The Ghosts and Haunted History of Hazlewood Castle

Hazlewood Castle

The Rich History of Hazlewood Castle

Hazlewood Castle is located in the picturesque countryside setting of Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, just a short drive from both York and Leeds. But this beautifully decorated castle wasn’t always as peaceful as it is today. Instead, the halls of this castle were once rife with tragedy and destruction…

The haunting history of the castle is perhaps why it’s known as one of the most haunted places in the UK, with its eerie charm and hidden secrets calling to paranormal enthusiasts from all over the world.

Early history

Hazlewood Castle’s history begins all the way back in the 11th century during the Norman conquest of England. It was even mentioned in the Domesday Book, which is one of the earliest land surveys in England!

The property was originally owned by the Vavasour family, which was one of the most prominent Norman families in the region.

The family held some of the most important positions in the state, but it was their daughter who would go down in history. This is because Maud le Vavasour’s husband, Fulk FitzWarin, was actually the historical figure who inspired the beloved stories of Robin Hood.

The Second Baron’s War

During the Second Baron’s War in 1264, a rival branch of the Vavasour family besieged the castle. This caused significant damage to the property and completely destroyed the chapel. Eventually, Sir William Vavasour rebuilt the chapel and fortified the castle, making sure that it remained a place of sanctuary.

Hazlewood as a refuge

Fast-forward to the 16th century (when King Henry VIII outlawed the Roman Catholic Church), Hazlewood provided refuge to several priests and monks. They were actually hidden there until it was safe for them to escape to the country when the religious persecution had subsided.

Then, throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, the castle went through a little modernisation and served various other purposes.

Throughout World War II, it was used as a maternity ward and helped to care for expectant mothers. It then passed hands to the Fawcett family and later Donald Hart in 1957. However, from 1971 to 1996, Hazlewood became a home for the friars of the Carmelite order.

The Hazlewood Castle Hotel

In 1997, Hazlewood underwent its most recent transformation and officially became the Hazlewood Castle Hotel.

Today, it still functions as a hotel, restaurant, and banquet hall that is perfect for intimate gatherings (as long as you don’t mind a few spectral visitors crashing your parties).

If you choose to stay at the castle, you can enjoy and explore various parts of the hotel, including:

  • Luxury rooms and suites at the best prices
  • The Imagine Spa
  • Breakfast, afternoon tea and evening dining at the Vavasour restaurant, which is “Located in the Castle cellar with bags of original features”
  • Function and event spaces like the Great Hall and the Victoria Room

Horrifying Hauntings at Hazlewood Castle

Hazlewood Castle, with its long and colourful history, has been touted as one of the most haunted hotels in York. Reports of hauntings have been floating around the paranormal community for years, and plenty of visitors still flock to the hotel for a chance to experience the supernatural happenings first-hand.

From monks and priests to a spectral maid and shadowy figures that lurk around corners and frighten unsuspecting visitors, there are plenty of unique spirits that haunt the old castle grounds and some of the rooms of the hotel.

So, the question remains, who exactly are these spirits that have remained within the walls of Hazlewood long after their passing? Let’s find out…

The Tansy Room

Behind closed doors, the Tansy Room of the hotel is believed to be haunted by the ghost of an imposing and mysterious black-habited monk. In fact, guests who have stayed in this room have reported seeing this haunting figure in their suite as they’re trying to unpack their belongings. For some, this was enough to repack their suitcases and high tail it out of there! We really don’t blame them.

However, it seems as though the monk isn’t only relegated to this particular suite. Instead, he has also been sighted walking across St. Margaret’s Courtyard and disappearing without a trace. Talk about spooky…

The Lavender Room

In the Lavender Room, the hotel’s staff and housekeepers have also experienced ghostly encounters. One of the tales that came out of this guest room comes from a housekeeper who, while making the bed inside the room, reported hearing a guest in the bathroom who started up a conversation with her.

The housekeeper politely replied to the guest and went about her duties. When she was done, she went to say goodbye to the guest, only to discover that there was no one there. Rather, she had been speaking with an unseen entity or perhaps the disembodied voice of a long-forgotten resident of Hazlewood Castle…

The Rose Room

Despite the room’s name, guests who have stayed in the Rose Room hardly ever stop to smell the roses. Usually, they can’t get out fast enough!

In some cases, visitors have said that they’ve seen shadowy figures out of the corners of their eyes. But there was one guest who had an even more unsettling experience in this particular room.

Apparently, the guest was repeatedly woken up by the sound of a baby crying throughout the night. In the morning, she asked the staff about the sounds that she had heard. It was then that her blood ran cold, with the staff informing her that there were no children staying in any of the rooms on her floor.

The Library

If you want to check out the library, then you’ll want to keep an eye out for the spectral priest who is said to haunt this room. This ghostly clergyman is rumoured to appear in front of the bookshelves, looking around in search of a particular book. Whether he’ll ever find what he’s looking for remains to be seen. Until then, his spirit is doomed to keep searching…


Can I stay in the haunted rooms at Hazlewood Castle?

Yes, you can stay in the haunted rooms at the castle. However, since the rooms are no longer named, you may need to enquire with staff to book one of the rooms where spirits are said to reside. Luckily, the staff is more than accommodating for amateur ghost hunters.

Are there ghost tours offered at Hazlewood Castle?

Although the hotel itself doesn’t offer ghost tours, there are plenty of paranormal event companies that offer visitors a chance to explore the castle and learn more about the spirits that roam the grounds. So, if you want to put your bravery to the test, be sure to book a spot on the next tour – and don’t forget your ghost-hunting equipment!

Are there more haunted castles in the UK?

Yes, there are many haunted castles throughout the United Kingdom. You can check out Amberley Castle, Beaumaris Castle, Muncaster Castle, and Dudley Castle.

Final Thoughts

With centuries of history and thousands of people who have lived or stayed at the castle, Hazlewood has become notorious for being one of the most haunted places in the UK. With the castle now functioning as a hotel, you can have your chance at finding these spirits and capturing evidence of their presence – if you think you’re brave enough to stay the night.


Sam Ashford
Sam Ashford - Author

Hey, I'm Sam Ashford! I'm a ghost-hunting expert, writer and founder of SpiritShack. My mission is to help people like yourself learn about spirituality and how to hunt ghosts!