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Page last updated at 13:23 GMT, Wednesday, 29 September 2010 14:23 UK
South Stack lighthouse rates high in AA ghost guide

South Stack lighthouse on Anglesey with a ferry crossing the Irish Sea in the background Photo: Gareth Roberts
South Stack lighthouse on Anglesey with a ferry crossing the Irish Sea in the background Photo: Gareth Roberts

A Holyhead lighthouse and an old Llŷn Peninsula manor have been rated as some of the spookiest buildings in Britain, according to a new guidebook.

Haunted Britain, published by the AA, gives South Stack lighthouse the maximum five ghost rating for its resident spectral keeper who's forever locked out in a storm.

Meanwhile Plas yn Rhiw, near Aberdaron, gets a rating of three for its two resident ghosts.

South Stack first opened in 1809 and, according to Ian Jones who's written a book about its history, it was quite a happy place until 25 October, 1853.

This was the night when one of the greatest storms hit the Anglesey coast, wrecking 200 ships, including the famous Royal Charter.

"The story is that keeper Jack Jones was on his way down to the lighthouse that night," said Ian.

"When he reached the bottom of the 400 steps, before crossing the bridge over to the island, a gust of wind broke a rock off the cliffs above and struck him on the head.

"He managed to drag himself over the bridge, but was found outside the door the next day, very badly hurt. He died a fortnight later from his injuries."

The Most Haunted crew left at 3am, and I had to go back and lock up by myself. I wasn't keen on walking past that building again!
Dave Stack

They say it's Jack's ghost that can be heard pounding on the lighthouse door at night, or tapping on its windows, still in search of refuge.

"I've been there when it's dark and the wind does roar through the building," said Ian. "You do hear all sorts of sounds.

"And the light is still in use, so you do see it going round, lighting up the cliffs and the sea. It's quite dramatic."

The building had such a reputation that TV programme Most Haunted paid it a visit a few years ago.

"I'm sceptical about these things, to put it mildly," said Dave Stack at the lighthouse ticket office.

"But some of the things they encountered were fairly convincing.

"They went to an outbuilding and something like a small horseshoe, which the keepers probably fitted to their shoes, was thrown out at Yvette Fielding, the presenter."

Dave and Ian had come across this item some months before, but had mislaid it.

The hall at Plas yn Rhiw
The 16th century Plas yn Rhiw stands on 1,000-year-old foundations

"She didn't know anything about that, and there was no-one in the room at the time," he said.

"Then they claimed to see someone looking through the window. They gave chase, but the figure jumped over the cliff into the sea."

Plas yn Rhiw's ghosts include an alcoholic old servant, whose heavy footsteps can be heard on the creaky floorboards at night.

There's also the forlorn figure of the white lady. According to Richard Jones, author of Haunted Britain, she's the daughter of the Williams family, who lived at the manor in the mid-19th century.

It's said she fell in love with a tinker and defied her father by running away with him.

"Eventually, so the story goes, the tinker abandoned her, leaving her destitute," Richard.

"Although in life she never returned to the family home, in death her spirit returns to wander Plas yn Rhiw as a forlorn white lady whose ghostly sobs have been heard emanating from dark corners of the house in the dark of night."

Both South Stack Lighthouse and Plas yn Rhiw are open to visitors from spring to autumn and on some bank holidays.

Also included in the guide is Bodelwyddan Castle in Denbighshire, which gets a five ghost rating.




SEE ALSO
1809 lighthouse is burning bright
09 Feb 09 |  North west
A lighthouse keeper looks back
09 Nov 09 |  History

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