Ghosts of Malton, England

Eden Camp is just one of many haunts you can investigate around Malton, England.

The following are some ghost stories and haunted places in Malton, England.

Ghosts of Malton, England

Ghosts of Malton, England - stories and history
Photo © Colin Grice (cc-by-sa/2.0)

The A64’s ghost story is from the late 18th century or early 19th century, when a woman – traveling along the old Roman road – may have been murdered by a highwayman. Today, she is seen on foggy or misty nights, traveling towards Malton. She wears a simple, traditional gown – not torn or bloody, just normal-looking for that era – and she’s

carrying a child.

The ghostly woman glances towards passing cars, but doesn’t seem to see them. She just keeps walking. But the odd thing is, despite her apparently rapid pace, she’s not making much progress. It’s as if she’s suspended just slightly over the ground, and walking towards the town.

The Talbot Hotel in Malton may have a ghost in its cloisters area. At the very least, several people have reported cold spots. (Later in this article, you’ll read why this hotel might have some wonderful residual energy. Expect ghosts from the 18th century through the Regency.)

At or near the Talbot (especially at York House), two more ghosts have been reported more frequently.  Neither sound sinister, just watchful or even nurturing. (They may be Green Ladies, best known in in Scotland, but North Yorkshire may have them, as well.)

Blue Ball Inn at Malton may have a ghost who – according to reports – appears to be a cook. I’m not sure why people associate him with the kitchen. (But, per Chris at the Inn, there’s no known ghostly cook.)

Some have associated the Blue Ball Inn’s ghost with Friar Tuck of Robin Hood fame.

Before you laugh at that idea, Friar Tuck is one of the few Robin Hood characters with a real history… if not quite in the right era. (Not unless his ghost led a band of robbers.)

The following is from a website called The Search for a Real Robin Hood.

“Twice in 1417, royal writs demand the arrest of an outlaw who led a band which robbed, murdered and committed other acts of general mayhem. One report says he “assumed the name of Frere Tuk newly so called in the common parlance.”

The Blue Ball Inn is a great location, in comfortable walking distance of several other haunts.

Nearby, visitors to The Spotted Cow at Malton’s Cattle Market area (near the corner of Middlecave Road and The Mount), have reported ghostly footsteps and some poltergeist activity.

However, those reports are infrequent, so I’m not sure it’s a reliably haunted site.  (I’d go there because the pub has great reviews.)

The Derwent River may have a mischievous ghost.  According to one story from the 1980s, a fisherman was pushed and engaged in a fight with his apparent attacker. However, when the fisherman turned to face his assailant, no one was there… it was a ghost.

(The most credible part of this is the continued connection I’ve seen between poltergeist activity – which includes ghosts that push people – and water.)

If you investigate at the Derwent River, be careful. Frankly, it’s safer to research in the middle of Malton. You’ll have plenty of friendlier haunts to explore there, anyway.

Ghosts Near Malton

Nunnington Hall is the home of several ghosts, including the Lady of Nunnington. (Like the ghostly woman at York House, I wonder if the Lady of Nunnington is a “green lady.”)

Pickering Castle may be the site of a ghostly, robed monk. He wanders with his face concealed and his hands outstretched.

That sounds like an opportunity for pranks, so – if you think you see the ghostly monk – be careful. He might be someone very much alive, and intent on scaring people.  Do not approach him. (I’ve always said that ghost hunters have more to fear from the living than the dead.)

But, if you encounter the ghostly monk, start recording EVP immediately. From my experience, monks were either very chatty in real life, or they kept vows of silence. In both cases, their ghosts are likely to talk, and talk, and talk…

Then there’s the odd dragon on the Malton Road. I didn’t take this seriously until I saw the number of reports of this “mythical” beast.

Dragons are reported along the B1257 (Malton Road, to Hovingham). The Paranormal Database describes it as a ghost of a great lizard, killed by a local man and his dog. (All died of their injuries in the fight.)

