WOULD you dare to visit the most haunted places in Herefordshire? 

Hereford and the surrounding areas have their fair share of dark and ghostly tales, from am eerie organ echoing at a derelict churches to the ghost of Prince of Wales Owain Glyndwyr creeping around a castle.

Here are some of the myths and legends of Herefordshire.

Skirrid Mountain Inn

It’s thought that more than 180 people were hanged at the Skirrid Inn, the first and last for sheep stealing, offering a fair chance of some significant haunting, and there have been plenty of reports of spooky goings-on at the pub where ‘bloody’ Judge Jefferies, ‘the hanging judge’ sentenced people to death.

The original beam used for the hangings is still on display at the pub between Hereford and Abergavenny.

The sinister feelings experienced in the main bedroom have terrified many hardened ghost hunt veterans.

Croft Castle

Hereford Times:
People have mentioned seeing the ghost of a girl called Lily Armstrong, with additional reports of a headless coach driver and a baby that cries in the middle of the night.

Surrounded by 1,500 acres of woodland, farmland and parkland, the Grade 1 listed Croft Castle in Yarpole, near Leominster has undergone many changes in its long history.

Originating as a castle in the fourteenth century, Croft Castle was home to the Croft family for 700 years, during which it is reputed to have gathered a grisly collection of ghostly residents, said to include the seven foot leather clad shade of Welsh freedom fighter and Croft family ancestor, Owain Glyndwr.

But bad investments and bankruptcy forced the Croft family to sell the castle in 1746 to a local ironmaster.

In 1957 the castle entered into the care of the National Trust.

Hellens in Much Marcle

The manor house’s most famous ghost story is of Mehettabel, or Hetty, who eloped with a man considered to be beneath her social class.

By the time she was 20 her husband had died and Hetty returned home where her unforgiving family locked her in the bedchamber for 30 years, because she had brought social disgrace upon them.

While there, she used her diamond ring to engrave a lament on the window pane: “It is a part of virtue to abstain from what we love if it should prove our bane.”

This can still be seen today and her ghost is one of several at Hellens.

Hereford Cathedral

A phantom monk was spotted in broad daylight walking in the cathedral precincts in the autumn and winter of 1934 – at one point a crowd of almost 200 people gathered in the close, hoping to see the phanotm, believed to be a friar, killed defending the building when Hereford was attacked by the Welsh in 1055.

Goodrich Castle

Hereford Times:

Several legends surround the castle at Goodrich. The Great Keep has the alternative name of the “Macbeth tower”, after stories of an Irish chieftain held prisoner there. According to some tales, he died attempting to escape and his ghost is said to still haunt the tower.

Another story tells of Colonel Birch’s niece, Alice Birch, who fell in love with a handsome Royalist, Charles Clifford, and as the pair attempted to escape before the final assault, they died trying to cross the River Wye, and live on as ghosts in the castle.

The Black Dog of Hergest

Hereford Times:

The fortified manor house Hergest Court, dates from 1267 and was built by Hwyel ap Meurig and subsequently occupied by the Clanvowe and Vaughan families.

he house, which can be seen from the bottom of the lawn below Hergest Croft, is said to be haunted by a great black hound, The Black Dog of Hergest, which is believed to be the inspiration for Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles.

The Dragon of Mordiford

The dragon was said to have loved a small girl named Maud who lived in Mordiford and had nurtured it from infancy.

As it grew into adolescence and adulthood, she remained the only person safe from its reign of terror, the only one who could soothe it.

A portrait of the dragon appeared on the wall of the main church of the village until 1811 when a vicar ordered it destroyed as ot was “a sign of the devil”. A reproduction of this painting of the dragon is displayed inside the church.

The Mermaid of Marden

Hereford Times:

When the bell from Marden church ended up in the River Lugg, a mermaid apparently appropriated it.

Despite the villagers’ strenuous efforts, the bell could not be prised from the mermaid’s grasp and remained in the river.

In 1848, when villagers were cleaning out the pond, they discovered an ancient bell - might it be the bell the mermaid hid? See the bell for yourself at Hereford Museum.

Avenbury Church

Hereford Times:

The ruins of Avenbury Church near Bromyard are not currently accessible to the public, but the area is still alive with ghost stories.

From a phantom organist causing music to echo around the area near the river Frome, to a sinister bell from the former church tower.

The ramshackle building has a graveyard outside where some members of the Baskervilles are buried, before the church was closed in 1931.

There's also the rumour of the tolling bells, relating to the death of the vicar on the day the church closed for good. At least one bell was moved to St Andrew by the Wardrobe church in London in 1933, with rumours of the bells tolling by themselves there as well.

The Booth Hall, Hereford

Now closed, there are historical reports of this old building being used as a jail and a courthouse.

One ghost story from the venue reports that a chimney breast suddenly collapsed while a medium was on the site.

It's also known for shadows being cast for no reason and has a very compact tunnel-like cellar with an 'eerie atmosphere'.

Black Lion, Hereford

This is probably the first pub you'd think of when it comes to being 'haunted' - those interested in the paranormal have always been intrigued by this Grade II listed building.

Believed to date back to 1550, the pub is known for mysterious footsteps being heard, objects suddenly moving and for a figure known as 'Alice' seen in a top floor window.