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Ruthin's ghosts and legends

Wynnstay
Ruthin's Wynnstay has been the scene of ghostly experiences

By Nick Bourne
Storyteller Ruth Moore-Williams uses facts, legends and fiction to give an insight into Ruthin's historic and grisly past

Ruthin is not short of ghost stories. There's a different one on practically every corner of St Peter's Square at the top of town.

There's the sound of a ghostly wail which has been noted, apparently, by several different customers using the hole-in-the-wall cash machine at the Nat West Bank which was, long ago, Ruthin's old court house, with its gallows once erected on the site of what is now the cash machine.

Across the road on Castle Street there is the imposing arched entrance into medieval Ruthin Castle Hotel, itself the scene of numerous ghost stories, most notably Lady Grey, as well as the 'drowning pool' which needs little explanation except to say it was reputed to be in constant use around the time Owain Glyndwr laid siege to the town.

Ruthin ghost tour leader, Ruth

As Ruth pointed out, there are countless variations of the story of Lady Grey - or the grey lady - some saying she was from the 1100s and others from the 1500s but both accounts involve her being put to death for the murder of her husband.

Meanwhile, another road leading off the square is Clwyd Street and Ruthin Gaol where Ruth led her group of would-be ghost hunters - families who had booked on a Denbighshire Council-organised heritage tour one late September Sunday afternoon - to recount more tales of the town's past.

Ruth explained the experiences of an electrician who had been working - alone - below ground which houses a corridor of 17th century cells when, one by one, all the doors slammed shut.

And if that wasn't enough she shared the story of Josephine - the nine-year-old daughter of the jail's keeper in the 1870s - mixing that historical fact with the account of curators who were plagued by the recurring appearance of a pile of chocolates.

And, said Ruth, when you add the findings of a jail vigil by a paranormal society and mediums who claim to have felt the presence of a young girl, then could the curators have been the victims of a [ghostly] child's prank?

Ruthin's Manorhaus
Well Street - the scene of a ghost sighting by a couple living across the road from the Manorhaus

Ruth had more stories to share in the town centre. On the opposite side of the square is Well Street on which the Manorhaus restaurant and nearby Wynnstay Arms stand.

And, according to Ruth, both have separate ghost stories and legends attached to them; the former being near the scene of a grim reaper-type sighting and the latter concerned with the sound of beer barrels being moved around a long-sealed cellar.

Your Ruthin ghost stories

Philip Smith: "I was organist of St Peter's from 1994-2008 and St Peter's and the organist's house next door have a number of interesting ghosts and many strange happenings. At first I thought I was going mad but then these were witnessed by other people as well. Practising the organ late at night you were never alone and often would be joined by 'someone' standing at the console as you played."




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