However, this story closely matches the story of The Dragon of Loschy Hill, set just a few miles north of dragon sightings along the B1257. The Loschy Hill story has a Nunnington connection, as well… the site of many more hauntings.

So, is the ghostly dragon near Malton an urban legend based on the Loschy Hill story, or does this area still have dragons… or at least their ghosts? Given the volume of reports, cryptozoologists and dragon enthusiasts may want to explore the Malton Road.

Also in the cryptozoology category, Alien Big Cats (ABCs) appear in the Malton area, but – so far – no Black Shucks.

If you’re looking for ABCs… well, they’ve been seen in several locations around Malton. (I even wondered if ABCs might explain some of the odd activity filmed during Most Haunted’s visit to Eden Camp.)

If I were in the Malton area, I’d also investigate Wharram Percy,  and possibly “cursed” Howsham Hall and nearby Kirkham Priory. (The Hall was for sale in 2009, and I’m not sure anyone has been willing to buy it since then.)

Why is Malton So Haunted?

The endearing, eccentric history of Malton,England.
Photo © Paul Buckingham (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Malton is unique for many reasons, including some unusual historical events. Also, Malton has been the home of endearing characters… most likely to return as ghosts.

Other aspects of Malton’s history may explain why the town is so haunted… besides it being in Yorkshire (widely respected for its ghosts) and near Scotland (ditto).

As I continued my Eden Camp ghosts research – looking at the location and its Roman history – I stumbled onto some delightful history.

The Colorful, Independent-Minded Wentworths

The quirky history may start with Thomas Wentworth, 1st Earl of Strafford (1593 – 1641). He served in Parliament and supported King Charles I,  but when Strafford had to choose sides, he aligned with the king and turned firmly against Parliament.

Parliament was not amused. Strafford had to pay the price.

Under some duress from Parliament, Charles I signed Strafford’s death warrant. (After all, the King was still trying to save his own neck.)

So, Strafford – not guilty of any crime – was executed. (Eight years later, when King Charles I was beheaded, his last words were that God was punishing him for allowing Strafford’s death.)

But that’s just the beginning…

Politics and Family Rivalries

Where the family tree gets interesting is when the revived Earl of Strafford title went to Thomas Wentworth (1672-1739), the 2nd Earl, who was impeached for his involvement of the Congress of Utrecht, and was a leading conspirator in the Atterbury Plot of 1720-1722 to restore the Stuarts to the throne. 

Meanwhile, though Thomas Wentworth inherited the Strafford title, the Strafford fortune and the Jacobean house, Wentworth Woodhouse, was left to Thomas Watson (1665 – 1723).

Of course, that sparked a significant rivalry among the relatives.

Note: I’m still sorting the Wentworth family tree, with its multiple William Wentworths, Thomas Watson-Wentworths, and so on. (I apologize for any genealogical errors.)

In receipt of the fortune and the house, Thomas Watson changed his name to Thomas Watson-Wentworth, and – with part of his inherited fortune – bought the Borough of Malton in 1713. When he died, he was buried in York Minster, and memorialized by a lovely monument there.

The Malton Estate website notes that, “From the outset the family invested heavily in Malton as they do to this day.”

Twelve generations later, much of Malton is still owned by descendants of Thomas Watson-Wentworth (the elder). That’s helped Malton retain its unique identity as a community.

By contrast, as the York Press suggests, “Most town centres are now owned by institutions like insurance companies and pension funds, investors from overseas and collective investment schemes.”

That authenticity may contribute to the vivid residual energy and hauntings in the area.

But, Malton has even better reasons to be haunted. One includes an odd little mystery.

Thomas Watson-Wentworth (the younger) and the Gascoigne Papers

Especially in the early 18th century, Malton records are rife with the kinds of events that can spark later hauntings.

The first one that caught my attention was an act of wanton destruction… for no apparent reason.

