Leominster (pronounced Lemster) dates back to the seventh century and has a turbulent past being the site of many historic battles of Celt, Roman, Saxon, Dane, Welsh, Norman, Plantagenet, Tudor, Roundhead and Royalist all have left their mark.
It was around 660 that a nunnery was founded on the monastic complex that we will be investigating. In 777 the nunnery and much of the Saxon town was devastated by British raiders; in 980 the Danes took their turn to ransack the nunnery. In 1052 Gruffudd ap Llywelyn raided over the border, his forces meeting the English in a battle that was called by the Welsh name for Leominster – Llanllieni.
In the 1120s Henry I gave Leominster to Reading Abbey, which duly founded a Benedictine priory there in 1121 or 1123. However for the next three hundred years the priory and the town were looted and seized on a regular basis.
In 1610 the people of Leominster witnesses the Catholic Priest, Roger Cadwallader, being hung, drawn and quartered. And thirty years later William Waller seized Leominster for Parliament in 1643; though it fell into Royalist hands again in 1645. After this, the town’s history is peaceful, though in 1695 a great fire destroyed the priory roof.
The Old Leominster Union Workhouse that was built on top and incorporates the site of the Old Priory built in the 16th century. Over the years there have been many sightings of paranormal activity within the Old Priory complex. Its not unusual for reports of a large black shaggy dog to be seen wandering the grounds (and corridors), in times past it would be called a “barghest”. To see the dog is a precursor to a death, whether royal or gentry!
Other sightings include that of Black Monks walking in three – through one wall and then through another! Visitors to the complex have also been woken from their beds by the sounds of chanting in the middle of the night, and yet people in other rooms haven’t hear it.
It would seem that the dissolution of the monasteries seemed to increase the possibilities of hauntings, other ghosts witnessed include a man and woman lit by the moonlight. Once approached they raise their hands to the sky and disappear. And there are a whole lot more stories!
Join Fright Nights for a ghost hunt at this most haunted Leominster Workhouse and former asylum!