If only the walls of Codnor Castle could speak, what stories they could tell us about the fascinating people and events of the past. As well as the stories based in historical fact, there are many local tales about strange ghostly sightings at Codnor Castle.
One such tale was printed in the Alfreton and Ripley Echo on the 11th of September 1992:
“It was a cold blustery afternoon when a local man named Mr Foster, took his dog for a walk around the Castle ruins. It was such terrible weather that Mr Foster decided to shelter from the wind a while within the castle ruins. At that moment, a ghostly figure appeared through a ruined doorway just a few feet away. Mr Foster, on seeing the ghost, stood petrified and his dog, stricken with terror, could not muster a bark as she normally would have if the figure had been human. Mr Foster then described how the figure ran across the ruined Great Hall away from him and disappeared at the other end of the Castle. Afterwards, he recalled that the strange figure was dressed as a soldier and appeared stocky and middle-aged wearing a dull metal helmet. It may be possible that this sighting is linked to a fierce skirmish that is thought to have taken place near the Castle many centuries ago.”
Another well known ghostly tale associated with Codnor Castle is the ghost of a lady sometimes called ‘The Gray Lady’. The name could be linked to the De Grey family who occupied the Castle for centuries. There has been quite a few alleged sightings of this ghost over the years. Legend has it that she came from France and resided at the Castle. One fine day she decided to go for a horse ride around the Castle grounds whilst heavily pregnant. Unfortunately, she fell off her horse and hit the ground hard which caused her to miscarry and, a short time after the accident, she passed away. Eye witness accounts describe her figure gliding through the ruins either on foot or on horse back. This sad tale has become local folklore, but the story is not the only tragic tale to be told
It is reported that a suicide occurred at Codnor Castle of a 36 year old man who was employed at the Codnor Park Ironworks which belonged to the Butterley Company. On that fateful Friday, he had left for work as normal at 6 o’clock in the morning. However, some hours later two young men were crossing the foot road by Codnor Castle Farm towards Heanor, where upon they found the man with his throat cut. He was lying face downwards in a large pond near the Castle ruins. When the body was retrieved from the water, in his pocket was found a piece of paper with a few words addressed to his wife and five children written in pencil.
At the inquest having heard all the evidence, the jury returned a verdict that the deceased had terminated his own life due to his unsound state of mind. Many believed the suicide was in some way linked to dead man’s father who had also killed himself twenty years previously in the canal at Codnor Park.
Have you had a paranormal experience at Codnor Castle or within its grounds? Do you know of any local ghostly legends associated with the site? If so, the Codnor Castle Heritage Trust would like you to get in touch so all stories can be documented.
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Help us save Codnor Castle for future generations. We aim to educate the public about its history & archaeology.