Roman Ghosts of York


60AD and Queen Bodicea and her Iceni warriors prepare to revolt against the mighty Roman Empire.

Bodicea’s loses eighty thousand men, woman and children in her last stand against the Romans. Rather than be taken captive, the Queen of the Iceni poisons herself and the war is over. The mighty Roman Empire reigns supreme over southern Britain. 

It is not long before the Romans realise the strategic value of the north and in 71AD the Ninth Roman Legion invades the area. Fort Eboracum is commissioned and warriors stand poised, shovels raised. With that first powerful blow the sharp edge cuts through the soil and the story begins. 

Alone in the damp darkness of a cellar, a young heating engineer called Harry Martindale is distracted from his work by an odd noise coming from the wall of the cellar. 

It is 1953 and Harry is standing on a ladder repairing some heating pipes in the ‘Treasurer’s House’ in York. 

The odd sound gradually becomes clearer until Harry recognises it as that of a trumpet blast. 

From out of the cellar wall rides a horseman, followed by two Roman legionnaires and then another two. The procession of dirty, weary Romans terrify Harry so much that he falls off his ladder. Scrambling to hide in a corner he watches as they march past him, their legs, from the knees down, hidden below the ground.

Apparently oblivious of Harry they continue along a line and disappeared through the opposite cellar wall. Later excavations unearthed, eighteen inches below the floor, an original Roman road. 

Ridiculed for his tale, Harry stopped talking about his encounter - until in 1971, it was discovered that his description of the uniforms and insignia of the ghosts were those of the Ninth Legion.

Standing in the shadows of York Minster, The Treasurer’s House was built on a Roman site. The house has been rebuilt and altered many times over the years - but not enough it would seem to discourage its original occupants from their home.