In 1723, Thomas Watson-Wentworth’s son – also called Thomas Watson-Wentworth (1693-1750) – succeeded as 1st Marquess of Rockingham.

Then, in 1728, he inherited as Baron Malton.

… That’s when – on the advice of his attorney – Thomas Watson-Wentworth (the younger) deliberately burned most of the genealogical records left by his ancestor, Richard Gascoigne.  

What was the secret? I’m trying to understand why those records seemed so dangerous.

So, I tried to reconstruct them.

At least some of those records  were copied by a relative before Watson-Wentworth burned them. They appear in the book, The History of Barwick-in-Elmet (pages 129-132). Additional references are in the History of Barnbow.

Yes, I see that Sir Thomas Gascoigne was accused of conspiracy to murder King Charles II, but he was acquitted.

Also, in 1567, there may have been issues when the Gawthorpe and Harewood estates were passed to the Wentworth family, by marriage. That wasn’t a secret, either.

So, I’m baffled. I don’t see anything to suggest why it was imperative to destroy historical records. (If anyone can explain this, I’m very interested.)

Even More Likely Haunts in Malton

Then there’s Hoober Stand, a folly built by Thomas Watson-Wentworth (the younger), to celebrate the English victory at Culloden.

In light of his cousin’s role in trying to restore the Stuarts to the throne, that probably sparked more controversy within the family.

I’m fairly certain ghost hunters will find EVP around Hoober Stand.

Also, I’m intrigued that, in 1739, Watson-Wentworth acquired the building we now know as the Talbot Hotel. He then turned it into a hotel for people attending the races in Malton.

That sounds like a jolly idea. Though the record-burning is odd, the more I learn about Thomas Watson-Wentworth (the younger), the more I like him.

So, I’m sure there were boisterous parties in Watson-Wentworth’s era, and they could have left residual energy that lingers to this day… including at the Talbot Hotel.

In 1746, Thomas Watson-Wentworth inherited Rockingham Castle (famous for its ghosts), and – sadly – in 1750, he died, “drowned in claret.”

But, Malton’s ghostly history continued.

Ghosts in Malton - Connections with William the Conqueror, Robert the Bruce, and More

Malton Castle and Two Piles of Rocks

Malton Castle had its own astonishing history.

Around the site now known as Castle Gardens, the Romans built a fort – and rebuilt it, repeatedly – starting around 71 AD. It survived until the 1800s. (Its location is in the green rectangle, in the overlayed map, below.)

1926 map of Malton, England - Roman camp

The blue oval on the map shows where Malton Castle was built, possibly in the early 12th century.

When William the Conqueror was King, the Lordship of Malton – and the castle site – was granted to Gilbert de Tyson. Then Henry I owned it, and then Eustace FitzJohn, who gave Malton Castle to David, King of Scotland.

In 1138, in connection with the Battle of the Standard, Archbishop Thurstan of York attacked Malton, burning the town and capturing the castle.

Then, in 1322, Robert the Bruce occupied the castle. (Ghosts are reported at almost every major site connected with Robert the Bruce. Drum Castle is among the more famous, but there are many more… and I’d bet Malton Castle site is among them.)

After Robert the Bruce’s occupation, the castle fell into ruins for two hundred years.

Then, in 1569, Ralph, Lord Eure, built a house on the site.

After that, the Eure family rebuilt the house (I’m not sure how many times), until two sisters – Mary and Margaret Eure – inherited the house, together.

That did not set well with either sister, and an icy cold feud began. Finally – to settle the dispute – in 1674, Henry Marwood, High Sheriff of York, demolished the mansion.

He piled the stones into two equal heaps, one for each sister.

The nearby Lodge and gateways are still original to the Malton Castle estate, but they probably used the stones in many of today’s Malton buildings.

(In other English towns – such as Glastonbury – hauntings have been connected with the re-use of stones from emotionally charged sites.)

