail cells or the famously ghoulish Friar Gate where so many sightings have taken place.
1. The Chained Man
The first of these creepy ghost stories tells the tale of Richard Thorley, also known as the chained man. He was imprisoned and executed for murdering a woman somewhere on Agard street, and some still claim they’ve seen him walking around in his chains near the site of his crime. Others have also mentioned hearing the mysterious sound of rattling chains around the area.
A ghostly woman also walks down Agard street, and is thought to have been the ghost of Thorley’s victim.
2. The Lady In Blue
The Old Bell Hotel down on Sadler Gate is an impressive sight on even the most ghost-free of days as it, and many other buildings on Sadler Gate, stands as one of the oldest buildings in Derby. But it has been said by some of the guests that a lady in blue Victorian clothing can be seen walking through the corridors at night.
The lady in blue is one of many ghosts to have been sighted on Sadler Gate, but she has been seen the most. Some think she might have been an old beldam of the property, or lady of the house. She is said to be mostly harmless, though some have noted poltergeist activity with pieces of furniture moving and item being flung around the room in her presence.
3. Roman Soldiers In Chester Green
The ghosts that Derby seems to accumulate is not limited to Victorian. In fact, the ghosts here date way, way back into Roman times.
A group of centurion soldiers have been said to march the grounds late at night. Whether it’s the scene of a battle, or a daily drill the soldiers partook in is up for debate. But the residents of Chester Green are certain they’ve heard the ritual stomping of the Roman troops in the fields behind their houses in the early hours of the morning.
4. Friar Gate Hauntings
The ghost stories that come out of Friar Gate are too many to count. The sightings of ghosts around this area have gotten so numerous that an entire ghost walk has been dedicated to this vicinity alone.
One of the most famous hauntings have to do with the old Derby Gaol that is found there, which is also the site of the very last hanging in England in 1817. It has been said that on a ghost tour of the gaol, the ghoulish figure of a man can be spotted in the jail cell, surrounded by a menacing aura. Some tourers have even noted not being able to breath while standing in the old jail cell.
In addition to that, there’s a headless monk in black robes that haunts the hotel, and woman and a child in Victorian dress playing together in a museum. Sounds like there’s more dead than living in this area.
5. Grey Lady of the Winery
Head on down to Cheapside to have a glass or two at Seymour’s Wine bar. And to also hopefully (or not) see the ghost of a dithering old lady dressed in grey. Her presence at the wine bar is often accompanied by the faint smell of lavender and the movement or disappearance of an item or two. The owners of the wine bar seem non-plussed by their spectral resident since she has proven to be fairly harmless.