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Haunted Suffolk: Stories of the county's most famous ghosts including those of Newmarket jockey Fred Archer and a young boy drowned in Bury St Edmunds' The Nutshell




Halloween in the 21st century is all about carving pumpkins, trick or treating for bags of sweets and dressing up as everything from devils to Disney characters.

But the tradition started thousands of years ago, when Celts would dress up and light bonfires to ward off ghosts, which were believed to return to Earth every year on October 31.

Although the way we mark the occasion has changed over the years, the belief that we still share our planet with spirits of the dead is one held by many today.

We've gathered some of Suffolk's most famous ghost stories for you to read this Halloween
We've gathered some of Suffolk's most famous ghost stories for you to read this Halloween

These are some of Suffolk 's most famous ghosts which frequent various places in our county:

1. The Bull Hotel, Long Melford

Bottles mysteriously smashing. China suddenly breaking. The sound of phantom footsteps creeping down an empty hallway.

The Bull Hotel in Long Melford which the ghost of Richard Evered is said to haunt
The Bull Hotel in Long Melford which the ghost of Richard Evered is said to haunt

These are just a few of the paranormal activities which have been reported by guests at The Bull Hotel in Long Melford over the years.

In fact, the hotel is said to have been haunted since 1648 - the year a man called Richard Evered was murdered during a heated argument about politics.

The body of Evered, who had been stabbed to death, was laid out in a hallway of the hotel while others ran to get help.

But when they returned, his bloodied body did not lie where they had left it. And so it is said that, never having had a proper burial, his spirit still wanders the corridors of the hotel and haunts room 4.

Newmarket jockey Fred Archer
Newmarket jockey Fred Archer

His murderer Roger Greene was arrested, tried and executed.

2. Fred Archer, Newmarket

None of Suffolk’s ghost stories are more interlaced with tragedy than that of Newmarket jockey Fred Archer, who shot himself following the deaths of his wife and newborn son.

Fred and his wife Helen, who died in childbirth with the couple's second child
Fred and his wife Helen, who died in childbirth with the couple's second child

On November 8, 1886 - the day after the second anniversary of his wife Helen ‘Nellie’ Dawson’s death - Fred, who is regarded as the greatest jockey of all time, shot himself with a revolver at his Newmarket home.

He had also lost his first born, a son called William, in January 1884. Despite coming close to death herself during the birth, Nellie became pregnant again almost immediately but died in childbirth with the couple's second child.

The ghost of Fred Archer is said to ride his horse Scotch Pearl on Newmarket Heath
The ghost of Fred Archer is said to ride his horse Scotch Pearl on Newmarket Heath

This child, a girl named Nellie after her mother, survived and was left in the care of her grandparents after Fred’s suicide.

Fred was buried in Newmarket cemetery four days after his death but the ghost of the champion jockey is still said to roam Newmarket heath on his grey horse, Scotch Pearl.

He is also said to visit Pegasus Stables - formerly known as Falmouth Lodge - which he built in 1883.

3. Roos Hall, Beccles

The ‘hanging tree’ - an oak which stands on the site of a gibbet on which many criminals were executed - still stands in the grounds of Roos Hall.
The ‘hanging tree’ - an oak which stands on the site of a gibbet on which many criminals were executed - still stands in the grounds of Roos Hall.

Roos Hall in Beccles has been described by some as one of the most haunted buildings in England.

Not only is the 16th century manor house said to have the devil’s hoof print imprinted on one of its walls, but the ‘hanging tree’ - an oak which stands on the site of a gibbet on which many criminals were executed - still stands in its grounds.

It is said that visitors can summon the devil by walking six times around the tree, which is haunted by a woman in white.

And it is also said that, every Christmas Eve, a four-horse coach driven by a headless horseman travels up the driveway and disappears as it reaches the front door.

The Nutshell pub in Bury St Edmunds
The Nutshell pub in Bury St Edmunds

4. The Nutshell, Bury St Edmunds

The Nutshell, in Bury St Edmunds ’ The Traverse, holds the title of Britain’s smallest pub but it is also famed for its haunted happenings - one of which is a more unusual kind of 'ghost' story.

The ghost of a young boy who was thought to have been drowned in an upstairs bathtub is said to bump into customers on the stairs of the pub. In 1975, a customer reported having seen the ghost of the blonde-haired boy for a second before he disappeared.

