Northumberland is a place that is renowned for its rich medieval heritage, and its array of impressive castles have withstood the test of time. Among these historic gems, none shines brighter than Alnwick Castle, with a legacy spanning over 900 years. Being the esteemed seat of the original "Kings in the North", the legendary Percy family, it still remains in the same family today, being inhabited by the Duke of Northumberland.


While the castle is known in a more modern context for starring in movies like Harry Potter, and putting on realistic medieval events like jesting,and archery, this medieval stronghold also harbours a more unexpected and ghostly connection. It is whispered in local folklore that Alnwick Castle is the very birthplace of its own chilling legend -  the Alnwick Vampire.


The Legend of the Alnwick Vampire


While it may not hold the title of the most haunted place in England, the tale of the Alnwick Vampire has been alive since the 12th century, and is a significant story in the castle’s history. 


Written by medieval chronicler William de Newburgh in his Historia rerum Anglicarum, the legend begins with a man who served the lord of Alnwick Castle suspecting his wife of committing adultery. On the journey to uncover the truth he conspired to catch her in the act by climbing the heights of their dwelling and, tragically, meeting his end by falling from the rooftop, his neck snapping upon impact.


However, despite the man being laid to rest after a traditional Christian burial, he could not rest in peace. His presence lingered around Alnwick, creating a sense of unease and fear among the locals. As unexplained illness began to spread and livestock mysteriously perished, the townsfolk couldn't help but point the finger of suspicion at the departed man.


On a fateful Palm Sunday, two young men from the town, armed with pitchforks, embarked on a mission to unveil the hideout of the cadaver. Upon finding the corpse, they discovered that the burial shroud had been torn to shreds, and the body of the man was bloated, engorged, and putrid.


It was a grisly spectacle that seemed to offer irrefutable proof that the revenant had indeed been nourishing itself with the blood of the living.


Leading the body to the outskirts of the town, it was burned. It was only then that the curse that had consumed the town was lifted, bringing an abrupt end to the devastating plague and the terror of the townsfolk. 


To this very day, the haunting figure is referred to as the Alnwick Vampire, a name coined by De Newburgh. Remarkably, his account of this eerie tale is the first recorded use of the word 'bloodsucker' in the context of England.


Book your Tickets to Alnwick


If you find yourself feeling particularly adventurous and courageous, make sure to look out for spine-chilling experiences throughout the month of October with our Halloween events

We invite you to step inside the age-old walls of Alnwick Castle and delve deep into the sinister secrets that have shrouded this medieval fortress for centuries. Do you dare to venture forth into the unknown and uncover the mysteries that await within? Discover more about the history of Alnwick Castle as well as about our Halloween events on our What’s On page and book your tickets to Alnwick Castle today!