And so, Malton has Ghosts

This turbulent history – from family secrets to feuds and fires, and from Roman forts to Eden Camp – makes Malton, England a prime resource for ghost hunters.

As a paranormal researcher, two questions really stood out as I studied Malton’s history.

  1. Why did Watson-Wentworth burn his family records?
  2. Why were forts, castles, and houses built and rebuilt, repeatedly? (I know the Yorkshire winters can be harsh. Fires happen. And time takes its toll on all buildings. But… the frequent rebuilding in Malton suggests something else.)

From haunted hotels to ghostly pubs to Eden Camp Museum, investigated by Most Haunted in January 2019, you’ll find plenty to explore – and ghosts to encounter – in Malton, England.

Visit Malton

For an overview of Malton, this YouTube video is brief and shows various parts of town.

That one-minute video tour of Malton is at https://youtu.be/WFrBmEleeZg

How to Get to Malton

Malton is bypassed by the A64, which runs from Leeds and York to Scarborough, with a junction at the A169 to Pickering and Whitby.

Malton’s bus service is run by Coastliner.

Malton railway station is Grade II Listed, and it’s on the TransPennine Express route.  Fast trains run every hour from Scarborough to York, Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool. Current fastest train time from Malton to London Kings Cross (with one change at York) is approximately 2 hours 33 minutes.

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Eden Camp Ghosts – The Roman Army Connection

This is the second article in a series, showing how I research “haunted” locations – like North Yorkshire’s Eden Camp – when I have no ghost stories to work with. Is the site worth investigating? If it’s Eden Camp, the answer is yes.

(Update: After seeing the first “Most Haunted” investigation episode, I’m even more interested in the site.)


Eden Camp – in Malton, England – has at least a thousand reasons to be haunted: one ghost for every POW (mostly Nazi officers) who lived there between 1942 and 1948.

However, when looking at Eden Camp’s ghosts and at haunted sites in nearby Malton, the prison camp may be the tip of the iceberg.

Eden Camp Ghosts - The Roman army connectionSome of the area’s ghosts – or at least residual energy hauntings – probably date back to the 1st century.

Maybe earlier.

The story starts with the Romans. And, from my research, if the Romans occupied a British site for more than a century… it’s haunted.

About two miles south of Eden Camp, the Romans built a camp and then a timber fort for troops. It was Derventio Brigantum,  built in the Flavian period (69 – 96 AD).

Ruins suggest an even earlier settlement beneath it.

The Romans occupied the area until the end of the 4th century. That means many Romans lived and died there. That’s a compelling reason to investigate Eden Camp and the Malton area.

Roman Ghosts are Different

Most hauntings seem to involve ghosts of famous people – like Anne Boleyn – or ghosts of people who lived between 1600 and the present day.

Of course, there are exceptions.

Roman ghosts are noteworthy, and their ghosts around York are legendary.

Ghosts with only half a body

As far as I know, York (the city) is where people first reported Roman ghosts with only half a body… the upper half.

That’s not unusual among apparitions. People often see an upper body that seems to fade into nothing, from the waist down.

(That may be explained by a Japanese study – from at least a decade ago – showing that people store more energy in their upper body. If that energy lingers after death, perhaps it manifests in the shape of the upper body? Of course, that’s extreme speculation, but it makes sense to me.)

So, what was different in York…?

Those Roman bodies didn’t fade gradually at waist level.

It was more like they’d emerged from a magician’s “sawed in half” act, but one where things went very wrong.

And, from the torso movement, the ghostly bodies seemed to be walking, anyway.

So, paranormal researchers studied the phenomenon.  Then, they realized that those ghosts – perhaps residual energy images – were walking on roads and paths that existed in the past.

The ghosts weren’t half-bodies, after all.

They were full apparitions, but the other half was underground.  (I’ve talked about this in the past, analyzing a ghost video.)

Ghosts and the Roman fort at MaltonMy point is: Roman ghosts – or at least their spiritual energy – seem to linger longer – and more vividly – than many ghosts from more recent eras.