Not much is known about the boy or his death, but he is thought to be the cause of random cold breezes and glasses smashing in the bar.

The Nutshell has been named the smallest pub in Britain but is also known for being home to the ghost of a young boy and a cursed cat.
The Nutshell has been named the smallest pub in Britain but is also known for being home to the ghost of a young boy and a cursed cat.

Most visitors to the pub will also know about the mummified cat which hangs from the ceiling above the bar.

The cat is said to ward off evil spirits, with anyone who touches it at risk of being cursed.

A group of airmen from RAF Honington once stole the cat as a joke but after fires and other accidents at the base, it was soon returned to its rightful place.

5. Languard Fort, Felixstowe

Languard Fort in Felixstowe is the site of the last seaborne invasion in England by the Dutch in 1667.

Landguard Fort in Felixstowe
Landguard Fort in Felixstowe

With hundreds of years of history behind it, it is no surprise that the fort is said to be home to several ghosts, including those of a grinning artilleryman and an English musketeer.

The musketeer, who was killed during the 1667 invasion, was said to have been seen by soldiers during the Second World War on the Holland Bastion. There are reports that dogs still behave strangely when walking around that area.

The fort is also said to be haunted by Maria, the Portuguese bride of the paymaster sergeant, who flung herself from the ramparts into the moat after her husband was executed by firing squad.

Languard Fort is said to be haunted by Maria, the Portuguese bride of the fort’s paymaster sergeant, who was accused of stealing a handkerchief.
Languard Fort is said to be haunted by Maria, the Portuguese bride of the fort’s paymaster sergeant, who was accused of stealing a handkerchief.

Her husband was killed after he left the fort to clear the name of his wife, who had been accused of stealing a handkerchief.

It is said that her ghost walks through the fort at night crying for her lost love and looking for the real culprit behind the stolen handkerchief.

6. The Woolpack, Ipswich

The Woolpack pub in Ipswich has been referred to as one of the most haunted watering holes in Britain.

It is said to be home to many ghosts, the most famous of which is that of Admiral Edward Vernon - otherwise known as ‘Grog’ - who died in 1757.

An apparition of a monk was seen at The Woolpack pub in Ipswich
An apparition of a monk was seen at The Woolpack pub in Ipswich

It is also home to the ghost of a mysterious monk who is said to have hidden at the pub to escape persecution. He was seen by the pub’s chef whose bedroom was located next to the former priest hole.

The spirit of George, the landlord who was killed for his efforts to help hide the monk, also remains at the pub and is joined by that of a pony-tailed sailor whose voice has been heard calling for his long lost ‘Mary’.

7. Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich

Christchurch Mansion, which is located next to The Woolpack pub, is also one of Ipswich’s most haunted buildings.

The Grade I listed Tudor mansion is now a museum housing a collection of paintings by Thomas Gainsborough and John Constable, but people also visit the property to learn about - and maybe catch a glimpse of - the ghosts of three women who are said to wander the halls.

The first is that of an Edwardian woman who has been seen dancing and laughing in the museum’s upper picture gallery. She is often joined by a pair of happy children.

Thomas Gainsborough's paintings are on show at Christchurch Mansion
Thomas Gainsborough's paintings are on show at Christchurch Mansion

Another is that of the ‘grey lady’ who is always dressed in a full length gown, which brushes past guests as she takes a tour of the lower floors.

The most of famous of the ghosts, though, is that of a young servant girl who has been spotted many times. She is thought to have mysteriously died in the building hundreds of years ago.

8. The Three Tuns Pub, Bungay

The Three Tuns Pub in Bungay is said to be home to quite a few ghosts - so many that in 1969 a professional exorcist was called to rid the pub of them.

During his visit, Canon Pearce Higgins claimed that he was aware 24 ghosts in the building.

The most famous of the Three Tuns spirits is Rex Bocon who hung himself under the pub's stairs in 1682 - a spot which apparently is always cold even today.

The ghost of a young barmaid who was chained to the cellar wall and starved to death after she was caught stealing beer is also said to remain at the pub.

Customers have reported the sounds of furniture moving, doors slamming and ghostly voices having been heard in upstairs rooms.

No ghosts have been seen since Canon Higgins visited the establishment, but only time will tell if they have gone for good.

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