Ghostly goings on at St Mary de Castro
A Haunted History: St Mary de Castro
The Church of St. Mary de Castro is a beautiful building located just outside of Leicester city centre. But what is its history and why is it so famous? Read on to find out about the church's paranormal past...
Robert de Beaumont founded the Church of St. Mary de Castro in 1107 after being granted the castle and its surrounding land by King Henry, who had retrieved them from an unruly owner.
The name of the church literally translates to 'Mary of the Castle', a title that was given to differentiate the church from the Leicester Abbey, which is known as 'Mary of the Meadows'.
Watch the video to find out more about the Church of St Mary de Castro...
There have been substantial changes to the structure of the building over the years.
The church has a stunning oak ceiling located in the south transept, and boasts some of the most exquisite woodcarvings ever seen. In the thirteenth century, an adventurous attempt was made to extend this section of the building.
Extra height and presence were given to the church in 1400, when the tower and spire were added to the roof. Unfortunately, the original spire had to be replaced in 1783 when it was struck by lightning and damaged beyond repair.
Some famous visitors
The Church of St. Mary de Castro has a prestigious history with rumours circulating that Geoffrey Chaucer was wed there to Phillipa Roet, a lady-in-waiting to Edward III's Queen, in 1336.
The site of Black Annis's demise?
Another proud moment for the church was when King Henry VI was knighted within the church walls. The ceremony took place in 1426 when he was just a small boy.
The church has been thrust back into popularity as rumours of a Leicester bogeywoman have been linked to the building. The bogeywoman, or 'Black Annis', is said to haunt the church and its surrounding areas.
Paranormal tales are so strongly linked to the church that 'ghost walks' are now being held for enthusiasts to survey the area for themselves.
So whether it's for the beauty of the building or the intrigue of the legend, the church of St. Mary de Castro is surely worth a visit.All the content on this page was produced by Claire Davies, Bethan Lewis, Nick Allen Kevin Fowler and Philip Tweddle from the New Media Publishing PGDip course at De Montfort University in Leicester.
last updated: 15/07/07