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Raby Castle

County Durham Home

Location of haunted place: Staindrop, Darlington, County Durham

Origin of the haunting: 17th/18th Century

Background: The castle was mainly built in the 14th Century by the powerful Neville family. It became Crown property in 1569 after the "Rising of the North". In 1626 it was bought by Sir Henry Vane the Elder, ancestor of the current owner Lord Barnard.

Although the castle was besieged during the English Civil War no major works were carried out until 1714, when Sir Christopher Vane (Henry's grandson), stripped the castle of its glass, lead, furniture, iron and doors. The ghost of his wife tells the story.

Ghost Story: My son Gilbert's marriage was a disappointment to me and my husband. We begged him not to marry the woman, she was not suitable. He defied us and went ahead with the marriage anyway. My husband was so angry that he tried to destroy the castle so that Gilbert would not enjoy his inheritance. He managed to kill all the deer in the park, strip lead from the roof and sell some of the furniture.

He had to stop after Gilbert sued him and he was told to pay for the repairs. I supported my husband in his actions and remained angry with my son for his defiance. Even in death I am still angry and you can see me walking the halls, knitting furiously, so furiously that my needles glow white-hot. I was known as "Old Hell Cat" in life because of my bad temper and I haven't mellowed - so be careful if you see me.