The Castle Hotel

The Castle Hotel
Castle Street, Castleton Derbyshire, S33 8WG

The Castle has been a coaching inn since the time of Charles II. It was at its most popular in the late 1700s when it was on the route through the remote Peak District for travellers between Sheffield and Manchester. Local records show the innkeeper to have been fined for brewing beer without a license in the 1600s. It is situated in the centre of Castleton within easy walking distance of the caverns and ancient Peveril Castle. 

The inn has a lot of atmosphere despite its popularity, especially for Sunday lunches. There are lots of beams and when I was there, there was a strange feeling that there was more to the place than meets the eye. The back garden is especially nice on a sunny day and there are first rate views to the surrounding hills and the grey ruins of the castle loom above the town. The Castle has at least four ghosts. The Castle has at least four ghosts and others have been seen. David Clarke in his Ghosts & Legends of the Peak District reports a story that a woman was murdered and buried under the doorstep of the Castle Hotel in 1603. 

Perhaps the most famous of the ghosts is an lady in grey nicknamed Rose. Legend has it that she committed suicide in Room Four after being jilted on her wedding day. According to one story she was due to have her wedding reception in the Castle Hotel, but another version says that she was a chambermaid at the hotel who also tended the Castle’s gardens and was allowed to sell flowers to guests. Rose is often seen by guests, the most frequent time only two weeks old at the time of writing. What is interesting about this ghost is that sightings and ‘feelings’ have been reported over the years and continue right up to this day through all the changes of management and ownership. Rose is so famous that there was a gathering of spiritualists in Room Four in May 1999. A seance was held and made contact with the spirit of Rose, allegedly. Investigators have also visited and set up their video cameras and other sophisticated measuring device. They were quite pleased with the results, so I’m told. 

Another ghost is Agnes. Agnes was apparently a housekeeper in the Hotel at one time and she roams the upstairs corridors. She is also frequently seen and is described as a little old lady about sixty years old, around five feet four inches in height, grey hair in a bun, rather plump and wearing a black uniform with a white apron. She has round rimmed glasses and is seen particularly around the laundries. The third ghost is a chap in a blue pinstripe suit. The old side entrance to the bar is now a ladies toilets. The story is that the ghost was a local fellow liked a drink called Cooper. He was drinking at the Castle in the years around 1905. However his wife wasn’t keen on his drinking and if she saw him going into the bar, or heard that he’d been seen going into the bar, she would give him hell. Because of this he would use the side entrance. The ghost is seen standing with his hands behind his back by the massive fireplace next to side entrance. A guest saw him in May 1999, only a month ago at the time of writing. He passed through her as she went to the toilet. She also saw a ghostly cat. 

At Halloween in 1960 the then landlord, Phillip Williams saw a strange figure standing by the frosted window in the tap bar. He’d never seen him before and he felt there was something odd about him. He was in his sixties, grey hair and wearing a pin striped suit. When Mr Williams spoke to him, the man vanished. It appears that this was Mr Cooper too. Mr Cooper used to live in Castle Street in a building which is now a tea shop. He’s also seen in the hotel room known as the blue room. In fact it’s named in honour of his blue pin striped suit. The story is that he was a tin miner and normally wouldn’t wear a suit, but he died on a Sunday when he was in his best clothes and so is doomed to wander the ether looking rather dapper. The fourth ghost is much older and dates from the time of Charles II. Charles used Peveril Castle as his hunting lodge. When he was in Castleton he’d have his guards with him and this ghost is a soldier in full regalia. But he can only be seen from the knees up. As in so many buildings, the levels of floor and ceilings have been altered . He’s not seen much but when he is, it’s said that he seems angry about something. 

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