I’m not sure why.

When I learned that Romans had built a fort in Malton, near Eden Camp – and probably a settlement around it – and the Romans lived there for four centuries… that really sparked my interest in the area.

It’s likely you’ll find Roman ghosts around Malton.

A Forgotten Burial Site?

I’m not sure how much archaeologists have excavated Malton’s Bronze Age tumulus (burial mound). At least one urn from the site is at the British Museum.

Here’s a 1926 map of Malton, showing the Roman Camp (outlined in green), and the tumulus (in red), next to – and perhaps partially beneath – the London North Eastern Railway tracks.

I’ve placed the 1926 map over a modern one (courtesy of Google Maps), for a general idea of what’s where, today… with apologies for mismatched areas.

1926 map of Malton, England - Roman camp

(The yellow arrow indicates the Lodge – still in Malton – and, in the blue oval, where Malton Castle once was. Both sites have unusual histories.)

So, at this point in my research, I’d found evidence of:

  • Ley lines connecting Eden Camp (and Malton) with several significant, haunted sites.
  • Many psychological reasons why Eden Camp might be haunted, including the powerful personalities of the Nazi officers imprisoned there.
  • The likelihood of Roman ghosts within two miles of Eden Camp (and possibly at the camp itself).
  • A burial mound with railroad tracks over part of it. 

With this much quirky information, I was ready to delve deeper into the ancient history of Malton and Eden Camp.

It was time to return to my maps for a closer look at ley lines and Roman roads.

Roman Roads, Ley Lines, and Eden Camp Ghosts

Roman roads, ghosts, and ley lines

Alfred Watkins (1855 – 1935) popularized ley lines as straight lines between geographical landmarks and communities.

Ley lines seem to be useful in ghost research, too.

In the 1960s, John Michell – in his book, The New View Over Atlantis –  suggested links between ley lines, sacred sites, and paranormal activity.

After that, many more investigators explored ley lines and reached similar conclusions. In his book, Mysteries, Colin Wilson quotes Michell:

[On the subject of ley lines] “Traditionally, they are also paths of psychic activity, of apparitions, spirits of the dead…”

From my own studies, I can vouch for that.

Many researchers – including David Yarrow – suggest that some Roman roads followed ley lines. At the website Terra: Sacred Space, Yarrow explained:

“Watkins’ friends joined his weekend hiking trips to document his vision. In early years, Watkins was convinced the alignments were ancient trader tracks linking settlements by the shortest pathways. In fact, Roman roads were built on the alignments. But careful research revealed the alignments existed long before Roman conquest. Late in his life, Watkins began to believe some other intention than commerce motivated ancient people to create the alignments.” [emphasis added]

Yarrow is correct about the alignments. This two-minute YouTube video shows how the Romans built long-lasting roads along precise – and carefully chosen – lines.

That YouTube video is at https://youtu.be/IsxTXzjLomU

But why did the Romans choose those lines, and why make them so straight? Why not follow the contours of the land, heading in the general direction of the nearest community?

I’m not sure if answers exist. Some ley line enthusiasts equate ley lines and Roman roads, and suggest a spiritual element to the Romans’ plans.

That may be true. Here’s what I’ve observed:

  • When I can connect three or more haunted sites with a straight line, those sites are usually haunted.
  • When I can’t find connecting lines – or any other evidence supporting actual ghosts – the site usually has other issues. Most often, it’s a wiring problem resulting in high EMF, or subtle vibrations from an underground stream are disorienting the residents.

So far, I haven’t decided if Roman roads and ley lines correlate.

But ley lines weren’t my only reason to study Roman roads near Eden Camp.

I wanted to see if Malton was a small (but long-enduring) Roman outpost at the end of a dirt path, or something bigger.

A bigger settlement could mean more ghostly energy.

All Roads Lead to… Malton?

I created the following map – based on others’ historical research – to see how important Malton was in Roman times.

