The poet Longfellow begins an apt description of Chillingham with the following verse:
”All houses in which men have lived and died
Are haunted houses: Through the open doors
The harmless phantoms on their errands glide,
With feet that make no sounds upon the floors.”
Chillingham certainly hosts memories of the happiness and drama of a colourful and drama packed past. In our land of ancient dwellings few houses have been lived in so continuously and from so early a date, let alone have they been lived in constantly by the very same family line. No house has Chillingham’s true breadth of glamour, from basking in royal visits to suffering with horrifying military assault. For eight hundred years the family, their friends, with their royal friends and masters have visited the Castle, and lived, loved, fought, and faced triumph and disaster right there .
The entire region is romance packed, the Castle evocatively described by Sir Walter Scott as having “the true rust of the Baron’s wars”. . The Castle was the scene of many an attack from Scottish neighbours, its dungeons seldom without some unfortunate inmate. Safe behind a seven inch thick oak door, the dungeon walls have old initials, and lines scratched, to count out the weary days of imprisonment.
The White Pantry Ghost
In what is called 'The inner Pantry' a frail figure in white still appears. The silver was stored here and a footman employed to sleep here and guard it.
Historically, one night, when the footman had turned in to sleep, he was accosted by this lady in white Very pale, she begged him for water. Thinking it was one of the Castle guests he turned to obey. Suddenly he remembered he was locked in and no visitor could have possibly entered.
This same pale figure is seen today, and it is thought the longing for water suggests poisoning.
The Ghost in the Chamber
Not all the ghosts are those we see. Some are merely felt as 'Impalpable impressions on the air,' as the poet Tennyson says. There is this sense of something unseen yet distinctly moving, it can be a chill dark creeping sensation, or maybe just an oppressive atmosphere.
Voices in the Chapel
In the Chapel, beside the Great Hall, the voices of two men are often heard talking. It is never possible to follow their words, and they stop talking if one makes serious efforts to trace them.
Ghosts in the Courtyard
The moonlight casts the shadows of the battlements across the worn flagstones, and it is positively hard not to see the shades and shadows come to life.
Extracts from recent visitors in Chillingham’s Haunted rooms..
“I felt this hand on my arm. It was a most friendly feeling, and I believe someone was trying to guide me to see something”. “My camera just would not take a picture of the orbs and lighting I actually saw. Yet, when I developed my film, there were just those same orbs, but in different places and rooms, literally all over the place”. “The guide told me not to be frightened, and funnily I was quite happy even with the distinct whispering I heard in the King Eward Room”. “I did not expect to find anything of interest, but was completely charmed rather than frightened”. “It was at midnight when Ralph woke me. I saw nothing but he…”. “It must have been the very early morning. I thought it was my wife, and suddenly realised that I had come along alone…”And so on!