So many Roman roads point to Malton, the town seems like a major hub of Roman activity. That suggests a significant Roman population.

That could explain why – in the first Most Haunted episode about Eden Camp – the ghosts claimed multiple people died there. (Only one death had occurred during the POW era.)

And, since those Roman roads – perhaps ley lines – converge at Malton, that could mean the town has heightened paranormal activity, too. (That’s not guaranteed. In the early stages of evaluating a site, I lean slightly towards skepticism… but note this kind of configuration, anyway.)

Roman roads and ghosts in Malton, England

Also, Eden Camp’s location is so close to the center of that network, it’s reasonable to believe the prison camp was not the first use of that site.

In fact, I’d question if the land already had a “bad vibe” or something, so people decided it wasn’t prime real estate. In that case, it was a perfect site for a POW camp.

I’ve seen this in the past. When a community wants to build something distasteful – a cemetery, a prison, etc. – they look for empty land that’s slightly outside the town centre. Often, that land is empty because it has an unsavory history, or a creepy legend connected to it.

If Eden Camp is truly eerie and haunted, I’d bet the land beneath it has an unsavory history.

Whatever happened on that land in the past, its history (and energy) may be part of what’s haunting Eden Camp.

In my next article, I’ll describe several other reasons why Malton – and Eden Camp – may be haunted. And I’ll list some of the most-often reported ghosts there.

Malton has a fascinating history including political conflicts, plots, feuding relatives… and an unusual mystery that’s never been explained.

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[UK] BBC Ghost Special (2012-2013)

This half-hour BBC TV show about ghosts is well worth watching, even with commercial breaks.  The video includes credible ghost stories as well as Vic Tandy’s quick explanation of infrasound, and his studies at some of Britain’s haunted sites.

[Update: That video was removed from YouTube, and I haven’t found it again, online, even at the BBC site. If you locate it, let me know. And yes, I should have noted the name of that show; it’s a lesson learned.]

Can infrasound cause anxiety, fear, or even hallucinations?  Yes.

But, might infrasound attract ghosts…?  That’s an unanswered question, even if it’s probably preposterous speculation.

Locations in this video are among the reasons why ghost hunting in the UK is so popular: rich history, lots of drama, and extraordinary stories and evidence.

Some related videos:

Ghost Footage in Tamworth Castle – I’ve included this video for a few reasons.

  • It provides a good sense of what it’s like to review footage after a ghost investigation.  It’s tedious, and you’ll see very little. At some points, you may wonder if your eyes are fooling you (and sometimes, they are), and then you’ll want to fast-forward through the screenshots, looking for anything interesting.
  • Either the video was speeded up, Tamworth has supersonic insects, or a couple of those images might be paranormal. (However, at least one is definitely a bug.)
  • The right wall of the stairway has something odd going on.  It’s like the surface is changing, but the corresponding wall, across the stairs, doesn’t have nearly as much activity.  Is that due to lighting?  A quirk of the camera?  I have no idea, but it’s interesting.  I haven’t seen that in other videos.  Not where I couldn’t explain it, anyway.

Medium Ian Doherty investigates Tamworth Castle – A typical summary of psychic perceptions at a haunted site.

Here’s more about the fire of Wem, the ghost photo in the BBC special, and skeptical observations by a photography expert at the National Media Museum:

[Update: That YouTube.com video has been deleted.]

The “ghost girl of Wem”  photo is further debunked in this video.  The typos at the opening didn’t give me confidence, but the images are fairly convincing… though they, too, could be fakes.

[Update: That YouTube.com video has been deleted. Until I find one that’s better, the following debunking-style video tells the story.]

Next, evidence related to Belgrave Hall:

[Update: Another YouTube video that’s now deleted. I’m leaving the text here, in case a similar video turns up at YouTube.]

And, a great explanation of the importance of Belgrave Hall’s garden, as well as its ghosts:

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